|The Path of Contemplating Mystery, Pisa, Italy|
Opening to mystery: such a creative act! My job as analyst is often helping people tolerate the anxiety of mystery long enough to enter the portal of the unknown. So often we scramble to the so-called safety of the known, concentrate on adaptation, the tasks of earning a living, raising a family, establishing ourselves in the material world. These are important tasks, to be sure, and particularly during what Jung defined the first half of life, roughly up until ages 35-40.
But to stay in this mode is to entrench oneself in the materiality of existence. If we are lucky, we are derailed at some point: an illness, a depression, a death, a divorce, and then thrown into not-knowing. It is in this state many enter analysis, begin to listen to something within that requires ability to negotiate mystery.
Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way is a collection of several prominent Jungian analysts’ and teachers’ stories of how they negotiated this transition, learning to find guidance from the unconscious, and from what Jung would term Self. “”All the greatest and most important problems are fundamentally unsolvable,” Jung said. “They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This out growing proves on further investigation to be a new level of consciousness.” This collection attests to that fact.
Several’s first encounter with Jung was through his writing. One of the moving parts of the collection is the work that some embarked upon just to get Jung’s translated writing. There is the passage in Mexican analyst Jacqueline Gerson’s chapter “Finding Meaning: An Unexpected Encounter”, in which, during a period of great depression and despair, she comes across a newly issued Memorias, Sueños y Pensamientos por C. G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C. G. Jung):
Almost reverently, I picked up one of the copies on display. There, in my favorite bookstore, in my language, in my country, in my hands—finally a book by Jung! I started to cry. I could still cry! (51)
The synchronicity of find Jung’s memoir in her own language at such a low point had such meaning that it was a turning point for Gerson.
I opened the book in my hands, but I could not read a thing since my eyes were full of tears. But who needed to read or understand just then, when what I needed to bring me back to life, to help me find my own path, had been so clearly revealed in such an unexpected manner? …
In a country where even today (twenty years later) there is no Jungian institute, I found a way to do what needed to be done to become a certified Jungian analyst. The energy, the endurance, the courage to do so came from that experience at the bookstore, which remains alive in my memory even as I write this. (51)
Other stories also speak of how awareness of these kinds of synchronicities provided guidance in finding ways through the unknown and mystery, and how the work of C. G. Jung helped develop trust in this way of navigating life. They are stories which can reinforce one’s own trust in mystery and the Self.
On October 7 three participating authors will be reading at a Marked by Fire event at the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco: Karlyn M. Ward, member of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, Chie Lee, member of C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, and Jacqueline Gerson, Jungian Analyst from Mexico. Although limited to donors, it is easy to become one! Join us Sunday afternoon from 2-5. For more information, contact the Collin Eyre at 415.771.8055 extension 210 or e-mail Collin at email@example.com to make a donation and reserve a seat.
|Edited by Patricia Damery and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky|