Follow by Email

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Loving Your Enemy -- Credo XX

I have been reading the late Lama Dilgo Khyentse's The Heart of Compassion and came across this passage. It shows an affinity with Jung's theories of projection, giving them an underlying spiritual dimension. I thought that this would be of interest to some of you who are helping others not to carry the burden of resentments, anger, jealousy, etc., towards others! It provides, at least for me, a logical relief, especially as each individual seems to have an independent agenda with the Powers-that-be! In some ways it almost seems that "to love your enemy" is to be grateful for the opportunity to see the other as wearing the mask of one's own projection and thus by mirroring help one to become more conscious of one's own unconscious Shadow. This works collectively as well. Hope you agree!
"Experiences of things as pleasant or unpleasant are not functions intrinsically belonging to the objects you perceive. They arise only in the mind.

"Take as an example the process of perceiving visual form. The object is a particular form in the outer world, the organ that senses it is the eye, and that which perceives the image and categorizes it is consciousness. If you see a beautiful person, a dear relative, or a sacred statue, you feel glad. If you see something ugly, or some ill-intentioned person come to ridicule or attack you, you feel upset, anxious, or angry. All these perceptions arise in the mind itself. They are triggered by the object perceived, but they do not themselves exist in that object, nor do they originate anywhere else outside the mind.

"Generally, mind is the slave of its own biased perceptions. Dividing everything into pleasant or unpleasant, it constantly tries to experience what is pleasant and get rid of what is not—blind to the fact that this is not the way to achieve happiness and avoid suffering. Blind ignorance drives the mind constantly to generate feelings of like and dislike. You engage in endless ordinary worldly activities with no more durability than drawings on water. Preoccupied entirely by these distractions, you exhaust your life and squander this precious human existence with all the freedoms and advantages that you now enjoy.

"The mind thus contrives everything, so the only thing to do is to master the mind. As Tilopa taught Naropa:

It is not what you perceive that binds you,
It is your clinging to it that binds you.
Cut through your clinging, Naropa!"

—from The Heart of Compassion: The Thirty-Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva, Dilgo Khyentse (Shambhala, 2007), pp. 138-9.


The Great One -- Credo XIX

Considering the obvious and thinking symbolically:

If you take One to represent the Unity of Spirit (God), it is summed up in the number One or 1.

Every number succeeding 1 – 2, 3 – 4,567,892, as far as numbers can go into infinity, will always have One or 1 hidden within it.

So, the symbolic implication is that Spirit is hidden in the diversity of all.

Further, if you think yourself an in-dividual. and become in-dividuated, this means you are no longer divided and have become One. But the mystics who reach that state, all say they have become O. (The ego is subsumed in union with the Divine Guest [Self].) The lover and the Beloved have become One. I am Thou.

And then you realize that every-one is 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 = ONE!


When we come one with One, the Buddhists say we become O but then maybe the Great O becomes more blissful. Who knows?

laughing, lovingly,

Panentheism -- Credo XVIII

To cut this short, I started my search for God when I was four and a half years old, inspired no doubt by my beloved grandfather Basil King, who was for many years rector of Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When I traveled to Prince Edward Island off Canada with my mother and nanny, we stayed in a camp with little wooden cabins and a communal dining hall. I got serious and asked my mother how one got in touch with God. Mother, a mite perplexed, said she supposed one called on Him. A bit later I went out in my little overalls and stood on the porch and shouted, “GOD! OH GOD!!” as loud as I could. Slowly, a huge horse in the field adjoining ambled over and hung his head over the porch rail and freaked me out! Panicking, I tried to open the screen door but couldn’t reach the handle ...

A few days later, I went out and lay down in the grass and looked up through the underside of the waving daisies at the blue sky and felt a sense of wonder at the beauty of it all. I came close. Nature was manifesting something mysterious. I felt wonder and reassurance, a hint.

Fast forward to 1935. I am twelve, staying in a seaside hotel in Nieuport-Bains, Belgium. My father has given me a book about science and I am reading it on my bed. I come across the chapter on atoms and read that every bit of matter is made of atoms and each atom has a nucleus that is filled with energy. I have an epiphany! That energy must be God!! This hits me like a thunderbolt. My heart pounds and I want to rush out and tell the world. So I run out the door and look over the banister down on the bald head of the concierge, who is busy writing up some bills or something. Would he understand? I realize that this is something so tremendous and yet there is no one around to share it with. Yet for me, it is a proof. A certainty because I have experienced it personally.

Years later, I read a quote of the alchemist Agrippa von Nettesheim, which I subsequently would write on the board of every astrology class I was destined to teach: Virtutes divinae in res suffusae. Divine powers are hidden in things.

But it took fifty yearsfor me, here in this house in 1985, to come across a footnote in M-L. von Franz’s edition of Aurora Consurgens, quoting another alchemist, Petrus Bonus (Good Stone!), who stated “To find the Philosopher’s Stone, look with the eyes and see with the heart.” It takes only a step then to realize Jung’s wisdom in saying that the longest journey many of us have to take is from the head to the heart.

The ego as the center of consciousness is the instrument necessary for looking. We have two eyes (Sun/Moon) in the front of our heads, so we only see half. The Self as Jung defines it, is the center and totality of the psyche, but it dwells in the unconscious, so we need the feminine Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) to lead us to the heart and the discovery of cosmic Life, Light, Love. This is surely the Mysterium Coniunctionis that he writes of and, in my opinion, experienced.

In sacred geometry, the cube is symbolic of the manifest world because it can be measured. Ask anyone how many sides it has, and they will respond: six. Ask how many can you see, the answer is three. So perhaps we see only one-half and need to join it to its meaning. To think sym-bolically is Greek for putting together. Thus we might change the definition of a sacrament with one word: A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inner and spiritual meaning!

The Philosopher’s Stone was supposed to turn lead to gold, but the alchemists said Non aurum vulgae, not material vulgar gold. Rather they said, the Stone was lying on the road and wagon wheels roll over it – ob via, obvious; as I’ve said before, nothing is hidden, it is we who are blind. The lead, Saturn, is much in the news these days. It is toxic, as is a life lived without meaning, without love. My Teacher always said, “When you feel down, do something for somebody quick!”

The title of this Credo is Panentheism, which differs from pantheism. Pantheism means God is all. Panentheism means Spirit (God) is within all.

The manifest world is full of Spirit, but it seems we can only see It with a loving eye.


Consider the Obvious! -- Credo XVII

In the most recent dream I had of Jung, he simply roared at me, “CONSIDER THE OBVIOUS! I DID!” and I woke up. In The Dove in the Stone, I list some of Sophia’s ways of communicating with us through intuition. One on the list is etymology, the meaning of words. So I looked up the origin of obvious. It comes from ob via, on the road. This in turn, led me to an alchemical quote, I once read: The Philosopher’s Stone is lying on the road and wagon wheels roll over it. In other words, and let this sink in, nothing is hidden, it is we who are blind!

Thus began my insight that it is feminine wisdom that is simple enough to look for enlightenment from ordinary things. Masculine intellect often cries, “Oh, that’s obvious, it’s much more complicated than that!” And so it is, but it starts on the road, the ground of manifestation beneath our feet. We must remember that when the Church Fathers translated Hagia Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of the Old Testament, from the feminine into the masculine Spiritus Sanctus, which takes a masculine pronoun, the feminine left the Holy Trinity, and hid in fairy tales, I suspect, as the archetype of the Fairy Godmother. She is a benign character who mediates between the invisible and visible worlds, and always gives the little hero or heroine practical advice and the adult ones as well. The how-to of being kind and helpful to a suffering animal or a lonely beggar and so on. It is the motif of endless tales in all cultures.

The interesting thing is why is she called a God-mother? Might it not be, that she gives birth to our reborn self as the connecting link between ego and our Divine Guest and thus is the instrument to our individuation process of feeling "born again"? It is not a collective orgy but a very private process in which each individual comes to that “Vast Certainty” that there is meaning to life and an undefinable source to creation, evolution of consciousness, and the majesty of the cosmos.

So here is another gift from the alchemist Petrus Bonus, a quote I found in a footnote, I think, in M-L. von Franz’s edition of Aurora Consurgens. He says, “To find the Philosopher’s Stone, look with the eyes and see with the heart." (The ego at the circumference looks with consciousness and the heart receives understanding from the Self or Divine Guest through the radius of Sophia’s intuition.)

Just a few weeks ago, I was lighting a candle and looked down at it. It was a circle and had a wick. As I lit the wick, I had an Aha! Metaphorically speaking, each of us is a separate candle with an individual wick. But the flame on every candle is the same flame!

Fire comes to us from the Sun; fire is the only element of the symbolic four that leaps up, gives light and warmth, and can be shared without being diminished. So when we realize that each of us living has an inner flame and we see it with the heart, we add the mystery of Love.

As Christmas and Hanukah and Diwali all take place in Capricorn, ruled by Saturn (manifestation), life begins in Aries and nine months later, we celebrate the rebirth of the Sun, which, in the darkest night of the year in our hemisphere, appears to move north at the solstice. As John wrote, "the Light that lighteth every man ...” is the Collect for Christians on Christmas Eve. Light in the darkness, the "dazzling darkness," is also the Light that Jung must have had in mind when he counsels us: One does not become enlightened by seeking figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.


Happiness Is Leading a Triple-Life! -- Credo XVI

There are two secrets to human happiness.
1) To be happy, count your blessings.
2) Happiness consists simply in knowing when you are happy.
So often we look back and think how happy I was then or look forward to if only I could be happy again ... ("if only" is one of those abysses. Don’t go there!) When this stupendous realization came upon me—ahem—I ran it by my darling Polar Bear, who took it upon himself to start saying out of the blue, “Know what? I’m happy!” followed by a hug, and I did likewise. Happiness is an ego expression of joy. The triple-life involves three stages: happiness, joy, and bliss.

Happiness hides in the NOW of little things. I promised to share a few nutty ones as examples which I have discovered increasingly in old age and being handicapped, etc. But it all began many years ago, probably with my mother, who in her old age raced the upstairs toilet paper with the downstairs and remarked to the visiting plumber coming out of the loo, “Oh, you won the sweepstakes!”

For me it is a kind of classical animism. When we were married in 1980, I bought two brown plastic garbage pails to hold the ice at the reception. They looked like two monks, so I called the one in our kitchen Brother Lawrence and the other Brother Juniper. Brother Lawrence was a lay monk in Paris in the 1600’s and wrote a small volume called THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD, a series of letters to an aspiring novice. In it he explained that he felt closest to God among the pots and pans in the monastery kitchen! It is a charming little book and has endeared his presence now in my kitchen - I take time when I renew his plastic underwear to marvel how 400 yrs later his wisdom and good humor still live on and irradiate my own kitchen.

Brother Juniper, patron saint of gardens, holds the birdseed.

I have a set of bath towels with animals upstairs that we bought for the grandchildren to use when they visited here. Whenever I rotate them into use I have to use a particular facecloth with flowers on it which then I can call flora and fauna!

We have a freezer called Niflheim in honor of the Norse myth of creation: The world was covered with ice and a celestial cow (Age of Taurus?) licked the first man and woman out of it, proved by the cowlick every baby is born with! Every family member calls it Niflheim. The icebox is the Igloo. Tivoli is the name of the downstairs "powder room," so called because the wallpaper features toy soldiers and ballerinas. In Copenhagen there are still the Tivoli Gardens, a nineteenth-century ancestor of a miniature Disneyland with uniformed toy soldiers, and the Royal Ballet of Denmark is famous. I keep this wallpaper, to Beth’s yuck, because clients coming from afar are sometimes apprehensive about having their chart read, etc. They usually are amused and comforted by the humor.
Everything in my living room contains a memory, an association, a classical or historical allusion, and becomes a source of poignancy, historical speculation, or happiness.

So the first layer of happiness for me is in little things. They connect me inevitably to the bigger things they embody.

I would love to hear that I am not the only nutcase among us!


Imagine my delight in finding out that Jung named his pots and pans! And wrote of “die Tuecke des Objekts”—the mischief of objects. It never pays to cuss a "thing" that won’t work ... and I believe I have written already of Chuang Tzu and the raccoons. If not, let me know!

Projection/Forgiveness -- Credo XV

Yesterday, I wrote about introjection. Using the diagram of the circle with the midpoint being the Self (Divine Guest), the ego is the small circle on the circumference with the circumference bisecting it. Thus the ego as center of consciousness, as Jung defines it, looks half out to the outer world from the unconscious and half in to the unconscious. The word pro-jection means throwing forth.

So the ego is the part of our psyche responsible for interpreting our processing of the experience of living our life in the manifest world.

This was not always the case! For generations we did this unconsciously until the huge steps taken by Freud (the personal unconscious) and Jung (the anima/animus, Shadow, and the vast concept of the collective unconscious). Up to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, it was up to religion and philosophy to shape our conscience and value systems. Even today, my Teacher’s estimate of sixty years ago, that perhaps 10 percent of the world’s population has access to higher consciousness seems reasonable, especially when the East is included. The rest of us are consciously struggling out of or living an unexamined life.

I am now a great-grandmother and have had the privilege of setting eyes on one of my own great grandmothers and knowing intimately my mother’s mother, my Grandma King (featured in The Beejum Book). She was born in 1854(!) and had my mother when she was forty. So my life stretches technically between seven generations!! Mercy!

Many of you, I venture are "baby boomers," as are my offspring, and many of you are in the prime of life, as their children and life goes on.

What I want to stress is that the work of most analysts and therapists of every stripe is the enormous amount of patients blaming their parents for their own present problems! Blaming anybody is a form of projection! One of those abysses!

We in groups such as ours know this but perhaps we need to forgive our parents, teachers, and generations past because being unconscious they did the best they knew how! In most all of dysfunctional families this applies. I have written before of the elderly woman, a client, who had Saturn conjunct her Moon. When I asked her what her relationship with her mother was, she burst out that her mother had “ruined her life.” So there were two possibilities: 1) her mother was experienced as her own projection, or 2) her mother was indeed a monstrous witch. If the latter, could the woman not realize that her mother had to live with herself 24/7 and she herself could get down on her knees and thank heaven that she didn’t have that nature herself! and further, might she not have compassion for the inevitable karma awaiting such a tortured soul. The client was reduced to tears of relief.

This raises a personal anguish in everybody who looks back on the mistakes we have made for lack of consciousness. Are we guilty or not if we did the best we could? Does not absolution come through becoming conscious of our projections and redeeming them if it is not too late? This is one of the great gifts Jung gives us; the gift of becoming conscious of the gift of consciousness!

So being stuck in the middle of sevengenerations, I personally have made my peace with my forebearers and hope that my descendants will forgive me! I can only say I did the best I could. That I do know. I see the wisdom of the Lord’s Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us!

To conclude, it gives us a psychological excuse to love our enemy because he/she wears the mask of our projection and helps us to become aware of our own unconscious Shadow! Jung would have us realize that we, too, wear the masks for the projections, both negative and positive of others. He even said in one of his letters, “What if the devil removed his mask and we saw the Christ!” Goethe has Mephisto confess to Faust: Ich bin der Geist der immer das Boese will und immer das Gute schafft. I am the spirit that always wants the bad and yet always creates the good. These are courageous statements and could be taken as heretical by anyone not grasping the deeper truth.

Over thirty yrs ago, I wrote "A Paraphrase for Jungians." Here it is slightly modified by further understanding:

Our Divine Guest which art the psyche
Blessed be the Light of Love at our center.
Thy individuation come,
Thy incarnation manifest with consciousness on earth
as it is in our Unconscious.
Give our ego this day its compassionate insight
and dissolve our false projections
as we bear with those of others.
Lead us not into inflation and
help us shed light on our Shadow,
for Thine is the Pattern, the Promise and its Fulfillment.


Introjection -- Credo XIV

Introjection is the opposite of projection and is what we tend to do to ourselves, a reflexive ego response. Paranoia would be an extreme negative example.

I have two personal illustrations: The first, before I grasped what Jung meant and the second years later. According to a conversation I once had with Ed Edinger, all conscious response to life involves pro- or introjection. This fits the astrological chart as I describe it: a chart provides a description of the unique way a person processes experience.

Again, a classic example involves my son, Timothy, who is now sixty years old, a psychiatrist married for twenty-five years to his Stanford classmate Meg Little, a child psychiatrist. They are themselves parents of four grown children.

Timothy was on this occasion, thirteen, and in his first year at the Hill School. He had come home on a December weekend with his roommate, Jim, who had left earlier as he was performing with classmates in a choir recital at St Thomas Cathedral in NYC. I was taking Timothy and his three sisters later on the train to attend the recital. The train stopped at various stations along the way, and some other Hill boys boarded. Timothy got up and sauntered down to hang out with them. When we got to NYC Timothy got off with the boys and we followed behind. Without turning around, Timothy waved a hand behind his back and took off with the other boys, not even saying good-bye, let alone introducing us. I was crushed to think that he was that ashamed of us. I sat through the concert holding back tears and indeed Timothy left to go back to school on the bus without a word. I was truly hurt.

Weeks later, when he came home for Christmas, I finally brought it up. Why? The answer sheepishly given was, “I didn’t want the guys to think I wasn’t old enough to travel by myself and think my mother had to keep an eye on me!”

Twenty years later, almost to the day, I married my beloved Walter Andersen and moved from Long Island to join him in La Habra, California. He had bought a new house, and when I arrived I almost immediately began teaching an evening a week at the C. G. Jung Institute in Los Angeles.
Walter was a widower and had been married thirty-six years to a beautiful woman who had died of cancer ten years previously. So when I arrived, we discovered that we had duplicates of many items: pots, pans, dishes etc. Every night I came home from teaching, I noted that Walter only used her pots, pans, and dishes. My assumption was that this gave him the occasion to remember and mourn her, and I reasoned that she must have been young and more beautiful than I. I struggled against my negative reactions. However! this time I was aware, thanks to Jung and my analysis with Whitmont, that all I needed to do was ask the question "How come?’"

“Oh, my dear,” my husband replied, “I am so clumsy and your things are so pretty, I was afraid of scalding a pot or breaking anything!” So NOW I really understood the concept of introjection!
It is imperative of all of us interested in Jung to remember this: It is never what we do, but how the other person interprets it! It is never what we say, but what the other hears that counts!

On a lighter note, I can’t resist sharing that the first day I arrived at the new house, Walter apologetically announced that the garbage disposal in the kitchen sink needed fixing. He had put three oranges down it and they had reappeared in the dishwasher! I had never seen a garbage disposal before, but I knew that this one had to be called Prokofiev after the composer who wrote “Love of Three Oranges”! So from then on we fed Prokofiev, who went graow-wow-wow in appreciation. Which we finally left to move east, we both felt sad at leaving him to strangers who would not recognize his endearing personality!

If it’s any comfort to know we were not totally nuts. I learned from a Jung biography that he himself gave names to some of his pots and pans! So there!


More on these foibles later . . .

God Can’t Eat a Poached Egg -- Credo XIII

I am adding this to my Credos, though some of you may know the story already.
Every Sunday, here at Rosecroft, my darling husband Walter, the Polar Bear, would make poached eggs from scratch and serve them on toast on our two wedding gift plates. Then he would proudly put mine in front of me and beam. One morning, the sun hit them and I exclaimed humorously, “These are so beautiful, I must share them with my Divine Guest!” So I bowed over them and invited my Divine Guest to come through me and enjoy them.

Then I had a huge AHA!! That is basically the spiritual purpose of consciousness – to share the beauty of creation and one’s personal joys with one’s Divine Guest. Normally, most of us turn to God when in extremis or shame or pain, but if you anthropomorphize Spirit, he might be looking down into your psyche and thinking “It looks pretty gloomy down there, best to try again in a week or so.”

The Chinese have a lovely saying: If you keep a green bough in your heart, surely the singing bird will come.

Well, after the poached egg experience, I realized something else: The common superstition that people have never to say you are happy because something will surely take it away. That is the ego’s wanting to grasp and hold rather than to go with the flow . . . which led to my memory of Goethe’s Faust in which Mephistopheles says, when bargaining with Faust for his soul: Aber, wenn jeh Du sagst, "O bleibe dochI Du bist so schoen, dann hab" ich dich! But if ever you say, "O time stand still," then I’ve got you! HAH!

Now here is the curious thing, we discovered: Whatever you share with your Divine Guest, you get to keep! So one of the two of us, would from then on, on the spur of the moment, simply stop and say, “You know what? I’m happy!” and we would hug each other and laugh, old as we were. Now that he has been gone almost ten years, those joyous moments are still with me and as fresh as this minute.

Using the image of the circle with the ego on the circumference, shooting it up the radius of Sophia to the center, confirms the function of Holy Wisdom as being "full of delight"! The Joy of Wisdom and the Wisdom of Joy. Given the state of the world as it is presented to us on the news, this may be flying in the face of reason BUT one thing I have learned from being almost housebound the last eight years or so is the pleasure one can take from little things: swallowing hot coffee, apples in a bowl, my wooden spoon from Iona in 1967, the golden leaves of autumn, the deer that come at dawn, etc. Everything I look at these days conjures a memory of association. Voices of friends. My warm puffy in bed. Gratitude and grace come from the same root. Gratias.

Which brings me to Jung. In Memories, Dreams Reflections, the account of him in the jungle, he thinks that probably he is the first white man to be sitting on that spot looking at the animals and trees. "What is his purpose?" he asks. Making it conscious!
So, now I am about to light the fire that my dear son-in-law Al has set for me, and sit down for my Scottish communion, filled with gratitude that I am still able to share these odd bits and pieces with some of you!