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Jungian Psychotherapy for Spiritual Crisis 3: Belonging

November 3rd, 2012 · 5 Comments · Jungian, Jungian psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, spiritual crisis

Belonging, or as modern psychology might refer to it, attachment, is a key element in spirituality; its absence can lead to spiritual crisis as Jungian psychotherapy affirms.

rose as symbol in jungian psychotherapy

Belong in the World

For many people, feeling a sense of truly belonging in the world is a deep issue.  Jungian psychotherapy stresses that uncertainty about belonging is central to many a spiritual crisis.

We come into the world ready to belong, to attach — we might well say that this instinct has something archetypal about it,   Yet, starting even from a very early age, it may be our experience that the world seems to offer little hospitality or welcome for who we actually are.  That, at least, is the experience of many individuals.

It may be essential to the resolution of any spiritual crisis for an individual to experience a sense of rightness to his or her life — a sense of genuinely belonging in life.

Belonging in the Self

Jungian psychotherapy refers to “relativization of the ego” as the process by which the individual ego comes to realize that it is not the sum total of who we are.  That role belongs to the Self, the fullness of all that we are, conscious and unconscious.  There are unconscious processes working themselves out in our lives, going on without conscious control, and even without consciousness.  This can be a very humbling realization, but it can also provide healing to the  individual in spiritual crisis to realize that the ego does not exist in splendid isolation– it is part of something greater, rather than heroically alone.

Jungian psychotherapy affirms that the Self has a sense of purpose it that goes beyond that of the ego.

The Numinous

What Jung stated about the numinous is very important for those in spiritual crisis.   The numinous is what gives religious experience its compelling power — but it is  found in many other places than organized religion.  As Jung said, the numinous is:

“a dynamic agency or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will…. [that grips] the human subject.”

As Andrew Samuels added:

“The numinous cannot be conquered; one can only open oneself to it.”

This experience is at the root of spirituality.  In addition to contact with something greater, it also implies contact with “a not-yet-disclosed, attractive and fateful meaning” (Samuels).

It’s not often put this way, but the numinous conveys profound connectedness and belonging, especially to those in spiritual crisis.

Destiny and the Love of Fate

Jung often spoke of “amor fati”, the ability to love one’s fate.

It may be a life’s work to come to the point where an individual can begin to have this kind of self acceptance and acceptance of life, and of the direction that life has taken.  It is no small thing, to say the least, and should never be spoken of lightly.

Yet, to love one’s fate, to be able to accept one’s life, can be central to the sense of belonging, and the journey to wholeness.

PHOTO: Attribution Some rights reserved ~suchitra~ |   VIDEO: Rumi,  “There is A Field”  aeneb1