Journeying Toward Wholeness

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Heart: Carlos Castenada, Jung & Burnout Treatment

August 22nd, 2013 · 2 Comments · burnout, burnout treatment

Is it a shocking thing to say that burnout treatment may have a very great deal to do with finding your heart?

burnout treatment

Clearly I’m not advocating an approach that narrowly emphasizes “rationality”!  But this truth finds its roots in the depth psychotherapy of CG Jung and the unique perspective of Carlos Castenada.

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Dryness, Flatness and Burnout Treatment

Often burnout seems associated with a loss of hope or soul.

Frequently, burnout sufferers will describe a sense of “hollowness” or “emptiness”, as I noted in my initial post on burnout treatment.

If you welcome the fundamental symbol or metaphor of life as a journey, and if you come to the realization that the journey seems lifeless and meaningless — there’s a high probability that you’re on the wrong path, and that you need another.

burnout treatment

A Path with Heart

Castenada expresses this in a wonderfully direct way:

“A path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you….   Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.”

~Carlos Castenada

Castenada reminds us that there are many paths.  But which path is mine?  His answer: the one which has “heart”.  By heart he means the path that engages our passion, or that is full of meaning, or that has an abiding sense of “rightness”.

burnout treatment

Is the path that I’m on the one that has heart in it?

The Voice of the Inner Person

The way that Castenada expresses himself accords well with Jung’s expression of a very similar view.  (Please excuse the male-centric language, —  the norm in an earlier time).

What is it, in the end, that induces a man to go his own way and to rise out of unconscious identity with the mass as out of a swathing mist?

It is what is commonly called vocation: an irrational factor that destines a man to emancipate himself from the herd and from its well-worn paths.…   Anyone with a vocation hears the voice of the inner man: he is called. 

There is a strong connection between what Jung refers to as the voice of the inner man, and what Castenada refers to as the path with heart.

Burnout Treatment as Walking Towards My Heart

The way through burnout is to open myself to my own deepest reality.  As psychiatrist R.D. Laing said, “The only person to whom we owe an absolute obligation to be honest is with ourselves.”  In burnout, the most honest truth about my inner reality may be that I experience a devastating sense of bleakness and barren-ness.  If so, it may be essential to ask some very fundamental questions about the nature of my path.

In depth psychotherapy, a container is created for deep level honesty with the self.  At its best, the process also cultivates our sensitivity to the voice of the inner person, and for identifying the path away from burnout — the path with heart.


PHOTOS: Attribution Some rights reserved by MiguelVieira ; jeffhutchison ; © 1973 Ballantine Books 
© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Jennifer

    Your writing is wonderful: pertinent and concise. I am journeying through burnout, repeating the cycle more than once. Please consider writing a book to help guide us!

  • Brian C

    Thank you very much for your comments, Jennifer. I’m glad if you found this to be useful and relevant. You point to a very important truth, also, that the experience of burnout can be something that people cycle through, more than once, before finally moving to a more sustainable resolution.

    Maybe I will write a book about burnout some day: it’s a challenge that I would be very interested in undertaking!

    Once again, thanks for your comments, Jennifer. I wish you every good thing on your journey.

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