Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

In Your Dreams

August 23rd, 2008 · collective consciousness, depth psychology, dreams, Halton Region, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, Meaning, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, Psychotherapy, symbolism, wholeness

Night_dreams_vibrant_jung_thing_b_3 Looking at dreams is often a part of Jungian analysis.  Jungian analysis, along with other forms of depth psychology, maintains that dreams are meaningful, and that the dreams a person has are directly connected to what is going on in his or her life, both right at the present time, and over much longer periods of time.

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Sometimes people are afraid of looking at their dreams, or sometimes they feel gullible or silly for looking at them, as if this wasn’t "practical", or "down to earth" in some sense.  However, it is interesting to note that this attitude toward dreams in our culture is at odds with the views of most other cultures, and even with our own culture in earlier periods of time. 

The ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews certainly believed that their dreams were meaningful, and this attitude prevailed in the West throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and even up to andDream_sleep_vibrant_jung_thing_3   including the Enlightenment.  It is only with the rise of "hard core" empiricism and materialism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that our Victorian forebears began to be sceptical about dreams, a trend reversed by that very hard-nosed and commonsensical empiricist and rationalist, Sigmund Freud. 

                                                                                                                                                                            © Dewayne Flowers | Dreamstime.com

Unlike Freud, who saw dreams as a mechanism for preserving sleep by keeping repressed thoughts and Dream_sleep_2_vibrant_jung_thing impulses from emerging during sleep, Jung believed that dreams represent an on-going commentary by the unconscious on the conscious position and attitudes of the individual.  For Jung, the unconscious is composed of so much more than just repressed contents, and it has its own wisdom, which can sometimes greatly surpass the understanding of the conscious mind.  If that is true, then we can expect to glean many important insights from understanding the contents of our dreams.

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Chicago: An Enormous, Diverse, Extroverted, Friendly American City…

August 16th, 2008 · collective consciousness, Current Affairs, depth psychology, Halton Region, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, Lifestyle, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, popular culture, Psychotherapy, soul

Chicago_for_jung_blog

© Bonnie Pignatiello Leer | Dreamstime.com

I’ve just gotten back today from a trip to Chicago, and I apologize to my readers for the lack of posts over the last little while.  I plan to write about my trip, and to reflect on different psychological and soul aspects of my trip to that great city.

It was a wonderful trip!  Chicago is such a vital place! 

I couldn’t help drawing a lot of comparisons with Toronto as we explored different dimensions of the city.  There are certain similarities — large cities each located on the shores of the Great Lakes.  However, beyond these surface characteristics, the two cities are very different in very many ways.

Most fundamentally, I think , there is a difference in what Jung would call weltanschauung, or world view.  Perhaps to, say, Europeans, or Asians, the inhabitants of Chicago and Toronto would seem very similar.  However, I think that there are some fascinating differences in fundamental attitudes.  It’s hard to put this into words, except to say that, even in the midst of the current economic uncertainties, there is an extraordinary confidence that Chicago exudes.  Perhaps it’s a bit cliche, now, but I could hear the poetry of Carl Sandburg ringing in my ears as we travelled through the city.

It’s not a question of one collective outlook being either wrong or right, of course, but I’m intrigued with the differences in what seems to me to be each city’s collective perception of the world.  I hope to write more about this in subsequent posts.

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Under Milk Wood: Our Dreaming and Waking Selves

August 7th, 2008 · depth psychology, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, life passages, Lifestyle, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, Psychotherapy, soul, symbolism, The Self, theatre, wholeness

Over the weekend my wife and I had the chance to see the Soulpepper Theatre production of Under Milk Wood, the Dylan Thomas work originally performed as a one-person monologue by the Welsh poet himself.  Many other versions of Under Milk Wood have used a large cast, with different actors playing the various characters, but in this version director Ted Dykstra and actor Kenneth Welsh go back to Thomas’ Boathouse_dylan_thomas_boathouse original idea of a monologue.  It’s an extremely energetic and demanding 85 minute performance for Welsh, but the result is an entrancing immersion in a small Welsh town and a deeply empathic, frank and often humorous engagement with the unique character of each of the inhabitants.  I found myself completely enthralled and drawn in by Mr. Welsh’s performance as this version of Under Milk Wood unfolded.

Laugharne Boathouse in Wales where Dylan Thomas spent many years and where he wrote some of his best poems.     © Hans Klamm | Dreamstime.com

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Desert: Depression and Suburban Life

July 29th, 2008 · depression, depth psychology, Halton Region, Individuation, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, life passages, Meaning, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, soul, suburbia / exurbia, Wellness

1_saharadune1 "Depression" and "suburbia" are two words that you don’t usually see in the same sentence.  Those who promote suburbia tend to want to portray it as a place where happiness and fulfillment abound.  However, as any therapist or counsellor can tell you, depression and anxiety are widespread in the ‘burbs, just as they are in the rest of our society.  It’s not that depression is more widespread in the suburbs and exurbs than elsewhere in our society.  It’s just that, contrary to the suburban myth of joyful care-free family life, many ordinary, normal people in suburbia are dealing with depression.

Depression is a fairly common occurrence.  How frequent it actually is depends a lot upon the level ofDepression_2 severity of depression that we’re looking at.  Depression is sufficiently common that it can probably be said that most people have been subject to some level of depression at some time in their lives.  That being said, it’s essential to not underestimate its potential for disrupting and impacting an individual’s life.  If you are suffering from depression, it’s important to take steps to deal with it, rather than just hoping it will go away.

Recently, a client said something to me that I think is very true.  Speaking about his own experience of seeking help for depression, he said, "I think that they were all focussed on treating the symptoms of the depression — but they really didn’t get at what it was about."

What is depression all about? Clearly it is important to take with all due seriousness the science of depression, which understands depression in terms of serotonin levels and all its other physiological and neurological dimensions.  But it is equally important to see depression as something human, with a human meaning for individuals like you and me.

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Into the Wild

July 15th, 2008 · Current Affairs, depth psychology, Film, Individuation, Jungian analysis, life passages, Lifestyle, Mississauga, Oakville, Ontario, Peel Region, popular culture, Psychotherapy, puer aeternis, soul, suburbia / exurbia

Itw_wallpaper_04_800x600 If you haven’t seen it, "Into the Wild" is a 2007 film written and directed by Sean Penn, and starring Emile Hirsh.  It is based on the true life story of Christopher McCandless, originally recounted by John Krakauer in his 1992 book of the same name.  It’s a remarkable film, in many ways, and not least of all because of the different and sometimes conflicting emotions it stirs up in the viewer.  It touches on deep issues that underlie this suburban life that we share, issues of destiny and what is fundamentally important in our living.

The protagonist, Christopher McCandless, is a young man of 23 who has been raised in a middle class suburban home, who rejects all the trappings of this life for a life on the road, which ultimately takesItw_wallpaper_07_800x600_2   Itw_icon_3 him to the wilds of Alaska.  He attends a good university, and gets his degree, and then, for complex reasons tied up with his experiences of loneliness, alienation and superficiality in his family of origin, he decides to embark on a life that is radically at odds with the generally accepted values of our culture.  He burns the last of his money, and heads for a life of wandering.

Images: Paramount Vantage

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Wireless Email, the "CrackBerry" and The Psyche

July 3rd, 2008 · BlackBerry, depth psychology, Halton Region, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, Psychotherapy, Technology

Blackberry_for_blog Ever greater numbers of people are carrying pocket-sized wireless email devices, or pocket digital assistants (PDAs) like the RIM Blackberry or the Palm Treo.  As a phenomenon, it seemed to start with people in the financial sector and in IT, but it has spread rapidly throughout our society.  Today an ever-growing number of people are linked to their work by this type of device.  For many now, the capability to end and receive wireless email has become an indispensable tool of business. The technology is amazing.  To be able to link with others via email through such small unobtrusive devices from virtually anywhere is fascinating.  I think for many people there’s a feeling of empowerment from being able to do this. © Mylightscapes | Dreamstime.com I have no expertise that would allow me to comment on whether these devices really do enhance individual productivity.  But a fundamental psychological question is “What is the real impact on the individual and his or her sense of personal power and agency?” [Read more →]

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Individual Identity in a Big Box World

June 20th, 2008 · Current Affairs, depth psychology, Halton Region, Individuation, Jungian analysis, life passages, Lifestyle, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, popular culture, Psychotherapy, suburbia / exurbia

Big_box_blog "Say No to Big Box Schools" is a message on signs recently posted around my neighbourhood in Oakville.  The local school board has announced plans to consolidate a number of schools, in some cases closing smaller schools that have been part of communities for a very long time.  This has produced quite a strong reaction in the community, not surprisingly.  I believe that this is for many reasons, but not least of all, because of the feeling that children who attend these larger schools may be severed from their rooting in a local environment that allows their individuality and uniqueness to come out and be appreciated.  The fear is that children will become lost in anonymous and faceless institutions.

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