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Jungian Psychotherapy for Spiritual Crisis 2: Reality

October 20th, 2012 · Jungian, Jungian psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, psychotherapy for spiritual crisis, spiritual crisis

Issues of spirituality, and particularly, around psychotherapy for spiritual crisis, often confront us as questions about what is fundamentally real or important

psychotherapy for spiritual crisis

— questions which often are front and centre in Jungian psychotherapy.

 The Quest for the Real

We often deal with disconnect between what others — friends, employers, advertisers, the society as a whole — are telling us is real, and the disquieting sense that there must be something more.

We sense that what we are looking for is missing from what the society as a whole perceives as real or significant. The media and Internet do not often point us to things of substance or lasting value.

Often, psychotherapy for spiritual crisis encounters individuals experiencing a sense of emptiness, flatness, or even “vertigo”.  For such individuals, the quest for reality is not something “fluffy” or academic: it can well become fundamentally, even crucially important.

Experiencing Reality

When are we experiencing reality?  One indicator would be when we feel most alive or aware.

Meaning, value, significance and even joy: these are the things that make reality — and make it important.  This doesn’t mean that experiencing reality in our lives is always painless or easy, by any means.  Many experiences connecting us to a sense of spiritual reality may in fact involve pain.  But invariably, they bring with them the sense that we are living our lives, in a way connected to something bigger than the consci0us self.

To Live Here and Now

Psychotherapy for spiritual crisis concerns opening up for individuals a way of living that feels full of aliveness, radically in the here and now.  A spirituality that is only for the next life is no real spirituality at all.

It’s also more than living in the moment in a shallow way.  It involves connection to our unconscious depths, finding meaning in life, and rooting in archetypal reality.

It also entails being rooted in self-awareness of all the differing ways in which we experience life, whether it be through our feeling, our thought, the awareness of our senses, or the promptings of our intuition.  Often psychotherapy for spiritual crisis involves opening the “shut down” aspects of ourselves.

To Live My Reality in Depth

Living in a way that is open to everything in us involves being open to myth: to the true story of our lives.  Real myth, our own story gives us the true context for who we are, and  enables us to know that we belong in our lives.

In the following video, psychiatrist and Jungian Analyst Anthony Stevens reads from his book “Jung: A Short Introduction“:

“C.G. Jung and Reinvesting in Our Real Life”

The real healing that emerges from the psychotherapy of spiritual crisis entails the sense of being truly rooted in my life.  It is connected with my sense of feeling at home in my life and in the world… that there is a rightness to my being here and now.

Jungian psychotherapy for spiritual crisis involves opening to the call of my deepest being,

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PHOTO:  © Bortn66 | Dreamstime.com  VIDEO: “Jung: A Very Short Introduction” © Anthony Stevens 1994

 

 

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Jungian Psychotherapy for Spiritual Crisis 1: Yearning

October 6th, 2012 · Jungian psychotherapy, psychotherapy for spiritual crisis, spiritual crisis

In describing Jungian psychotherapy for spiritual crisis, it would be easy to succumb to “foot-in-mouth disease”!

psychotherapy for spiritual crisis

The word “spiritual” can be hard to pin down.  As I use it here, I’m not necessarily meaning something heavenly or other worldly, nor something confined to organized religion.  I’m referring, broadly to all those desires in a human being to connect with something bigger and more lasting than one’s own ego.

To understand spirituality, we have to start from our yearning.

 Archetypal Yearning

“Yearning” evokes a sense of deep longing…the deepest longing.  And often the baseline sense of the word “spiritual”, at least today, in the western world, relates to a kind of very deep, possibly only partially conscious longing.

For many of us today, spirituality actually entails a yearning for something hard to tightly define.  But it entails a sense of connectedness, of belonging, and of finding meaning and value in life.

Is it OK to yearn? Or, should life solely be concerned with going to work, and paying the bills?  For the vast majority of the human race over its entire existence, yearning to be connected to something greater than the ego has been an essential part of life.

Yearning for Something Lasting

We humans yearn to find something lasting and permanent in our lives, the value of which is not going to disappear with the chances and changes of life.  We need to feel that we are somehow at home in our place in the universe, and that our living has meaning.

Change & the Death of Symbols

But we also live in an era of massive continuous change.  Things seemingly stable and permanent even 50 years ago now seems far more temporary and subject to change.  This pertains even to some of the key symbols in our lives.  Forms of religious and cultural symbol and story that spoke to earlier generations often seem to have lost the power to ground the lives of modern people.  This realization leads many on a spiritual search — and, at times, to spiritual crisis.

An Individual Way: Your Personal Myth

In our era, psychotherapy for spiritual crisis entails helping individuals to move forward on their own spiritual paths.  This means helping the individual to find symbols that connect him or her in a meaningful way to her or his own personal life.

Bruce Cockburn, “Understanding Nothing”

 
In C.G. Jung’s terms, this means that I must discover my own personal myth — the story and the symbols that give meaning to my individual life.  This is the primary focus of Jungian psychotherapy for spiritual crisis.

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PHOTO:  AttributionSome rights reserved by jurvetson   VIDEO: Bruce Cockburn, “Understanding Nothing”

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