The following piece, written by Linda Hawkins, is both a review of Jung’s biographical book MDR (Memories, Dreams, Reflections) as well as her own reflections on life, the universe and everything in it; including her encounters over the last year with Applied Jungian Psychology. Memories, Dreams, Reflections catapulted me into the depths of my own being; it has left me shaken, stirred, fuelled and ready for the next part of my own journey. Jung’s ability to share the story of his life with such clarity and in such a raw, humble, powerful and brutally honest manner, has left me with a sense of deep respect for this courageous man. His ability to share of himself so openly and vulnerably is what has made the biggest impact on me. It intrigued me that he did not want his life story published while he was alive – that in some way, in all of his brilliance, he hid his light and never realised the full impact that his work had on his chosen field of science. ”None so lonely as those who cannot share what is important to them.” I am left feeling less alone in the world knowing that someone else has lived an entire lifetime of the journey that I am living now; my personal journey having started out by doing the 12 module course, just 10 months ago and continuing the work through The Conscious Living Programme (CLP) that I am doing at present. Jung’s experience of the magnetic pull of nature, his love for animals, his need for solitude and quiet contemplation, the symbolic messages, dreams, visions, the questioning of religion and the church, his personal experience of God, near death experience, being misunderstood by most, etc. – many parallels to my own life story. Each dream or vision shared, sparked a memory of a dream or vision that I had experienced. I relived my childhood through reading about his, and now feel like less of a freak. Inspired and horribly disturbed all at once. His sharing of his personal, rich and rather colourful, work with complexes and archetypes, confirmed in me what I understood and contained from the 12 module course last year. The confirmation of how to work with these aspects of the psyche, unfortunately, doesn’t make the work any less challenging. It does give one an understanding and insight into the tremendous driving power of the inner world left unattended and unconscious. When I was introduced to ‘complexes and archetypes’, and worked through the many exercises that the course included around these modules, I finally understood who the ‘other people’ were that populated my psyche. That I wasn’t losing my marbles but venturing into unchartered territory and gathering them instead. I recall how, just 5 months after surviving a burst brain aneurysm, and digesting the trauma of the experience, I found the Centre for Applied Jungian Studies. As I recuperated, I felt a deep, aching call to own my life and to change the internal mechanism that was creating my outer reality. There was a definite realisation, a knowing, that all that was ‘wrong’ in my life, stemmed from me. That the strange experiences and recurring dysfunctional relationship patterns, were of my own making. It wasn’t the world that had gone mad, it was my inner world that was in turmoil. Intuitively, I knew this. I felt exposed and frail after the aneurysm and was drawn into myself, finding the necessary courage to heal – not just physically, but psychologically too. Life leading up to the aneurysm had been a series of painful, terrifying and confusing events. I was oblivious to the fact that my toxic life was the product of my own unconscious creation. My psyche was bleeding, begging to be healed. Physiologically, I manifested this in a ruptured communicating artery in the frontal lobe of my brain – my third eye. My family and friends saw me as a hero who had stared death in the face and had chosen life instead. My reality was that I lived alone with my animals. That the night the aneurysm ruptured and I had dropped to my knees in my bathroom, I prayed to God for healing and remained in that space as darkness enveloped me. Three hours after passing out, I woke up, my head pounding, my animals lying alongside me. Having suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, I could not get up and walk. I needed to get to a phone and attempted pulling myself out of the bathroom. Then I remembered that I had prayed for healing and I recall how I spoke life into my body that night – reminding myself to contain the healing. I breathed deeply and got up. I walked into the emergency section of the hospital and I was able to give the admission clerk all he required from me – I recalled my ID number from memory and made sure that my hospital plan details were recorded. I had gotten out of my own way so that healing could happen. I sat in the lap of God like a little girl and allowed His consciousness to flood my being and heal me. At no stage, did I allow myself to be drawn into the potential of death – not even when the neurosurgeon told me I had a 30% chance of survival and that I would probably suffer brain damage. That was not my choice. My choice was to heal and to live. It was as though the consciousness I experienced during my healing remained in me as a light guiding me forward in my quest for answers, for transformation. When I saw the course advertised, I knew that I was on the right path. I love it when life dishes up synchronicities like this one. A definite answer to a prayer. I love it even more when I listen to, and heed, an internal guidance and not disregard it. The 12 module class comprised people from all walks of life: psychologists, dancers, film makers, engineers, teachers, etc. I remember feeling small, vulnerable and a little intimidated in the presence of all these learned people. I was just the girl next door wanting answers. Desperately needing to heal my life. My truth unfolded as I sat in class every Saturday experiencing stroke-like symptoms and continuing to accept healing of myself on every level. Completely committed to doing what was right for me this time: honouring myself. My story had been one of constantly giving to others, taking care of others, putting others first, of paying it forward. Walking ‘in the light’ and doing what I felt I was called to do. Being the ‘good’ person. Believing in the law of attraction and that what I put out there would return to me with the same good intention. What a laugh!!! How could so much good result in a gaping wound that oozed dysfunctional intimate relationships, parasites and opportunists ~ who attempted to continue to feed off me even as I recuperated from brain surgery? I came to discover that my kindness was my attempt to belong. Part of me was a little girl looking for a family, for a group of people that she felt would ‘love and accept her’. I have since learnt through the Conscious Living Programme, that even though I had forgiven and formed a new relationship with my parents, the wounds of my childhood needed to be tended to and healed too. That forgiveness did not automatically heal and erase what happened to my young psyche. That internalised trauma was still very real and alive. Another part of me needed to control situations to make me feel secure. This was clearly revealed to me through the excavational and intensely powerful exercises that were done during the 12 module course. I was able to identify complexes at play in my life and the archetypes around which they orbited. In a very short space of time, I had learnt how to recognise unconscious behaviour in myself and was given the tools to access, integrate and transform. I met some delightful ‘unconscious characters’ and some rather horrible characters too – all fractured parts of my psyche needing to be acknowledged. At times, lectures left me feeling faint, bewildered and displaced as the rose tinted glasses were removed and I was left confronting myself. There were days that I drove home from the course feeling like I was mourning the death of me – the death of the old version of me and crying for the little girl who had finally found a home in the adult that I was becoming. A floodlight had been switched on inside of me! Finally I was being taken on a guided tour of who I really am. Not just the mask I showed the world or the person I became to conform to what society dictated of me. The real me included the sacred, the good and the bad. The product of the life I had lived and the sum total of all the history that had been born with me into this world. Jung speaks of how evolution is struggling to keep up with us! That we are still processing primitive, ancient man in our psyches while galloping into the future; this required some digesting – but yet, on some level, it all made perfect sense to me. What I found particularly helpful and added to the work that we did in the 12 module programme, was that we are to become aware of how our collective unconscious responds to our ‘being’ in the present moment. How does our ancestral unconscious respond to the present? I really like that question as it unlocks a whole different way of being present and tunes into a different frequency. We are so much more than just physical bodies existing in the moment. Jung received vivid and complicated visions. If I had received the visions that he had, I would’ve had myself institutionalised. This part of the book settled so well inside of me. Life has always spoken, very loudly, to me in symbols – in visions, in synchronicities. It was interesting for me to note that what I needed to look at (be warned or guided on) was communicated to me in language or in visions that I could understand. Jung recommends that if a complex is not able to communicate with you, that you are to offer it your form of communication so that it might put what it needs to say to you, in language that you can understand. I found this extremely helpful. Four years ago I was engaged to be married. My fiancé and I were on our way out and as I walked past his tall frame, I got the strangest sensation. I stood in front of him and saw, in his chest area, a ball of swirling, grey, fog-like energy. I asked him outright what he was harbouring, what he needed to tell me. He went pale and looked as though he was going to do ‘a Freud’ and faint. It turned out that he had never divorced his wife. They were still legally married. The ball of grey fog energy that I saw was a lie that he was harbouring. In that moment I experienced two things: a clear warning and guidance in a vision, and, I experienced standing firmly in the present moment and speaking my truth as it came to me. When you regroup and bring your ‘full self’ into the present moment, you bring a very powerful presence into being. I have some reservations on Jung’s thoughts about life after death. My reluctance to accepting all of his theories on this stems from something he said: “if insight does not come by itself, then speculation is pointless”. Having faced death, I have a sense of peace and not foreboding about the thought of the hereafter. (I didn’t have the same feeling when I learnt of the death instinct – that left me dry mouthed and pale, yet again!!) What was interesting about my near death experience was that the month before the aneurysm burst, I drove over a metal hinge on the freeway. It sliced the back tyre of my car in the grain of the tread. I picked up a slow puncture and went to three different tyre places during that month. The rupture was not easily detected. When the tyre was inflated, it would not leak. As the air was let out of the tyre, the rupture was found. Every time the leak was fixed, the tyre started deflating again. I knew that this was a clear message to me and I remember asking out loud: “God, what are you trying to tell me? Where am I leaking??” 25 days later the aneurysm burst in my brain. This entire book speaks to me of the unfolding of our Divine nature and the living and the experiencing of it through our clumsy physical incarnation. The experience of that which is eternal and that which is finite all at once. I am, in Divine form, and, I exist and experience, in physical form. Not only to be, but to live this into the world, expressing the God in me. Making that part of my incarnation conscious and active. It got me delving into the depths of my psyche and questioning whether we are integrating the shadow – or whether we are actually integrating the light. It is interesting that Jung could’ve been Freud’s patient for a lifetime – and vice versa. A person that is not called to this journey, may interpret this book as the ramblings of an ungodly and deranged mad man. Having just started out on this path, after supressing a part of me that I knew existed my whole life, this writing serves not only as a confirmation for me, but as a light at my feet. It serves not to confine me to a group of mad psychologists or analysts, but encourages me to fully express my individuality. For that is the gift that I bring to this world. Linda on Linda: “I am a 47 year old ever evolving student of Life. Curious, courageous, with a burning desire to understand what ‘drives’ me forward and what makes me tick. A little tired of being mauled by circumstances, I have brushed myself off and stepped into my most courageous way of being. Containing all that I have been blessed with and taking Life by the hand and moving from this space forward. Loving every moment of my journey.”
Linda your story touched my heart and wish you all the very best on your path to individuation . With that in mind I’d like to introduce to you John O Donohue and his Anam Cara , David Whyte . It will facilitate and ease you from your thresholds into new frontiers of your exsistence .
Daniel, I appreciate your good wishes and thank you for reading my story. I have, ‘coincidentally’, just recently started following David Whyte on facebook. I consider your introduction to John O Donohue and David Whyte as confirmation that I am on track.
On his passing, David wrote of John: “John was a love-letter to humanity from some address in the firmament we have yet to find and locate, though we may wander many a year looking or listening for it.” ~ David Whyte
You have a lovely way of simplifying what is complex, making Jung’s teachings easy to follow and understand. I have been thinking about reading this book – perhaps you can coach me through it if I get stuck on some more complex bits.
Thank you Stacy. Life is simple to me. I tend to digest it in bite sized chunks. While everyone else is waxing lyrical, I am very present with what is ‘real’ for me. Why not allow me to introduce you to your own inner coach through one of the courses offered? I would far rather have you as a fellow traveller on the Conscious Living Programme journey and will gladly walk alongside you for that.
If you do decide to read this book, I am sure that you will find the man and his work quite inspiring. I so enjoyed his thoughts around his stories of his life. It was like being a fly on the wall to his own processing.