Sacred Laws of Psyche: Circles of Change

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My last post was about how resisting growth and change perpetuates disorder and chaos. The result is entropy, the inevitable decline of life and civilization. Here I’d like to explore how conscious individuals can reverse this trend and support forward movement. It can happen if we understand The Law of Change.

5. The Law of Change: Energies in both universes (inner and outer) are constantly circulating. Change toward stasis and polarization increases disorder and chaos. Change toward communication and integration increases movement toward perfection and completion.

Your psyche is a universe of unimaginable potential. Like the outer universe in which moons circle planets, planets circle stars, and stars circulate around each other in galaxies, so the energies of your inner universe interact constantly. Nothing remains fixed. The ongoing cooperation between all Mother Nature’s elements creates changes in your psyche and the world.

You see it in your outer life every day. Neighborhoods decay, houses are torn down. Condominiums, parking lots, and strip malls fill the empty spaces. Nations and governments rise and fall. Toxic leaders are voted out and new ones replace them. All life is in constant flux. It’s a basic law of nature.

You can observe this flow in yourself. Your emotions and moods constantly change. One moment you’re exuding hope and energy, the next you’re sinking under the shame of something somebody said, a painful memory, or bad news. Your opinions and values change depending on your education, health, relationships, and current events. Your family system changes: children are born and grow up, adults fall ill and die, couples marry, new babies are born.

Overall, your ego is aware of only a very small portion of your psyche. Most of your potential sleeps in the darkness Jung called the unconscious. You notice a few changes now and then, ignore others. Approve of some, fight others. Sometimes you fight changes that conflict with your values. Sometimes unfamiliar people and challenging ideas make you uncomfortable. Sometimes you fight change out of habit, or because you fear the unknown.

Psychological change doesn’t end when your ego switches off the light of awareness and sinks into sleep. Your unconscious is a dark and vast ocean beneath your ego awareness. Like the earth’s oceans, its elements move with the winds and tides of change. Since they are nature and therefore not subject to your ego’s will, some elements come unbidden to you in dreams where they appear and disappear at will, morph into expected and sometimes terrifying forms, behave in unpredictable ways, and perform beautiful, shocking and mystifying acts. Like all natural events, some dreams are easily forgotten. Others leave lingering effects. Occasionally an unusually powerful dream influences change in your thoughts and behavior.

Whether or not your ego is aware of this oceanic change, there are forces in your unconscious that resist and fight it. Some are instinctual and archetypal, some are functions of your DNA, and some are aspects of your personality which was shaped by physical trauma and family and social experiences. You can reduce the toxic effects of these forces by noting their consequences. You can accept their presence in you and everyone. You can remove yourself from situations in which they are apt to create problems that are not in anyone’s best interest.

Regardless of where your resistance originates, it takes enormous energy to maintain it. In fact, you can waste so much libido —  psychological energy — by fighting change, that you have little left to explore and enjoy your life, your fuller potential, and your loved ones. Your resistance makes your waking life more problematic and your dreams reflect your struggles in terrifying and depressing nightmares. When this happens, you need to get proactive if you want to save your soul. Because it’s telling you it’s time for change.

You can refresh your soul and retrieve libido when you step toward positive change. For example, you might take your dreams seriously enough to study them. You might seek advice from your partner or friends. You might watch a different news channel to see what the opposite political party is saying and seek intersections of agreement. You might see a therapist, body worker, health practitioner, or spiritual guide. None of these things will kill you, and all of them will open your mind to healthy change.

Here are five guidelines for moving forward:

  • engage in open and honest dialogue with others

  • listen closely to inner and outer realities you have rejected

  • challenge habitual responses and consider healthier new options

  • free your libido to integrate the opposite, yes/no, either/or opinions that have ruled your life into a middle space of dialogue they can share

  • step toward experiences and values that have the potential to perfect and complete you

You can do it. Our survival depends on it.

For an oasis of inspiration, listen to Circle Game, Joni Mitchell’s extraordinary song about change, as covered by Ian and Sylvia in 1967.

Image credits:  Google free images:  Cornerstoneccs.com, Michael Nichols; The Wheel of Change, Michael Goldsmith, visual, www.discoveryinaction.com.du; Change, Managements Models, lucid chart.com.   

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Watch for her new book, The Soul’s Twins, to be launched later this year.

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9 Responses

  1. Much like Joni’s beautiful, musical poetry, your wise, intuitive words slow the circles down. In hindsight I realise my own slowing down didn’t really get going until mid-life, even though initially it began in my early thirties, life was too hectic for me to even notice back then. Strange but true, such is the tension of the opposites I guess at times! For suddenly, my hopes and dreams at mid-life started to return as did my deep relationship with Mother Nature. And today, as I move steadily towards my sixtieth circle (and eek! my second Saturn return), I realise “goodbyes” are ever constant despite life getting so much clearer at fifty! Oh, the passage of time and the human heart! So thank you Jeanie for posting a link to this song, (which btw was my first ever listen!) the music and those profound, poetical lyrics are now on a loop inside this poet’s heart.
    So as I (hopefully) continue to slow down the circles, I’ve noticed that the “Law of Change” often slams on life’s brakes. For when change arrives it’s often (although it doesn’t seem at the time!) like Christmas day “within” and the unwrapping of presents begins as I tear open up its gifts! Gifts I thought I would never receive due to some kind of crazy, DNA or ancestral curse! Gifts like forgiveness, truth and a journey of individuation. And in moments of fear, I re-read my poems, chart my own journey, and more often than not, see tiny seeds of change which needed to grow before the gifts of forgiveness, understanding and acceptance were possible in my life because believe me, “hating” for decades nearly destroyed me, and yet, hating was part of my Odyssean journey too. A brilliant article Jeanie with so much food for thought! Thank you. Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Hi Deborah,
      I love your interpretation of ‘slowing the circles down’ as the ability to slow down, take the time to smell the roses and be fully aware and grateful for each moment. I honestly hadn’t thought of it that way before! I learned to play and sing Circle Game when I was around 25 or so and wasn’t thinking quite that deeply in those days. I just imagined the boy planting his feet on the ground, trying to slow the carousel down a little…. his way of resisting change. So thanks for that.
      I reread the lyrics again earlier this morning. I wish I could write poetry and songs like that. A warm thank-you for suggesting that I do here. And I also love your aside that the lyrics are now “on a loop inside this poet’s heart.” Once a poet, always a poet!
      Slamming on life’s brakes is a great way to think of the call to change. I remember feeling that way at one point in mid-life when I received a huge wake-up call on the order of Kris Kristofferson’s lyric, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Suddenly a world of choices opened up before me like a candy store window with a sign saying “Free: Help Yourself,” and I knew I could choose anything for which my soul deeply yearned. It was a magnificent gift to finally see that I could live my life in a way that was just right for me, that it was okay to do that! I felt like I was walking out of a fog that had enveloped me for my entire life up to that point.
      This reminds me of an old photograph of Fred and me in the 60’s, around the time Circle Game came out. My brother found a bunch of 50 year old slides and digitalized a few of them. In the picture he sent to me it looks like I’m just staring into a fog. It makes me sad now to see how “empty” I was then. Just going through the motions and trying to look good doing it! I’m going to find a way to use it in an upcoming post so you can see what I mean. In those days I had no idea how much more there was to life, and to me. I’m so grateful that I found out.
      Thank you for sharing your musings. They always provide me with a banquet to feast on. 🙂
      Warm blessings,
      Jeanie

      1. Thank you so much Jeanie for sharing your musings and insights too, much like Kris Kristofferson, your intuitions and recollections “help me make it through the (dark) night (of the soul).” Okay, I’m off to listen to “Circle Game” again and I’ll look forward to seeing the photograph you mention in a forthcoming post.

    1. I listened to it over breakfast. I got a melancholy feeling too. So beautiful and sad. And Judy Collins. What a voice! My husband and I went to school with Steven Stills. He was playing the guitar back then. We were so young and innocent. Thank you. 🙂

  2. I’m listening to Joni Mitchell as I write Jeanie, I can imagine you playing this on your ukelele! And of course, I loved all those Kris Kristofferson songs … have you heard Janis Joplin sing Freedom’s just another word? I love both renditions … and KK singing Help me make it through the night – I must focus now and not get distracted playing them on my lap top – (though I’m now listening to Help me make it through the night – that could be played on your ukelele!)
    Thank you for your post … it is very affirming for me. I agree, our survival depends on each of us becoming authentic – from the micro to the micro and back again – forwards and backwards … actually this reminds me of a photo that my son sent me on a what’s app yesterday. It was of his wife, and his caption was “I married an angel” .. to which I responded ‘and are still married to her – and long may you be”. And added ‘past present future’ which made me think of the flow of time –

    1. Your comment makes me smile with warmth and tenderness. Thank you for joining me in my happy place of music, nostalgic old songs, great singer poets, and great memories. And love. Yes, I’ve heart Janis Joplin and KK singing those songs and love them. I have played Help Me Make it Through the Night on my ukulele, but would have a hard time playing it on my guitar at the moment. But I’ll give it a try today. It’s a great song!
      Your son is a lucky man. You are a lucky woman. We are both so fortunate. Thank you for writing. Jeanie

  3. Change is the one thing we can count on, according to my favorite Buddhist teachers. I’ve had large doses of difficult change in the last dozen years, but adaptation brings out new possibility. It happens personally, and I hope for my country (everyone’s countries) and the Earth. We can change with shocking speed as we’re seeing a new demand from climate change and the coronavirus. Seems many people who weren’t willing to question what’s happening in Washington DC are reconsidering–and we will adapt and try new previously rejected things, like it or not. (I loved Joni Mitchell’s song so many years ago and it still plays on my inner record player. I haven’t been able to convince myself to toss the old records even though I don’t play them–or maybe there will be an unexpected change and music will sound good again. I never know.)
    I thought of you this morning, Jeanie, because of strong animal dreams last night that reminded me of strong animal dreams around the time we were together. In last night’s dream, my front yard was filled with a large pack of wolves (at least 20) and slender fast black panthers or possibly dogs. A bearded man stopped his car on the road to make sure no one harmed the wild animals. They weren’t threatening, although I made sure my dogs were safe behind doors. It was mostly amazing and the wolves and black beings quietly slipped into the forest across the road. The Dream Maker might be telling me I still have more vitality than I realize.

    1. Wolves, panthers, and dogs. Oh my!
      Yes, indeed. If this were my dream I’d say there’s lots of instinctual energy and activity going on in me. Which instincts are gaining in vitality? Of the five — nurturance, activity, reflection, sex, and creativity — well, only you’d know. But I’d certainly suspect nurturance (my new dog), and reflection. Since it’s all appearing my front yard, I’d think I’m becoming conscious of it. So new ideas, plans, creative endeavors, general life energy?
      And the bearded man? My protective, nurturing animus who actively tends to and protects living things: caterpillars and butterflies? Dogs? Trees? The environment?
      Love this dream. Sounds like change is definitely occurring in your inner and outer worlds and you’re becoming more aware of it! Sounds good.

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