“If, for a moment, we regard mankind as one individual, we see that the human race is like a person carried away by unconscious powers, and the human race also likes to keep certain problems tucked away in separate drawers. But this is why we should give a great deal of consideration to what we are doing, for mankind is now threatened by self-created and deadly dangers that are growing beyond our control. Our world is, so to speak, dissociated like a neurotic…Western man, becoming aware of the aggressive will to power of the East, sees himself forced to take extraordinary measures of defense, at the same time as he prides himself on his virtue and good intentions….What he fails to see is that it is his own vices, which he has covered up by good international manners, that are thrown back in his face by the communist world, shamelessly and methodically…it is the face of this own evil shadow that grins at Western man from the other side of the Iron Curtain.” C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols, pp. 72-73
Jung wrote these words after World War II when the enemy was communism. But it applies to everything we perceive to be a threat today, whether people of other countries, other religious beliefs, skin colors, political leaders, or gender orientations. Until we can see and acknowledge the reality of our whole selves, especially the dark unknown forces that impel us to act in hostile, hurtful ways, we are the enemy, our own greatest problem. This is an enemy you and I can keep in check if we are willing. Dr. Jung advocated dreamwork as one of the easiest and most readily available ways to grow more conscious.
“Through dreams one becomes acquainted with aspects of one’s own personality that for various reasons one has preferred not to look at too closely. This is what Jung called ‘the realization of the shadow.'” ~C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols, p. 174
When we are not aware of our shadow, we are far more susceptible to becoming a problem and a threat, not only in our personal relationships, but in our country and the world.
“…the shadow is exposed to collective infections to a much greater extent than is the conscious personality. When a man is alone, for instance, he feels relatively all right but as soon as ‘the others’ do dark, primitive things, he begins to fear that if he doesn’t join in, he will be considered a fool. Thus he gives way to impulses that do not really belong to him at all.” ~C.C. Jung, Man and His Symbols, p. 175
There are other benefits to connecting with our unconscious selves through our dreams and other forms of inner work. For example, the images in our dreams are messages from our souls that provide symbolic ways of looking at what’s truly important to us. When we notice dream symbols and act on those that move us deeply, something extraordinary can happen: Fear and depression give way to trust in a greater benevolent power that can transform our lives. Jung said:
“If a man [sic] devotes himself to the instructions of his own unconscious, it can bestow…[a new spiritual orientation by means of which everything becomes full of life and enterprise] so that suddenly life, which has been stale and dull, turns into a rich, unending inner adventure, full of creative possibilities.” ~C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols, p. 209
In other words, to seek awakened consciousness is not just a psychological adventure. It’s also spiritual. Establishing relationships with parts of our true inner Self connects us to the sacred within in images that inspire and affirm us and our lives.
“Because this symbol [one’s God-image] represents that which is whole and complete, it is often conceived as a bisexual being. In this form the symbol reconciles one of the most important pairs of psychological opposites — male and female. This union also appears frequently in dreams as a divine, royal, or otherwise distinguished couple.”C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols p. 216
My new book,The Soul’s Twins, is about how to activate the Couple archetype to diminish the power of evil, heal ourselves, and benefit others. Unconsciousness is our greatest threat. Consciousness is our greatest hope. Evil — both in our personal shadows and in its archetypal manifestations throughout the world — can only be reduced as each of us stops pointing it out in others and accepts it within ourselves. When that happens, evil is transformed from a threat to a healing agent. As Jungian analyst Dr.Bud Harris concludes in his wonderful new book, Confronting Evil, (p. 86-87}:
“I believe that the evil we face in the world has the purpose of calling or compelling us out of our childlike state of unconsciousness, our obsession with the “good life,” the happy life, the secure life and to force us to engage in the blood, sweat, risks, tears, love, and laughter of real life. And while absolute evil may not be able to be integrated, it can, perhaps, awaken us to our better selves and our need to look for the kind of consciousness Dr. Jung thought our future depends on.”
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, is available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.