Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Psychology of Zen

Today I am reading Chapter 3 “The Psychology of Zen” from V. Walter Odajnyk’s Gathering the Light. This Chapter discusses Zen meditation, which seeks to activate what Jung called the uroboric archetype of the Self: that is, the transcendent potential world of being that contains all the archetypes before they separate out and take on manifest form. In Zen this archetype is defined as Pure Consciousness or Formless Form. Odajnyk applies the insights of Jungian psychology to the interior developments that take place in the course of Zen meditation: the effects of the posture and the focus on breathing and counting; the work with a koan; alterations of the ego complex; and the nature of satori. During the course of the discussion, introduced is the concept of a "meditation complex" to account for the psychic structure and energy that appear when the ego gives up its unifying role of consciousness and before that role is taken over by the Self. (The term “complex” is used in the neutral way that Jung did, as a "feeling-toned cluster of psychic energy.") #zen #meditation #ego #satori #energy #koan

Sunday, December 16, 2018

What is Meditation

Today I’m reading from Chapter 2 of V. Walter Odajnyk’s Gathering the Light: A Jungian View of Meditation which describes the psychological processes that take place during meditation. By directing psychic energy inward, meditation activates the complexes and the archetypes, with different forms of meditation activating different archetypes and giving rise to different experiences and results. The topics covered include attention; concentration; "deautomatization," the freeing up of psychic energy that normally flows into our habitual responses; the role of the ego complex during meditation; the loss of body sensations; visions of light; and the psychological limits of enlightenment. #meditation #zen #psychology #enlightenment

Thursday, November 29, 2018

A little help staying centered during the Holiday Season

Disillusioned with the consumer driven yearend holiday season, which seems to start earlier and earlier every year, where Black Friday overshadows Thanksgiving and robs us of the symbols and symbolic messages that bring value to our spiritual and mental health, I have returned to Mariann Burke’s Advent and Psychic Birth. Rich in depth and metaphor, I’m using it as a daily devotional, to help me stay focused during this runaway time of the year where we can easily get lost to external events and mindsets that lead us away from ourselves and the meaningful relationships in our lives. I’m not against gathering together for holiday parties and celebration, which I consider a normal integral part of our lives. My goal, however, is to stay focused on the symbolic meanings of these holidays so that they can be celebrated with a greater understanding of how and why they came into existence, and it turn experience them with more meaning and joy.

Though I am the publisher of Advent and Psychic Birth, I currently reading and using the book as a daily devotional for my personal mental and spiritual health. This is not an advertisement meant to ‘sell’ you a Fisher King Press publication. It is a message only to bring awareness to a very worthy and valuable publication that speaks to all of us during this time of the year. I republished Advent and Psychic Birth a few years ago, after it had been out-of-print for nearly two decades. I published it for a few reasons, much of which is related in the previous paragraph, but also because it has eternal life, an eternal message that should never be ‘out-of-print’. I’m proud and grateful to be the publisher of Mariann Burke’s Advent and Psychic Birth as well as her book, Re-Imagining Mary: A Journey Through Art to the Feminine Self. Thank you, Mariann Burke, for digging deep into the depths of soul and bringing back to us your hard-earned gold!

Here are a couple of paragraphs form Advent and Psychic Birth:
Whatever one's religious persuasion one cannot help being touched by the poetry of the Hebrew and Christian biblical Advent texts. The Advent liturgy offers a rich fare of images: images of death and destruction, images of hope, of struggle, of waiting, of pain, puzzlement, questioning, doubt, images of birth and of love. Psychologically speak­ing, it is more important to experience an image than to interpret it or to relate it to mythological sources, helpful though this may be. Experiencing opens us to the energiz­ing power of the image which "feeds" us, giving us sub­stance and meaning. Whether the image comes from the Bible, Koran, I Ching, Tarot, or from our dreams and visions, the image brings us in touch with a wisdom and shared experience of humanity. Images of Advent speak to us of our yearning for life, even as the One whose birth we celebrate came to give us life "to the full."
Probably no other time of the year evokes in us such a range of emotional response--from sadness to joy--as the weeks leading up to the feast of Christmas. The word, "Advent," from the Latin, adventus, means "coming" or "approach." The word connotes a longing or hunger for something more in life, something intimated but still unfelt. For Christians this longing focuses on the divine child, a child who was embodied in the Jesus of history, and who, from a psychological perspective relates us to "unborn" as­pects of ourselves. Advent, then, is the season of the unborn. And it is this aspect of Advent that we will explore as images of psychic pregnancy and birth. Each of us nurtures some promise that wants to be born. Psychic birth refers to any potential aspect of ourselves that longs for realization; it refers to our "becoming" who we are meant to be.