The third lecture in the series by Sean Fitzpatrick, PhD, LPC, executive director of the Jung Center, Houston, discussing COVID-19. It is separated into four parts/videos. To register for the rest of the series, CLICK HERE.
Jungianthology: A Podcast & Blog Posts
This blog post originally appeared on jungianecopsychology.com
The Covid-19 pandemic has created a unique moment in the history of our species. Something so small it takes an electron microscope to see is disrupting millions of lives and threatening the world’s economy. Frontline workers risk their lives trying to save patients who may die alone without friends or family at their sides. A virus, a strand of nucleic acid that highjacks the functioning of a cell to reproduce its unique viral form, is bringing our species to a near standstill. Despite the wonders of science, technology, and economic systems we can still be humbled by nature, indeed, by a strand of nucleic acid. It is crucial how we respond to the situation. What can we learn from it and how do we go forward?
We start with an adequate framing of the issue. This is a matter of life and death, which means it is in the most fundamental archetypal realm and requires an archetypal perspective. The fear of death from the pandemic is bringing a sense of immediacy and urgency on a planet-wide scale. Death cannot be separated from life, death makes us aware of the preciousness of life, and death confronts us with questions about the meaning of existence and our place in the bigger scheme of things. Death can bring an end to systems and beliefs that no longer support life and a healthy existence, and that could be the most important outcome of the present crisis.
The virus is demonstrating to what degree we are interconnected and how much we need each other. The forced social isolation and six-foot distancing has cut us off from intimate contacts and group experiences making us aware by absence how important we are to each other. The ghostly empty streets in otherwise bustling cities are eerie reminders that our systems are in shock at all levels. Like a nightmare that wakes us in the middle of the night, this shock is meant to shock us into a new awareness.
Our species needed to be shocked into an awareness that we have been barreling towards the edge of a cliff for many decades while showing no signs of being able to halt our “progress”. Well before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 and the first Earth Day in 1970, environmentalists have been warning us about overpopulation, destruction of natural habitats, loss of biodiversity, mining our lands with modern agricultural practices, collapsing ocean fisheries, etc. Greta Thunberg rallied millions of young people to demand action on climate change but powerful oil lobbies and vested political interests have been unmoved. The long term consequences of climate change will make any losses from a virus seem inconsequential, making this a moment for us to re-examine our fundamental relationships with each other and with the environment.
The following post is the first in a series of daily reflections on the COVID-19 pandemic by Jungian Psychoanalyst Ashok Bedi, MD & Jungian Psychotherapist Robert BJ Jakala, PhD. Dr. BJ Jakala is a photographer and Dr. Bedi and Dr. Jakala jointly amplify the image. The ongoing series is available on pathtothesoul.com.
Minding Our Nest – Our Vulnerable Humanity on a Fragile Planet
Often this work is wearisome and difficult, because it cannot be accomplished by intellectual shortcuts or moral recipes, but only by careful observation of the inner and outer conditions.
– C. G. Jung, The Symbolic Life : Miscellaneous Writings (1976, p. 617)
I woke up uncertain of what condition the world would be in and how I would face it. Before finding out what the outside would want, I sat quietly to check in with my internal world. I notice I am scared and need some courage. I remember a teacher long ago who said, “Fear is the embryo of courage. Courage is not born unless fear is present.”
I decide I need to act on tasks, familiar tasks, so I will feel a sense of influence and accomplishment rather than fear. I do some work out in the yard and notice how spring is here. None of the plants, butterflies, fruits, grasses or birds know about the Covid-19 virus. I begin to align with the natural feeling of spring. The work to care for my small piece of the planet helps me be more self-assured.
When my work is done, I go for a long walk and find a few people doing the same. Today when we made eye contact and said hello, there seems to be a deeper connection; a connection of “we are all in this together.” It occurred to me how the threat of climate crises has brought some nations together to save the planet. It is during this time that nations might work together to save humanity. Perhaps the threat of a common enemy will help all of us see we are in this together.
When I came home from my walk, the memory of this photo came to mind. It demonstrates action to make things better. What do I bring home? How do I contribute to my nest? It reminds me that I can collect memories and bring them to the moment, memories that are useful to my internal and external home. I carry the smiles and acknowledgement while on my walk with me now. They are here in my house with me.
It is via Community that we will save our humanity. In the Buddhist tradition, there are three legs of the spiritual tradition: Buddha (Image of Self), Sangha (Community) and Dharma (Spiritual Purposefulness). When these three are aligned, we come into our Soul. When all of us honor our Spiritual purposefulness and support the Community effort, we become One World, UNUS Mundus. Then the effort of each one of us will collectively support ALL of us. In the Alchemic tradition, one plus one = 11. That is the Way.
John Beebe and Stefano Carpani reflect upon the traumatic experience of the Covid-19 pandemic in the context of Jung’s conception of compensation as a psychologically disruptive process that is nonetheless a force of nature itself.
John Beebe, MD a physician specializing in psychotherapy, is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a past president of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. He is the author of Integrity in Depth, editor of C. G. Jung’s Aspects of the Masculine, and co-author of The Presence of the Feminine in Film. He is the founding editor of The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal (now titled Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche), and a was the first American co-editor of the London-based Journal of Analytical Psychology. An international lecturer is widely known for his work on psychological types, the psychology of moral process, and the Jungian understanding of film.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Institute of Professional and Continuing Studies at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology is sharing two free online self-paced home-study courses: Telehealth 101 and Best Practices in Online Pedagogy.
TCSPP is an approved provider of APA CEs and BBS California CEU’s for this training and format. In order to receive credit for these courses, participants must complete the entire training and complete a course evaluation and comprehension quiz. Participants must earn a passing score of 75% or higher on the quiz to receive an APA CE Certificate.
Presented by LoriAnn Stretch, PhD, Susan Foster, PhD, Rodney Harris, PhD, Tiffany C. Rush-Wilson, PhD
6.0 APA CEs for Psychologists or 6.0 BBS California CEUs for Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Counselors
Best Practices in Online Pedagogy
Presented By LoriAnn Stretch, PhD, and Susan Foster, PhD
2.0 APA CEs for Psychologists or 2.0 BBS California CEUs for Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Counselors