The following post is part of a series of reflections 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.
We seek the effective images, the thought-forms that satisfy the restlessness of heart and mind, and we find the treasures of the East.Jung, 1934/1954/1968, p. 13
I was walking through a small village when I encountered this woman sitting on the wall. When I gestured to her to gain permission to take her photo. She nodded. As I raised my camera, she raised her hands to the namaste position. I pressed the shutter and lowered my camera but continued to look at her looking at me. I felt blessed. Her grounded soulfulness welcomed the moment of encounter with another. I felt her hospitality; without a camera she captured me. There was need for a polite smile by either of us. The gratitude of being recognized at a deeper level eliminated the idea of surface pleasantries.
Life in the United States has very few moments of stillness unless we make them. The pandemic, social justice, political upheaval, concerns about schooling in the fall leave little space for a full acknowledgement. Yet, we all need to be seen, heard, understood, and loved. I would benefit from creating and partaking in more moments with the woman sitting on a wall.
Most of us engage a lifestyle of horizontal engagement with the mundane, survival dimension of our daily, routine and busy existence. This calls for a balance with attention to a vertical axis of interiority, spirituality and the sacred dimension of our lives. When the horizontal, survival axis of our daily life intersects with the vertical, archetypal axis of our inner life, it forms a symbol of the Cross – a symbol of Wholeness. This calls for a sacrifice in the material/horizontal life to make room for the contemplative space to engage the sacred.
We make room for this sacred dimension via sitting still, silence and, solitude. This permits us to commune with the whispers of our soul and the flow of the Spirit all around us and within us. We then connect with the Antar-yamin (Antar = inner, Yamin= divine). When we create such a contemplative space, the Spirit whispers to us. Stillness, silence and solitude SSS are the password to login to the flow of the universe and our place in it.
When we cannot create such a sacred space, there is back door to the Spirit via another soul who is thus tuned in to the spirit via their inner work. Mirror neuron research has indicated that through Bluetooth (Bedi, 2020, p. 200) with such individuals via Interoception (an inner map of the other in our body feelings), we establish a Resonance circuit with them and can experience their bliss. Hence, the maxim in the 12 steps program, “Stick with Winners!)
Some Points to Ponder:
How busy is your life?
Are motivated to slow down or speed up?
How does the photograph impact you?
Take a moment to replace the woman with yourself. What would the photographer see?
How do you honor or welcome others in your life?
Are you able to make time for solitude, stillness, silence and spiritual engagement in your busy, daily life?
Do you engage with individuals who engage this contemplative space in their lives?
How do you feel when you resonate with such contemplative individuals?
Photo taken in Bowali, Uttarakhand, India
- Bedi, A. P., Joseph A. . (2020). The Spiritual Paradox of Addiction: The Call of the Transcendent (Second edition (March 15, 2020) ed.). Lake Worth, FL, USA: Nicolas Hayes Inc., page 99, 200
- Jung, C. G. (1934/1954/1968). The archetypes and the collective unconscious (2d ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
This post originally appeared on pathtothesoul.com.
Robert “BJ” Jakala, PhD is a Depth Psychologist, Educator, Writer, and Photographer. He is a graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. He is also a Registered Nurse who worked at Linda and Stewart Neuropsychiatric Hospital for thirty-three years. He was a Nursing Supervisor for seventeen years and lead Group Psychotherapy on the Adult Service for ten years. He has taught the First Year Nurse Residents Self-Care and Stress Management at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for over twelve years. He is the former Assistant Director of the Men’s Center of Los Angeles for 5 years. He retired from thirty years of Private Practice in Woodland Hills, CA in November. 2017.
Dr. Jakala promotes the idea of transformation and change as a function of image and language in patients, as well as clinicians. He teaches the rewards of deep listening to the images created by language and the value of an image’s experience before words emerge. He aligns with Carl Jung’s ideas regarding a universal consciousness that is often hidden beneath the surface of our ego consciousness. He encourages clinicians to appreciate the collective in order to assist clients become more of themselves.
Ashok Bedi, M.D. is a Jungian psychoanalyst and a board-certified psychiatrist. He is a member of the Royal College of psychiatrists of Great Britain, a diplomat in Psychological Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of England, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and a training analyst at the Carl G. Jung Institute of Chicago. His books include The Spiritual Paradox of Addiction, Crossing the Healing Zone , Awaken the Slumbering Goddess: The Latent Code of the Hindu Goddess Archetypes, Retire Your Family Karma: Decode Your Family Pattern and Find Your Soul Path and Path to the Soul. He is the liaison for the IAAP for developing Jungian training programs in India and travels annually to India to teach, train the consult with the Jungian Developing groups at several centers in India including Ahmedabad and Mumbai. He leads the annual “A Jungian Encounter with the Soul of India” study group to several centers in India under the auspices of the New York Jung Foundation. His publications and upcoming programs may be previewed at pathtotheosul.com