Category: <span>Essays</span>

I would like to take some time to write about the psychological wisdom of a prayer -“The Lord’s Prayer”- that has guided the lives of millions of Catholic people around the world. My objective is to offer (like Edward Edinger did; see his book, “Transformation of the God-Image”) a brief psychological distillation (intra-psychic perspective) of that prayer.

First, here is the prayer:

“Our Father who art in Heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

From a psychological point of view, the relationship between our ego and the unconscious is important for our psychological well-being, especially the relationship between our consciousness and the center of the unconscious, which Analytical Psychology (Jung) calls the Self or the God Image in us. According to Jung, God is in each of us and that He/She is the center of the unconscious, which contains not only all the undiscovered and unknown potentials, talents, and abilities in each human life but, also, the dark aspects of human nature.

“Our Father who are in Heaven”

Then, what does the first sentence – “Our Father who are in Heaven” – mean psychologically?

It may mean that, inside of each of us, there is a place (Heaven) where all the undiscovered and unknown potentials, skills, talents, abilities as well as the dark aspects are located, and that the Creator of Life -God (Father)- as well as the fundamental impulse to create is there, too.

“Hallowed be Thy name”

What does this sentence mean psychologically?

The Self -God in us- is sacred. The prayer is asking people to declare the Self sacred and to view the inner center of our lives -the Self- as holy and whole. Given that the Self or God in us is dynamic center from where all psychological life begins -wishes, desires, thoughts, unknown potentials, undiscovered talents, and untapped skills- the second sentence of prayer is asking us to view and hold our psychological lives as sacred and divine. In a world where, unfortunately, outer reality seems to be the most important aspect of a human life, redeeming the “inner life and its center” as sacred seeks to restore the great psychological value of inner life.

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During this pandemia, the archetype of the hermit is knocking at the door worldwide. Then, quietly, he looks at us in the privacy of our homes, with ancient eyes, offering the gift of contemplation with which we awake to what is around us. We sense ourselves more. Also, the hermit’s abode is silence, which welcomes and embraces the fullness of life within; yet, at our homes, his visit may make us tremble with terror when facing such emptiness of sound and the magnitude of the space within. He carries a lamp to guide the inner traveler to the realm of solitude. Yes! During this pandemia, the hermit has brought, worldwide, the gifts of solitude, silence, and contemplation, which, for some people, may be unbearable to withstand, forcing them to run away from themselves. Thomas Merton wrote: “Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally.”

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Durante esta pandemia, el arquetipo del ermitaño está tocando la puerta en todo el mundo. En silencio, el nos mira en la privacidad de nuestros hogares, con ojos sabios, ofreciendo el regalo de la contemplación con el que nos despertamos a lo que nos rodea. Nos sentimos más nosotros mismos. Además, la morada del ermitaño es el silencio, que acoge y abraza la plenitud de la vida interior; sin embargo, en nuestros hogares, su visita puede hacernos temblar de terror al enfrentar el vacío del sonido y la magnitud del espacio interior. El lleva una lámpara para guiar al viajero interior al reino de la soledad. ¡Si! Durante esta pandemia, el ermitaño ha traído, por todo el mundo, los dones de la soledad, el silencio y la contemplación, que, para algunas personas, esto puede ser insoportable, obligándolos a huir de sí mismos. Thomas Merton escribió: “No todos los hombres están llamados a ser ermitaños, pero todos los hombres necesitan suficiente silencio y soledad en sus vidas para permitir que la profunda voz interna de su verdadero esencia se escuche al menos ocasionalmente”.

This post originally appeared on thehealingpsyche.org.

Freddie Taborda, LCPC, PsyD is a Jungian Analyst with over 30 years of clinical experience. He maintains a private practice in Chicago, Illinois.


Links: Dr. Taborda’s Website | About Dr. Taborda | Dr. Taborda’s Page on the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago’s Website

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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.

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This is part of a continuing series of posts from conversations with Lisa Maechling Debbeler, JD, MA, LPCC about the nature of being a therapist/analyst in a time of quarantine. We began talking on Saturday March 21, 2020 at the beginning of the shut down and are continuing to talk weekly. We were both continuing to work and trying to see as many of our clients/analysands as possible through Zoom or other virtual methods. We were both finding this both unexpectedly and expectedly difficult and wanted to share our experiences with colleagues and friends that we respect.


Lisa sent me a link to some long-term qualitative research being done by analysts who have been doing Teletherapy prior to the Covid 19 crisis. One of the issues they raised was whether Teletherapy brought an experience of banality into a sacred experience.

What makes our work sacred?

For me it is the times when I and my client or analysand experience the flow of healing that is beyond one ego talking to another ego. It seems that the connection or the field between the two of us opens a channel to something larger than either of us could have brought into the room. We experience the presence of the numinous. In Kabbalah or Jewish mystical tradition, this flow is called Shefa which can be translated as divine emanation or flow. Perhaps a analogous term more familiar in mainstream culture might be Grace.

In general, therapists and even analysts don’t talk a lot about this experience perhaps because it is so beyond our control but also because it is beyond language. By definition it is hard to talk about. At the same time, I would argue that without the presence of the numinous/Shefa/Grace there is no deep healing. With it there is sometimes change that seems miraculous or inexplicable.

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Several years ago, I arrived at a building, and I thought it was empty. To my surprise, I ran into a man from another country (Mexico). I asked him if he was by himself. He said, “No.” Then, he added, as a clarification, of who else was with him: “My soul and I.” 

I was struck by the beauty and the wisdom of his comment, and I found out, later on, that his response was a cultural and popular phrase from his native land. I believe his comment (“My soul and I”) is an archetypal experience that highlights the primary and fundamental direction that Jungian analysis needs to take during and after the time of Coronavirus.

Coronavirus has forced individuals to ‘stay home’; it has compelled people to distance themselves from others; governments from around the world have implemented “social distancing” measures in public places, and the streets of major cities from around the world are somewhat empty. During this pandemic, people are forced to spend more time alone, at home. Solitude has increased world-wide. Individuals are noticing they are forced to be by themselves, at home, unless they distract themselves with electronic gadgets. Silence is more noticeable as well as the absence of other people. Therefore, Coronavirus is leading us to a spatial, temporal, emotional, and spiritual space of “My soul and I.” It is a space of possibilities and terrors.  

I believe the archetypal sentence, “My soul and I”,  has laid out the path that Jungian analysis needs to primarily pursue during and after the time of Coronavirus: the exploration, cultivation, and the caring for the Ego-Self Axis or “the soul and I.” In a letter to P.W. Martin, Jung (1945) stated, “…the main interest of my work is…the approach to the numinous…[which] is the real therapy…[and] as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology.” Furthermore, Jung delineated the relationship between images, soul, and the Divine, and emphasized the centrality of the Divine through working with images from dreams, active imagination, and synchronicities. Therefore, in time of Coronavirus, it is important that both analysts and analysands focus, during analysis, on those images (Soul) for ‘releasing’ the individual from pathology.

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