Archive for August, 2012

Seeing into the Life of Things

“While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.”

William Wordsworth 1798

Poets seem to see the world in a deeper way than most. The words of Wordsworth remind me of how we can change the way we perceive the world by finding an inner place of harmony and joy. If we are in a state of inner turmoil, then we find it difficult to see anything but turmoil in the world around us. I have become aware of a state that I call clarity. There are moments of enhanced clarity that arise within me. Just today, I was sitting in a café reading a piece by Heidegger on the presence of Being, a very difficult piece to fathom. However, clarity descended upon me within a moment – the proverbial twinkling of an eye.  I looked up from my book and I experienced the café, the people and the music playing in the café in a completely different way. I was deeply connected to all that was present in the moment. There was a sense of interconnectedness that existed. I could see more clearly than ever before. I could see “into the life of things.”  What had brought this experience to be? I was struggling to understand the presence of Being as developed in Heidegger’s poetic dwelling. In particular, I was writing about how Being appears, lingers and then departs every moment. We are coming into being all the time. The whole world does this every moment. We are eternally emerging in the world and with the world. What a lovely way to see our being present. Heidegger often talks about the lighting of the world. A shining that appears in these moments. Today I awakened to a shining moment. As I walked home from the café I looked upon the world in a different way. I could see into the life of the trees, flowers and people that I passed.


What a lovely way to begin the morning.

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Gathering the World

“Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to oneself.”

C.G. Jung (CW 8, par. 432)

The Jungian path is not a solitary inward journey towards wholeness. As Jung states, the individuation path is anything but solitary. How can a process with the goal of wholeness shut one out from the world? We are not separate from the world in which we dwell. We are a part of our world. The world around us informs who we are as a being-in-the-world. To live a life shut out from the world is a pathway towards neurosis. What I find most moving about Jung’s words is his statement that individuation “gathers the world to oneself.” What is this gathering? Who is doing the gathering? In reading Jung’s text we see that the Self is gathering, not the ego. The Self as the archetype of wholeness works through us to bring the world into our awareness. The gathering is happening all of the time. In fact, the archetypal Self extends beyond our concept of common time, or what the Greeks referred to as chronos. The Self opens us to the world as it presents itself to us. I see our purpose here on Earth as becoming a willing participant in this opening process. This is a challenge for the ego. Can ‘I’ step aside and allow the Self to open a window to the world? Can ‘I’ open my senses, my consciousness, to this eternal gathering? From personal experience, I can say that when I am willing to do this I feel a deeper participation in the world and am gathered into the world.

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I have been absent from this site for a long time. Some of this absence has been due to illness and some due to a very busy life. During my illness, I had a transformative dream that has led to changes in my life. This dream also indicated that I needed to be near the ocean for a while. So, we are spending a year in Santa Cruz, California. We have moved into a beautiful small house near the coast. I hope to use this time to re-center and reconnect to things that truly matter in life. I also hope to use this time to write more. Write more for this blog site and write more about how we experience this world.

For the past few years, I have been reflecting and writing on how we live in the world. These reflections are rooted in three soils: 1) Jungian psychology and the importance of recognizing the other world within, 2) phenomenology and what it brings to understanding our being-in-the-world, and 3) eastern thought, especially Buddhism in its many forms and what it tells us of the interdependence of everything in this world. I plan to use this year to weave these three threads into cloth through which we can see our world in a deeper way.

I will also be occasionally lecturing at the university on the intersection between psychological and social dimensions with environmental issues. The UCSC campus is a wonderful place nestled among a redwood forest. What better place to explore our relationship to Nature?

I hope you will join me in these explorations.

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