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Archive for April, 2013

Earth

It is all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The old story, the account of how we fit into it, is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned the new story.

 Thomas Berry

Without deep reflections, we have taken on the story of endings, assumed the story of extinction, and have believed that it is the certain outcome of our presence here…We need new stories… a new narrative that would imagine another way, to learn the infinite mystery and movement at work in the world.

 Linda Hogan

The old story of our separateness from the world has led us to a challenging point in history. Human civilization’s effect on our planet has reached a critical point. We have placed a heavy burden on mother Earth. Science tells us that we are now warming the world at an alarming rate. Whereas Nature took tens of millions of years to get out of a state of great warmth we are returning the planet to this past warmth within a single lifetime. Living our old story has placed us at a precipice. We must change our story, or allow the old story to carry us over the precipice.

How do we go about writing a new story, a story of sustainability, a story of living in balance with the world, a story that recognizes the sacredness of our world? I believe that depth psychology is well suited for writing our new story for this is a psychology that honors image, metaphor and narrative. This is a psychology that honors the interiority of our lived-world, a psychology that honors wholeness. What better means to creating the new story that will take us into the new world?

From a depth perspective, our new story should include at least the following:

• Facing the Shadows of Outer and Inner Worlds

We need to face the facts of our changing world and own our role in bringing the planet to the edge of great destruction. We need to own our shadowy thoughts and behavior towards Earth. Owning the shadow is always the first step to creating a new story.

• Remembering & Recollecting

Clearly we need to extend ourselves out to the natural world, but I believe we also need to go deep within ourselves to reconnect to the world. We need to re-member and re-collect our inner connection to psyche. Specifically we need to address the missing elements in our old story, which include,

Animal, Body & Feminine

The old story of Western civilization is a story of moving further away from our inner animal, our bodies and our deep connection to the feminine. The new story must include a reconnection to our animal within, it must include a re-collection of our bodily contact with Earth, and it must include the lost feminine.

Relationships

The old story is one in which our connections to one another have radically altered over the past few decades. We have moved from a society of close felt interactions to ones based on connection through the Internet. We ‘see’ others on a screen and not face to face, body-to-body. Yet, our empathic needs are ingrained in us. There is a basic need to connect with one another to relate through touch and presence. The new story must honor this need for felt relationship between each other and with all of Earth.

Wholeness

To address our deepest and most challenging issues will require us to come from a place of wholeness. This still, whole place within provides us with the wisdom required to design a sustainable world. We would like to think our way to this place of living in balance with nature, but we need more than facts, we need guidance from a wiser and more sacred source. Let the new story open us to a renewed sense of wholeness that fulfills us.

Interdependence

It is time to leave the old story of separation and disconnection. The new story must be one that recognizes we are not separate beings moving through an inanimate world. We need to recognize that we are all connected and that harm to one is harm to all.

• Embodying & Living the New Story

It is not enough to just write a new story. We must live this new story. Or better yet, we must allow this new story to live through us. Moment by moment, the new story needs to manifest in each of us. We must embody the new story and step lightly into the new world a world in which we are in true balance with the planet.

Happy Earth Day

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Fox

“If every individual had a better relation to the animal within him, he would also set a higher value on life. Life would be the absolute, the supreme moral principle, and he would react instinctively against any institution or organization that had the power to destroy life on a large scale.”

C.G. Jung (CW 10, par. 32)

Humans have created many astounding accomplishments in the world. Listening to a great musical composition, gazing upon a work of art or standing amidst an architectural structure reminds us of what we can accomplish. We also witness many acts of kindness and compassion taking place daily in the world. Our capacity for creative compassionate acts seems boundless.

Yet, we also are aware of how destructive we can be. Witness the many wars, mistreatment of the poor and abuses of non-human beings in the world. Our sense of cruelty and destructiveness also seem to be boundless. Every moment of our lives we hold the potential to create or destroy. Every thought we entertain holds this potential of opposites and in those moments of destructive thought or action we lose our sense of what is most valuable.

Jung’s words remind us that we can choose to recognize the innate supreme moral principal of the value of Life. If we can reconnect with this moral principal then all of our actions will be instinctively rooted in compassion. Interestingly, Jung tells us a path back to valuing Life is to have a better relation with the animal within us. One way to recognize our inner animal is by connecting with animals in the outer world. If we extend compassion to these animals, then we will reconnect to our inner animal, which grounds us in the supreme moral principal of valuing Life. This one simple act of opening our selves to an animal out there can be the road to preventing the destruction of ‘life on a larger scale.’

Ultimately we are called to envision a world of interconnectedness extending beyond just us. I leave you with the words of the German philosopher Max Scheler written close to a century ago:

“We must learn anew to envisage the great, invisible solidarity of all living beings in universal life, of all minds in the eternal spirit – and at the same time the mutual solidarity of the world process and the destiny of its supreme principle, and we must not just accept this world unity as a mere doctrine, but practice and promote it in our inner and outer lives.”

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