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Episode 117 - The Transcendent Function: Getting Unstuck

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 06/25/2020

Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away? show art Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away?

This Jungian Life

The hair on the back of our necks bristles in response to the horrors of the uncanny. Transfixed by shock, awe, dread and fascination, we can neither dare the dangerous darkness nor turn away. The mysteries of the unknown take us into realms of transgression and taboo.

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Episode 134 - When Despair Prevails: Facing Suicidal Darkness show art Episode 134 - When Despair Prevails: Facing Suicidal Darkness

This Jungian Life

There are few more painful thoughts or frightening events than suicide, a phenomenon unique to the human species. Depression, rage, and powerlessness can overwhelm ego functions, leading someone to believe that escaping life is the only option. Affects of archetypal proportions can act like tsunamis in the psyche. What can help?

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Episode 133 - Adaptation: Meeting Life’s Demands show art Episode 133 - Adaptation: Meeting Life’s Demands

This Jungian Life

The world is the canvas on which we paint our lives. Through this lifelong work, we express personal vision, develop skills, and come to terms with the realities of our outer and inner worlds. The first major stage of adaptation, the transition from child to adult, requires readiness to separate from protective life structures in pursuit of outer world goals.

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Episode 132 - Neurosis: Befriending Our Broken Places show art Episode 132 - Neurosis: Befriending Our Broken Places

This Jungian Life

Although neurosis is no longer a clinical diagnosis, it is often used to describe anxious attitudes and behaviors that are maladaptive to life situations. Neurosis often entails a capacity to function well despite feeling bad; emotional suffering leeches ease and pleasure from life. A neurotic symptom—a phobia, compulsion, or addictive tendency—is no different from a dream.

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Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change show art Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change

This Jungian Life

We celebrate curiosity’s role in discovery, and regret its potential for damage. Mature curiosity demands that we embrace the confusion, doubt and anxiety inherent in engaging new ideas and complex problems. Social curiosity requires discernment: are we genuinely and empathically interested in others, or simply indulging voyeurism via social media?

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Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals show art Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals

This Jungian Life

Jung states “the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neurosis but rather with the approach to the numinous…the real therapy. In as much as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology.” Jung defines numinous as “a dynamic agency or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will” that conveys a mysterious yet deeply meaningful message.

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Episode 129 - At Home in Our Bodies: Incarnation & Individuation show art Episode 129 - At Home in Our Bodies: Incarnation & Individuation

This Jungian Life

Jung teaches that soul and spirit have a home in a living body, the font of psyche’s images and means of their incarnation in the world. Embodiment is the ground of being, and engaging the tension between instinct and archetype shapes consciousness and character. Jung identified five instincts: creativity, movement, sexuality/eros, hunger in its many manifestations, and the ability to reflect and make meaning.

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Episode 128: Intuition: Non-Rational Knowing show art Episode 128: Intuition: Non-Rational Knowing

This Jungian Life

We all have intuitive experiences, from an occasional hunch to powerful gut feelings. Unconscious intelligence is a storehouse of instincts and wisdoms humankind has accumulated over millennia. We would be lost without intuition and give importance to warnings and inspirations that saved or made the day.

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Episode 127 - Seeking Certainty: The Seduction of Conspiracy Theories show art Episode 127 - Seeking Certainty: The Seduction of Conspiracy Theories

This Jungian Life

In times of uncertainty truth is hard to discern, collective cohesion frays, and social factions become embattled. Unmediated shadow then seeks expression through the archetypal realm and takes on extra-ordinary attributes. Persecutory mythologies arise, for big psychic situations need big stories to compensate for big feelings of anxiety, powerlessness, and marginalization.

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Episode 126 - The Money Complex: Incarnating Our Dreams show art Episode 126 - The Money Complex: Incarnating Our Dreams

This Jungian Life

Money reflects our shadows and strengths as much as our bank accounts. Like Hermes, money traverses the realms from Hades to Heaven--money can be a matter of survival, and money can turn dreams into realities. Because money represents value we can acquire, exchange, and store, it can become conflated with our value as persons.

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The transcendent function comes in all sizes, from “aha” moments to epiphanies. A new orientation to a dilemma arrives unthought, recognized, and right. Perhaps there is a moment where loneliness gives way to solitude, or heartbreak yields to a larger sense of self. Apprehension of a new attitude--sunlight breaking through clouds--has overcome the impasse, bringing freshness, spaciousness and possibility.

Engaging the tension of an emotional struggle without giving in to premature, one-sided action can prepare the way for the unconscious to unite with consciousness. The transcendent function can also be sought through practicing active imagination or involvement in expressive arts, a practice Jung encouraged. He said that the transcendent function “is a way of attaining liberation by one’s own efforts and of finding the courage to be oneself.” 

 

Dream

I'm on black rocks, like volcanic lava black, and walking from the sea behind me towards the land. I'm with my husband. There's a gap in the rocks--he goes to the left and I walk to the right. There is a channel of water between us. The channel gradually widens and I realize it will be difficult for us to cross it but we keep walking and then the rocks start to climb uphill but in such a way that we will not be able to cross over to each other. I say to my husband that we should cross now. I suggest that it will be easier for me to cross and I have found what looks like the narrowest part of the channel but then look to my right, and he has taken a giant step over at a wider spot and has reached my side but can't hold on--his feet have reached the rocks and his hands are trying to hold on so he can climb up, but the rocks he catches in his hands are loose and start to come undone so he is going to fall backwards. But he somehow manages to hold on. But I am looking at him and then I see myself in the water beside him--I see my body fully clothed wearing black warm wintery clothes and I'm slowly sinking from the surface. My husband says to me (the me that is on the rocks standing looking at my husband and myself sinking), “I'll just get you first” and he dives under the water and grabs me and tries to pass me up to myself. I realize I'm quite heavy and it's awkward to heave my body up. Then I am no longer separated in two anymore and we go into a house and he goes for a shower and I realize I am wet and that I need to go for a shower.