Sunday, September 15, 2002

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability
And that it may take a very long time.
[PierreTeilhard de Chardin]

Jung believed that the individual has to adapt to some degree to external realities, but he also believed that adaptation to the realities of one's own inner life is just as essential. About his therapeutic goals, he says: "My aim is to bring about a psychic state in which my patient begins to experiment with his own nature--a state of fluidity, change, and growth where nothing is eternally fixed and hopelessly petrified." [COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 7, P. 46]

Paraphrasing Ignatius Loyola, Jung describes the role and function of consciousness: "Man's (sic) consciousness was created to the end that it may (1) recognize (laudet its descent from a higher unity (Deum); (2) pay due and careful regard to this source (reverentiam exhibeat); (3) execute its commands intelligently and responsibly (serviat); and (4) thereby afford the psyche as a whole the optimum degree of life and development (salvet animan suam). [COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 9ii, p. 165]


Unconscious contents, especially those that belong to the personal unconscious, make themselves felt through symptoms, actions, affects, opinions, fantasies, and dreams. The general relationship that exists between ego consciousness and the unconscious is compensatory. When the relationship works, i.e., when there is a balance and harmony between them, there is self-regulation of the psyche. When the relationship goes awry, when there is too great a deviation between the ego attitude and an unconscious process, then an imbalance sets in.

An example of this compensatory mechanism occurs when, for example, we hold a low opinion of someone--too low and not reality based. We might have a dream of that person in an exalted position. Or perhaps we work too hard, are too ego-driven, overly-ambitious and too goal-oriented. The unconscious may compensate such an ego state by withdrawing psychic libido. Depression or lethargy sets in. We might dream our car is stalled, or we are trying to run and our legs won't move, we can't get to the airport on time, etc. The unconscious has withdrawn its cooperation.

A solid working alliance with the unconscious is of great importance to the well-being and functioning of an individual. Complexes interfere with our everydfay functioning, a clear sign that unconscious material is pressing for admission to ego consciousness. When unconscious material is placing pressure on our ego consciousness, we may have dreams of unwelcome intruders or upsetting and troublesome visitors.