Tonight we celebrate the coming of the holiday season. The Winter Solstice, the longest night and the shortest day of the year, is a symbol of the coming of light when the powers of darkness are at their strongest. Darkness eventually gives way to light, just as dark nights of the soul soften our egos and lift our faces to the Self. Moreover, if we ponder them from the perspective of Sufi, esoteric Christian, and related paths, darkness and light also refer to states of consciousness that are healing if we access them. Darkness is the holding, containing Mother-Father consciousness, sometimes called the Absolute, which gives birth to Light, symbol of the Holy Child and the essential Self of every human being. Tonight, Dr. Wittine will describe these states of consciousness by drawing on Jungian theory, esoteric teachings, and experiences of people doing inner work. He will also discuss techniques of meditation to help us enter these states. The Crises and Conflicts of Spiritual Awakening.
Jung wrote, "The experience of the Self is always a defeat for the ego." Since spiritual awakening offers a direct challenge to the primacy of ego consciousness and the myth of separation, it is no surprise that such a challenge can produce a period of confusion and unbalance. Jung himself endured such a crisis. His ego was overwhelmed by an infusion of spiritual energies, which at first he was unable to integrate. We find warnings about perils on the path in most spiritual traditions. Becoming attached to various powers or siddhis, preoccupation with inner visions, splitting between "higher" and "lower" parts of the personality, ego-inflation and deflation are examples of how spiritual awakening can go awry. We will contemplate Jung’s own crisis of spiritual emergence and discuss how to recognize and work with psychospiritual conflicts in ourselves. Psychotherapists will find this workshop pertinent to their daily work.
BRYAN WITTINE, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he completed his training at the San Francisco C.G. Jung Institute. He lectures internationally, has published several professional papers, and is particularly interested in what the great mystics teach us about the nature of the psyche and the individuation process.