In Jungʼs last active imagination in The Red Book, Christ offers Jung “the beauty of suffering.” These paradoxical lines are not popular in todayʼs Western culture, nor are they very comforting to one who is deep in grief. More than likely after great loss, we lose our commonsense and faith in lifeʼs predictability. Sometimes all we believed in comes into question and we feel as if we have no standpoint. Mourning takes place in a period of liminality, a marginal phase when we cannot go back in time and we do not know what lies ahead. This time of life is mostly painful and chaotic. Yet countless ordinary people who have worked through grief testify that they wouldnʼt return to how they were, psychologically or spiritually, before their ordeal. In this presentation, we will explore the deep emotions and the wisdom of the heart that can come after great losses, including bodily injury, health, home, and community, separation, and death. We will observe how the work of grief may enhance the individuation process, and, using New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina as example, we will ponder how individuation may evolve in a city.
In this workshop participants will explore aids to the mourning process by awakening the imaginal realm with various exercises in active imagination. We will attempt to identify our personal myth and look for ways to connect our inner and outer worlds through symbols. In addition, we will see various practical ways we can use to open ourselves to healing and transformative experiences. Although there will be times for discussion and sharing our stories, silence will always by honored. Please wear comfortable clothing; bring journals and any personal art supplies you may have.
n his latest book Psyche and the Sacred: Spirituality beyond Religion, Lionel Corbett helps modern people discover the numinous presence of the divine within themselves as they live a busy life filled with secular activities. Dr. Corbett will talk about ways to find spiritually meaningful life without the need to embrace any particular theology. This approach also serves to deepen the spirituality of those who are committed to a religious tradition.
In the morning, Lionel Corbett will lead a workshop exploring how suffering and evil can be understood through a psychological lens using the stories of Job and Medea, and by considering them as contemporary individuals seeking relief from their own suffering or destructive impulses. Dr. Corbett will explore the relationship between Job’s character structure and his experience of the numinous. In the afternoon, Dr. Corbett will explore the admonition that Jung received from an inner figure (as recorded in his journal, the Red Book) to herald a new spirituality. He will also address the concept of the Self as a “Spiritus Rector” (spiritual guide).
The overall theme of the lecture and workshop this weekend will be the way in which the chaotic dynamics of the individuation process originate in the body. Chaos refers to those highly de-stabilizing disturbances in our lives that contribute to growth and stability. We’ll see how these disturbances resonate with the unconscious, operate throughout our lives, and express themselves symbolically. Recognizing and understanding their symbolic expressions allows us to move beyond those patterns that keep us stuck, freeing us to participate in the unconscious chaos at work in our lives.
Jung and Jungians have always been fascinated with that which exists beyond consciousness. What is the unconscious? How can we perceive and decipher its symbolism? How can ego and unconscious work together to further individuation?
We’re not the only ones interested in the unconscious, science is, too. Recent discoveries in genetics, microbiology and biochemistry have increased our understanding of the most basic dynamics of physical processes, especially those that influence how we perceive, process and respond to the world around us. Psycho-neuro-endocrinal-immunology, for example, studies how the nervous, endocrine and immune systems interact with psyche.
Jung referred to that part of the psyche where mind and body overlap as psychoid; In the psychoid realm of the psyche, mind and body influence and modify each other.
Tonight we’ll review how the smallest molecules have enormous effects on us. We’ll see how physical processes possess a consciousness greater than the ego’s. Finally, we’ll compare current research with that of the alchemists, particularly how the “organic alchemy” of today exactly parallels the inorganic alchemy of years past.
We’ll begin our day with a review of chaos theory, and then look at how the unconscious deals with life’s challenges, both before consciousness forms and afterwards, in those instances when consciousness can neither understand nor cope with the chaos of life.
How do unconscious adaptations to previous problems influence our perceptions and behaviors today? By bringing consciousness to bear on our patterns of perception and behavior, we’ll identify unconscious adaptations that were once brilliant solutions to intractable problems but have since become problems themselves as our life situations have changed.
While all interactions with the unconscious involve pathos, this will not be a group therapy session. Rather, it will be a time filled with all the humor, fascination, fun, befuddlement, amazement, and mutual discovery of dealing with the unconscious, which always has the best of intentions, but not always the most flexible of approaches. That’s why it needs an ego to modify it.
In this workshop, we’ll fill that need.
Technology brings many gifts, but the constant innovation and change have a psychological cost. We can become disoriented or distracted and lose sight of the inner compass. Finding our direction in these liquid times is a challenge—a challenge that’s only going to deepen . . .
Until recently, our gadgets have remained largely external and have not directly altered our basic nature. Today, however, we stand on the threshold of reengineering our essential being. For large numbers of people cyberspace has already begun to replace everyday life. Devices designed to further the adaptation of mind and body to the computer world are already in the works. Chip implants beneath our skin will soon be commonplace. Around these innovations lies a sea of developments in psychotropic medication, genetic engineering, plastic surgery and robotics, all aiming to transform the very fabric of our existence.
The impact these changes will make on the psyche is an unexplored question. Uncovering the shadow side of this ultimate makeover seems critical, but simply turning back may not be an option. How then are we to respond?
Jung was leery of technology. He once said, “civilized man . . . is in danger of losing all contact with the world of instinct,” adding that this loss “is largely responsible for the pathological condition of contemporary culture.” In this lecture Jung’s understanding of instinctual life and psychological wellbeing will be discussed in light of impending technologies. We’ll try to find our psychological feet in the face of this tinkering with Nature.
The history of psychopathology is curiously linked to industrialization and the mechanizing of life. In this workshop we’ll take a look back at the cultural-historical weave of technology and depth psychology, and then consider how Jungian perspectives have been working to compensate for the culture’s increasing speed and incessant innovation. Together, we’ll reflect on ways to preserve soul in the face of these changes and explore how technology might support rather than erode our psychic foundations. Cinematic images will be used to aid this exploration.
OFJ members and their guests are invited to our annual meeting. The keynote speaker for this event will be poet and essayist, KIM STAFFORD, PHD, speaking on “LIVING GOOD DREAMS.” FRIDAY, MAY 6, 7:00 TO 9:30 PM, AT THE FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, COLLINS HALL, 1838 SW JEFFERSON, PORTLAND. This is also an opportunity to meet the board, honor our volunteers, and find out about next fall’s speakers. Light refreshments will be served.