I've been leading a study group of ten people as we explore Jung's Red Book. Unlike my Osher Lifelong Learning classes which are almost entirely lecture (well, lecture-performance really. Yesterday, for example, I performed several keyboard pieces by Handel and Bach) and I know pretty much what I am going to say (though I never use notes or a script), these classes are deeply interactive and what emerges is very surprising. Jung writes in the Red Book about distinguishing between two inner forces. The Spirit of the Times is the repository of what my father used to call the "ought-gotta-shoulds". It is concerned with fitting in, being right, achievement and status. In contrast, the Spirit of the Depths is something quite different: it values slowness, the small things, the currents no one can see. It is the eternal part of your soul. It could care less whether you "fit in". It wants you to be real, authentic, and true to yourself.
Today, our circle shared the fruits of their homework from last week: I had asked them to find or create an image which captured the "Voice of the Depths" for them. The results were so moving and beautiful- and sometimes astounded the person who shared them. " But, I am not an artist", one woman protested in disbelief, marveling at the gorgeous mandala layered with meaning that had come through her.
This is the face that I associate with the voice of my depths. When I looked at her in La Madeleine, a song came through me that, well, really surprised me. As soon as I can figure out how to upload the video, I'll post it.
This is the face that calls me to my truth, my essence- and also bathes me in a feeling of calm and compassion, telling me that no matter what things might look like on the surface, "All shall be well".
I encourage you to consider the question for yourself: what is the image that accompanies YOUR voice of YOUR depths? And if you place it before you and ask it to speak, what emerges? What words of wisdom do you find?
From Jung's Red Book...
"I give you news of the way of this man, but not of your own way. My path is not your path...the way is within us. ..Woebetide those who live by way of examples! Life is not within them. If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself? So live yourselves.
The signposts have fallen, unblazed trails lie before us. Do not be greedy to gobble up the fruits of foreign fields. Do you not know that you are the fertile acre which bears everything that avails you? Yet who today knows this? Who knows the way to the eternally fruitful climes of the soul? You seek the way through mere appearances, you study books and give ear to all kinds of opinions. What good is all that? There is only one way, and that is your way.
You seek the path? I warn you away from my own. It can also be the wrong way for you. May each go his own way."
-CG Jung, The Red Book, '"The Way of What is To Come"