Keeping the Change

Black Rock 10-2012 381While it’s accurate for me to say that I write for sanity and to clarify for myself ideas and experiences while engaging others who may have similar desires and needs, I can’t pretend to understand fully why particular ideas and perspectives fascinate me and repeatedly hold claim to my time and energy. I only know that repetition, even if imaged as a spiraling rather than a simple circling, seems inescapable. The form of life may be linear, while the content thankfully is not. I do occasionally tire from my own repetitions although I admit to not knowing of a cure from them.

As the sun seems to be crawling reluctantly across the sky in December darkness, everything, including my thoughts, seem to be dipping into the shadows. I can’t tell what is helpful and sometimes feel that there is always some part of me that I am forever looking for.

My dreams concur, repeatedly setting me in motion. Recent themes find me traveling, encountering people, places, houses, rooms, buildings, animals, occasionally with pauses for conversation, abrupt weather, fearful chases or erotic beauty.

Dayworld too brings with it the sense of movement; there’s nothing or no one to pin down, as Bob Dylan says, “People don’t live or die, people just float.” Perhaps more than any other time, change has become the status quo; we believe in it and expect it – even when it doesn’t bring us quite what we expected, we simply look to more change to rectify the unexpected. But in living with the constancy of change I wonder if we’re not inviting more and more the desire to become the unchanged? Are the changes outside of our control that come through technology, makeovers, relocation, vacation inviting an unchanging self?

Winter iceEarly in my life it seemed life’s floating was seamless, unquestioned, spontaneous. Perhaps that is how childhood with its abiding sense of innocence need be. The transition to adulthood brought with it a self-consciousness as the sense of separation between self and other, inside/outside seemed more and more apparent. That led to the unrelenting question of, “who am I and who are you, if we are not the same?”

There are many ways to answer and account for our differences, but I have always secretly felt that there is, even though dimly intuited, a common meeting place where our creativity springs forth from. A common wealth that when tapped into expands the ideas we have of ourselves and the world to include ideas found by others that we are looking for – not only from the famous or the experts, but in the everyday encounters we have with each other.

Perhaps we live with a diminished sense of self when fear, apathy, belief and knowledge shelter us from being touched by each other and keep us from realizing the potential we have when touched by others and being touched by them. By touch I mean a touch of the heart, a sharing of thought, feeling and vulnerability with another as if they had something you needed.

Jung says in the Red Book:

“You are hard, my soul, but you are right. How little we still commit ourselves to living. We should grow like a tree that likewise does not know its law. We tie ourselves up with intentions, not mindful of the fact that intention is the limitation, yes, the exclusion of life. We believe that we can illuminate the darkness with an intention, and in that way aim past the light. How can we presume to want to know in advance, from where the light will come to us?”

Jung, Carl (2013-08-30). The Red Book (Text Only Edition: No images or Scholarly Footnotes!) (Kindle Locations 376-379). . Kindle Edition.

The perspectives offered by myth, in which the invisibles are personified through stories of their adventures and relationships can be ways to practice hearing others. The heroes, villains, tricksters, creators and destroyers of mythology found in any culture articulate the multi-faceted nature of not just human nature but the primary experiences of the world. Of myth, Liz Greene says:

“The language of myth is still, as ever, the secret speech of the inarticulate human soul; and if one has learned to listen to this speech with the heart , then it is not surprising that Aeschylos and Plato and Heraclitus are eternal voices and not merely relics of a bygone and primitive era.”

Greene, Liz (1985-01-15). The Astrology of Fate (Kindle Locations 374-376). Red Wheel Weiser. Kindle Edition.

It could also be that for us moderns what removes from us the possibility of seeing mythologically the themes in our lives is a theme of believing in a unity of our personal identity. This is the dark side of unity that mistakes undifferentiated oneness for unity rather than unity as that which unites the many parts through the differentiation of their natures. Perhaps wholeness is the desire for differentiated unity, but can never quite be experienced in oneself without the sense that others are crossing the bridge with you.

“But our ruler is the spirit of this time, which rules and leads in us all. It is the general spirit in which we think and act today. He is of frightful power, since he has brought immeasurable good to this world and fascinated men with unbelievable pleasure. He is bejeweled with the most beautiful heroic virtue, and wants to drive men up to the brightest solar heights, in everlasting ascent.

No one should be astonished that men are so far removed from one another that they cannot understand one another, that they wage war and kill one another. One should be much more surprised that men believe they are close, understand one another and love one another. Two things are yet to be discovered. The first is the infinite gulf that separates us from one another. The second is the bridge that could connect us.”

Jung, Carl (2013-08-30). The Red Book (Text Only Edition: No images or Scholarly Footnotes!) (Kindle Locations 2597-2600). . Kindle Edition.

31 thoughts on “Keeping the Change

  1. Your post was like a five course meal, or a drive through a national park- so many scenic overlooks to stop at and ponder. I love the distinction you make between undifferentiated and differentiated unity: “This is the dark side of unity that mistakes undifferentiated oneness for unity rather than unity as that which unites the many parts through the differentiation of their natures. Perhaps wholeness is the desire for differentiated unity, but can never quite be experienced in oneself without the sense that others are crossing the bridge with you.”

    Acknowledging, from our “common meeting place”, the joy of discovering in your words the sensation we are crossing the bridge together.

    Michael

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    • Thank you Michael! I am very touched by your comment and love to meet you on that bridge, always hoping that more of us can meet there.
      Perhaps for many writers, it is so easy to take for granted the ideas that we live with daily and to under value the impetus for sharing them with others.
      Your words remind me that writing and sharing is worth every effort I can make.
      Peace!
      Debra

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  2. Deeply personal and commonly relevant is a precious and unique combination to find in a share. You give such wonderful clarity and amazing balance with your reflections here. Happy to have hit here online again in time to join the feast of such a post.

    -x.M

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  3. What an amazing visit here, this morning. How beautiful it is to journey with you through such unattached intelligence and connecting threads, pointing toward mystery! The paradox I keep exploring relates closely here, though in less articulate expressions in me, between intention and release. (enjoyed the bit of snow, too, from a region that rarely sees such:)

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    • Thanks Chris! That really means a lot to me. Most writers probably know the feeling of wanting to be clear and yet wondering how the words come across.
      Big smiles 🙂

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  4. As long as your writing is soulful, as it always is, I do not mind if the themes repeat. I can read about alchemy ad nauseam. I can read your thoughts on Hillman every day. I like this post – it is authentic and a bit like stream of consciousness. Let our souls guide us.

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  5. You say:

    Early in my life it seemed life’s floating was seamless, unquestioned, spontaneous.”

    “But in living with the constancy of change I wonder if we’re not inviting more and more the desire to become the unchanged?”

    We were It all, but we were fooled to believe that we were not in possession of it, and so we “bought” the disease society force-feeds us with.

    Isn´t it so…? We have internalized this huge illusion that everything is “outside”, and the result is the constancy of placing ourselves outside ourselves.

    We obsessively create and define ourselves as division. The more you desire anything, the more you struggle, the bigger the gulf.

    We try hardly to surmount this gulf outwardly, but actually, we hopelessly try to find bridges between different loose aspects of our scattered inner world.

    We are inwardly disunified. We irretrievably reinforce ourselves as cleavage.

    I hear my Inner Voice telling me unbelievable things. Like these days when it said:

    “You are in no need of knowledge, There is nothing to understand. There is nothing to act upon.This is all an unfathomable riddle, and you are this riddle. LIVE IT and the ´action`does itself”

    So you see…At first I do wonder what on earth it says.

    But then I bump into this Jung´s quote in your post:

    “We should grow like a tree that likewise does not know its law. We tie ourselves up with intentions, not mindful of the fact that intention is the limitation, yes, the exclusion of life.”

    Yes, The Voice knows.

    So let´s forget “intention” and embrace the Riddle – living ourselves beyond division

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    • Thanks for your insights Julien!
      I love the image of the tree and the importance of our instinctive qualities of knowing, what Jung referred to as the psychoid end of a spectrum whose other end was the archetypes.
      We do live very much in and through mystery, and attending to our experience may be a facet of that mystery.
      I agree there is no division, but there is articulation yes?

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      • The articulation has to be at the same time non articulation.
        A precisely imprecise thinking in non thinking…

        We spoke about earlier on about the necessity of a new overarching paradoxical language

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  6. Any more i think that I have to follow my heart. So many contemporary artists that I love, when listening to them speak, they don’t use that phrase ‘following my heart’ but it is obvious to me that they are. I believe you too are following your heart. Somehow in this modern myth-less world we live in, perhaps that impulse to follow what makes you feel alive is the key to being truly alive rather than a walking zombie.

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    • Yes, and it’s that connection that I find with others, including you and other bloggers, that tells me it’s the path that must be followed.
      Yeah, being famous of course does not exclude one from following their heart, but many lose their way, and perhaps even then, we may still gain something from their tragic lives.
      Thanks for sharing your insights!

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    • Thanks Linda! The WordPress snow might be the only snow I’ll have, lol!
      It would be hard to write anything of substance on the Red Book, but I hope to include some quotes from time to time!

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