Nothing can exist without its opposite; the two were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end. Consciousness can only exist through continual recognition of the unconscious, just as everything that lives must pass through many deaths. ~Carl Jung CW Vol. 9i par. 178
There’s a battle going on in my head. I hate fights. I hate conflict of any kind. But I’ve been witnessing this battle every day for six weeks and I’ve decided to give you a ringside seat. First I need to set the scene so you’ll know where I am and what the fight’s about it and who the antagonists are.
The setting is the political arena as seen from the perspective of my philosophical, introverted, sensitive, non-political mind. The issue is Affordable Health Care. The antagonists are various aspects of my Ego, Shadow, and Higher Self. Sometimes I know who’s speaking, sometimes I don’t.
For six weeks now, ever since I had an emotionally-charged conversation with a friend after I attended a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, some of my inner characters have been having a dicey dialogue. I wake up to their arguments. They make points throughout the day. Their themes populate my dreams and interrupt my sleep.
So why am I inviting you to view this inner drama? Here are a few of the reasons I recognize at the moment:
To clarify my thoughts.
To ease my conscience.
To heal my conflicts.
To get some sleep.
To show you the kinds of challenges people face when they’re committed to self-knowledge, thinking psychologically, and living spiritually. After all, that’s the theme of this blog.
Because I want to make a difference in individual and collective thinking and living.
I realize the last reason may sound a bit grandiose, but wouldn’t everyone like to think that maybe their lives made a positive difference, if only a very tiny one? In fact, isn’t there an inner archetypal force, a mysterious ‘transcendent function’ that pushes all of us, no matter how craven, to better ourselves, to rise above our ignorance and selfishness?
What but a personal experience of this function could motivate me to write a book called Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World? What but a taste of the joy that comes from heeding its call would cause any of us to do our best at our work and build loving, intimate relationships? Would we be fully human if we cared about nothing but ourselves? I believe we wouldn’t. Yet sometimes I still fight my mysterious task master.
“But I’m a philosopher, not an activist.”
“How’s that working for you? And how’s the view from your Ivory Tower?” (Pretty sure this latter comment came from my Spiritual Bully, not the Self.)
“But I abhor politics. What possible good is there in self-serving rants and self-righteous blame games motivated by power and greed?”
“Don’t be so cynical. You know that’s human nature. We all react instinctively to fear, and the less awareness we have, the more we project our shadows onto others to take the heat off ourselves.”
“I know. But the fear and projection seem to be getting worse. And so few people seem to see it or care, and my psychologizing can’t change that. People have to want to change.”
“So if you really care, what can you do?”
“The only thing I know how to do is write, but I know absolutely zero about this issue and the factors involved.”
“You could find out. Do some research. Ask around.”
“I’m not interested in that kind of research. I want to understand how our minds work and why we behave the way we do. I don’t want to read thousands of pages of boring details, know who lobbies whom to get bills vetoed or passed, or learn the depressing facts about the twisted, depressing lies politicians tell to push their personal agendas through. None of it makes any lasting difference in the end. Meanwhile, it hurts to be constantly reminded that some people who are supposedly devoted to serving our country care more about getting re-elected than easing people’s pain and suffering. That they would rather distort the truth and blame the other party than be true to their consciences. That they may not even have consciences.”
“Hmmm. I’m hearing some powerful anger and resistance here. What are you really afraid of.”
“Venturing into this new arena is difficult for me. My position is unusual and I don’t want to be misunderstood or scorned. What if I can’t present my case with clarity and objectivity? What if people hate me or think I’m arrogant or frivolous? It’s hard enough to see and deal with my own crap. Do I have to heap more coals on my head?”
“I see. Pooor baby. You think you shouldn’t have to suffer any more. After all, look how hard you’ve worked to become a more conscious, ‘spiritual’ person! (That had to be my Spiritual Bully again.) So if that’s how you feel, why keep agonizing about whether to write about this? Why not let people with thicker skins and extroverted personalities enter this particular fray?”
“Aaarrgh! Because nobody else seems to care what’s happening to him and it’s not fair! I can’t stand to see him suffering over this injustice. And I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t try to help.”
“Well alright. Let’s get on with it then, shall we?”
So that’s it. Next time, the full story from my friend.
Jean Raffa’s “The Bridge to Wholeness” and “Dream Theatres of the Soul” are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. “Healing the Sacred Divide” can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.
Image credits: Google Images. Gustav Dore’. Jacob Wrestles with the Angel. Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night.