Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

The Positive Side of Depression April 22, 2014

In her brilliant book, “Psychic Energy,” Jungian analyst M. Esther Harding writes: “When life presents us with a new problem, a new chapter of experience for which the old adaptation is inadequate, it is usual to experience a withdrawal of the libido. For one phase of life has come to an end, and that which is needed for the new is not immediately at hand. This withdrawal will be experienced in consciousness as a feeling of emptiness, often of depression, and certainly of inertia, with an overtone of self-rebuke because of what seems like laziness or sloth.”

Have you ever been there? I have. Many times. And each time it happens it takes a while before I remember that this is simply another step in the journey. The road may be leading downhill for now, but it’s still there, and as long as I can place one foot in front of the other the story isn’t over yet. But what are we to do while we’re in the abyss of emptiness? The depths of depression? The islands of inertia? The swamps of self-rebuke?

First of all, we need to remember that when our libido, or psychological energy, withdraws, it is not gone forever. The laws of physics tell us that energy can be transformed but not destroyed. When we feel a loss of energy it simply means that the energy which was formerly available to our ego has sunk into the unconscious. Once it gets there, forces over which our egos have no control will have to be mobilized before the energy can return to consciousness. The ego usually feels to blame, but it is not, because it has no control over unconscious forces.

Second, in the words of Harding, “When the light of life dims and one is left in the darkness of depression, it is much more effective to turn for the moment from the objective task and to concentrate attention on what is going forward within, instead of forcing oneself to continue by a compulsive effort of the will.” Once the libido is no longer available to our ego, will power can only be used effectively to “follow the lost energy into the hidden places of the psyche by means of creative introversion.”

Creative introversion means working with our fantasies and dreams in creative ways that feel meaningful. These products of our unconscious speak to the hidden forces which have sucked our libido down into the dark belly of the whale, and their images can give us clues not only to the nature of the difficulty, but also to the solution.

For example, many years ago toward the end of an extended period of libido loss I kept imagining myself as a baby chick still inside an egg, pecking at the shell. I knew I felt trapped, but I didn’t know what was trapping me or how to get out. Exploring this and other waking and dreaming images through art, journaling and dreamwork highlighted features of my persona that had initially protected the new life in me but were beginning to smother it. As I kept pecking away, cracks appeared in my shell until it finally collapsed and I stepped out of my self-imposed prison. The extraordinary infusion of new life I’ve experienced since then has taught me to see libido loss and depression not as obstacles or enemies, but as helpful guides along the way.

My thanks to Dr. Judith Rich for the inspiration for this post. Check out her article on the Huffington Post to see her wonderful take on a related topic.

Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Diesel Ebooks 

 

Is Arianna Huffington the New Steve Jobs of Journalism? April 17, 2012

I’ve been following the online newspaper, Huffington Post, for almost two years now and have been very impressed with the breadth and depth of its offerings. Most of all I love the positive motivations I sense coming from its writers. I have yet to run across a single mean-spirited columnist who seems more interested in creating sensation and pointing fingers than providing helpful information or offering thoughtful solutions. This is my kind of journalism, my kind of communication.

Arianna Huffington’s most recent post (April 16, 2012) is an outstanding example of what I mean.  I’d like to quote the first paragraph here.

“Just over two years ago, on March 16, 2010, to be precise, I spoke at a conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Internet designation “.com.” The panel I was on was asked to “gaze into the crystal ball” and predict what the game-changing inventions would be during the next 25 years of the Internet. One of mine was less of a prediction than a hope — that one day someone would create an app that would gauge the state of your mind, body, and spirit, then automatically offer the exact steps you would need to take to realign all three aspects of your being.”

What a stunning idea! And guess what?  She’s making it happen! She’s come up with an app called “GPS for the Soul” that’s projected to launch in June. As I was reading her article it occurred to me that she could be the new Steve Jobs of journalism:  a person whose commitment to improving her product, combined with her tireless energy in manifesting it in the most creative and helpful ways possible, and to the widest audience possible, may one day become the standard against which all other forms of journalism will be measured.

And the best news of all? She’s doing it to help us all reconnect to our physical surroundings, our loved ones, and ourselves.  In other words, her goal is to heal the disconnects in psyche and spirit that are of epidemic proportions in today’s world. As you know if you’ve been following my blog for long, this is my goal too. And it is the topic of my new book, “Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace With Ourselves, Each Other, and the World.”

I’m thrilled that Arianna Huffington is addressing the challenge to heal our divides. I’m grateful that she’s come up with a novel, practical way that will have more appeal to, and a potentially healthier impact on, the average person than any one book or blog could ever do. And I’m feeling very relieved to know I’ve not been overly naive in believing that enough of us have acquired enough consciousness to effect a life-changing shift from a very long age of darkness into a new world filled with increasing enlightenment and light.

Thank you, Ms Huffington.  May your contribution help us all grow in awareness so that someday we can become the people we’ve always wanted to be.

 

The Positive Side of Depression July 1, 2011

In her brilliant book, “Psychic Energy,” Jungian analyst M. Esther Harding writes: “When life presents us with a new problem, a new chapter of experience for which the old adaptation is inadequate, it is usual to experience a withdrawal of the libido. For one phase of life has come to an end, and that which is needed for the new is not immediately at hand. This withdrawal will be experienced in consciousness as a feeling of emptiness, often of depression, and certainly of inertia, with an overtone of self-rebuke because of what seems like laziness or sloth.”

Have you ever been there? I have. Many times. And each time it happens it takes a while before I remember that this is simply another step in the journey. The road may be leading downhill for now, but it’s still there, and as long as I can place one foot in front of the other the story isn’t over yet. But what are we to do while we’re in the abyss of emptiness? The depths of depression? The islands of inertia? The swamps of self-rebuke?

First of all, we need to remember that when our libido, or psychological energy, withdraws, it is not gone forever. The laws of physics tell us that energy can be transformed but not destroyed. When we feel a loss of energy it simply means that the energy which was formerly available to our ego has sunk into the unconscious. Once it gets there, forces over which our egos have no control will have to be mobilized before the energy can return to consciousness. The ego usually feels to blame, but it is not, because it has no control over unconscious forces.

Second, in the words of Harding, “When the light of life dims and one is left in the darkness of depression, it is much more effective to turn for the moment from the objective task and to concentrate attention on what is going forward within, instead of forcing oneself to continue by a compulsive effort of the will.” Once the libido is no longer available to our ego, will power can only be used effectively to “follow the lost energy into the hidden places of the psyche by means of creative introversion.”

Creative introversion means working with our fantasies and dreams in creative ways that feel meaningful. These products of our unconscious speak to the hidden forces which have sucked our libido down into the dark belly of the whale, and their images can give us clues not only to the nature of the difficulty, but also to the solution.

For example, many years ago toward the end of an extended period of libido loss I kept imagining myself as a baby chick still inside an egg, pecking at the shell. I knew I felt trapped, but I didn’t know what was trapping me or how to get out. Exploring this and other waking and dreaming images through art and journaling highlighted features of my persona that had initially protected the new life in me but were beginning to smother it. As I kept pecking away, cracks appeared in my shell until it finally collapsed and I stepped out of my self-imposed prison. The extraordinary infusion of new life I’ve experienced since then has taught me to see libido loss and depression not as obstacles or enemies, but as helpful guides along the way.

My thanks to Dr. Judith Rich for the inspiration for this post. Check out her latest article on the Huffington Post to see her wonderful take on a related topic. Welcome back, Judith.

 

 
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