Dr. Carl Jung--Alchemy

“Unbroken Wholeness in Constant Flowing Motion” 

This is how Physicist Robert Bohm

answered when asked to describe reality.


“Karma” is my standard collie.  His messages to me are quite simple, and they fall on the dualistic continuum between physical and spiritual needs, though for “Karma” they always begin with the physical.  Perhaps that’s how all living beings began to get what they needed.  They started on the physical end of the spectrum, and gradually, as they evolved, found their way toward a spiritual communion.


Usually, when I am sitting in front of the television, “Karma” comes and punches me in the knee, letting me know he wants one of two things—food or out.  It’s pretty easy to guess which it is because Karma’s first priority is always food.  He deals with me like a human Pez™ machine; punch Dad’s knee and a morsel of something he likes will appear.   Once he has the treat, though, his psyche moves along the continuum from pure want to satisfy his hunger to the spiritual end.   


He is very precise about the ritual of his dinner, which somehow evokes the spiritual side of the process.  He wants his dinner in the middle of the living room, so that he can circle it, but he doesn’t begin the circling until my wife and I (his herd) are settled in our chairs.  Then he circles and plops down with his front paws encircling the bowl.  He eats with his eyes closed, like he is being transported into another dimension.  It is clearly a communion for him.


The Chinese concept of Yin-Yang symbolizes this process, because no matter how many white swooshes that exist in the universe, there are always complimentary black swooshes with white swooshes inside them.  The circle symbolizes the alchemical vas (cauldron), where ingredients are mixed until there is a balance of the various infinite number of pairs of opposites.


The opposites are essential to all life, because between them exists the energy that powers our lives, for better or for worse.  But it is not only one continuum, but an infinite number.  


Dr. Carl Jung showed us the way when he spoke of introvert-extrovert, sensing-intuitive, and thinking-feeling, and he did think that Yin-Yang symbolized the mixture of these opposites.  But he also knew that pairs of opposites exist in infinite quantity, size, and levels of the psyche.  It is for this reason that he took up the study of medieval alchemy, which sought the metaphorical “gold” and goal of human life—what Buddhists call “Enlightenment”; what the Taoists called “The Way”; the “Heaven” of the Christians, Muslims, and Jews; and the “Realized” nature of any adept. 


When “Karma” wants out, he punches me in the knee.  When I get up from my chair he heads for the stairs to the door, rather than the kitchen.  The need is obvious, but as his photograph shows, once he has taken care of the immediate, he moves across the physical-spiritual continuum to appreciate the wind blowing through his fur.  


In the evening he will lie in front of our home, watching the garage door of our neighbors, where two border collies live.  It isn’t that they are such great friends, they barely acknowledge one another when they are together, but it seems he has a spiritual need to see other beings like himself, even if very briefly.  And perhaps it is true that it is the waiting that is the spiritual communion, and not the reality.


All sentient beings turn to the sun, even trees and flowers.  Yes, there is the physical need of the photosynthesis, but who can doubt that a leaf or a flower petal turning to the sun is also a spiritual celebration of its existence.  So it is with all of us.  While there may be human beings who do not like or must protect themselves from the direct rays of the sun, these are surely exceptions, like the Yin-Yang symbols within the Yin-Yang symbols, and even they seek to become their opposite.


Each of us, each of our families, our communities, our countries, our religions, and our planet are alchemical cauldrons.  We put into each many different ingredients over a lifetime, and what we perceive in our world are the precise and perfect results of our mixture.  Have you included the best ingredients you could offer today?  


Skip Conover is an international businessman, author and artist. He is a Founder of the Archetype in Action™ Organization.  You can follow him and his work on Twitter using @skip_conover or on Pinterest.  Skip is the author of Tsunami of Blood  .  

Jung for Laymen

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