#726 Chuck’s Place: Active Imagination: Engaging Images in Action

For the seers of ancient Mexico, our apparent perception of the world is, in fact, really our specifically human form of interpreting the energy of the universe at large. Those seers maintain that we take in very little sensory data, mostly through our eyes, which we then use to quickly call forth the intent of an object. This intent is what Jung would call the inner image or inborn archetypal representation of an object that then gets projected onto outer reality. The uniformity of human intent has generated a consensual reality populated by objects believed to definitely exist, as we project them in the outer world.

From this perspective extraversion can literally be seen as the extra version, the projected version of the preexistent inner image. In contrast, introversion can be viewed as the inner version of our dancing images. In either case, our primary relationship is with our own images—as projected in the world or within ourselves.

Jung stated that everything unconscious is projected. Translation: everything we don’t know about ourselves we project upon the world. Hence, our inner unknown images, or parts, are all projected upon the world. Active imagination is a technique Jung developed to directly discover and interact with the specific images active within one’s self. This technique offers a path to self-knowledge and wholeness.

If we are primarily extraverted, we meet ourselves, our inner parts, in the outer world of relationships. If we are primarily introverted, we are preoccupied with the images within ourselves that might present as fantasy images, thoughts, feelings, or moods. Most people are a mixture of both introversion and extraversion, therefore are confronted by their personal images both within and without.

Last Sunday, I awoke with the impulse to create a retreat structure in our backyard. I spent the better part of the day walking the grounds, envisioning a multiple array of potential structures ranging from a stone tower to a cave. I even engaged in Google, You Tube, and book research on various methods of construction. Finally, hours later, exhausted, I sat with my images and realized that my ego had concretized the energy of an inner part of my self. That part was using a series of images to communicate to me the need to retreat. However, in typical Western extraverted fashion, I ran with the image as a consumer to the virtual mall of retreat structures!

What a different Sunday I might have had had my ego sat with the image and talked to it. “Who are you? Why are you presenting yourself to me? What are you trying to tell me?” I’m quite certain that new images, feelings, or words might have emerged: a connection, a discourse, a relationship, a different day, energy conserved.

The other night, after a lovely, filling meal, Jan and I sat and watched an episode of “In Treatment.” An adolescent girl was eating a fresh pizza. Suddenly, I was hungry, wanting pizza. I couldn’t possibly be hungry, but the urge was compelling. The image of pizza had stimulated something inside me. I sat with it and discovered that it was my desire body, what don Juan would call “the nation of the stomach” masquerading behind the pizza image as the physical experience of hunger. In this case, my ego, through bearing the tension of apparent hunger, was able to intercept the secret plot of “the nation of the stomach” attempting to take control of the world of the self. Experientially, once exposed, the desire body released its illusion of hunger. My ego rather gently informed my desire body that there is nothing wrong with satisfying a desire, but really, not on a full stomach!

These two examples, I hope, demonstrate how images generated from parts of ourselves can control our perceptions, needs, and behaviors with our complete unawareness. I close today with a perhaps more universally recognizable image trap. First, I will admit to being a hopeless romantic. However, I have learned that in spite of the intoxicating draw of falling in love, the real magic is in love itself.

Under the influence of feelings of emptiness and lack of fulfillment, with a need and desire for love, connection, partnership, and wholeness, we set the intent to fall in love by evoking the archetype of romance. This archetype comes complete with a standard program and a specific soul mate image tailored to address our underlying needs. The next step is to locate a suitable energetic being upon whom to project this image. When two energetic beings meet with the same romantic intent, their soul mate images may be cross-projected onto each other and, Voila!, it’s love at first sight! When these images unite, the experience is indeed magical. However, as the night fades and as subsequent days fill in the shadows, slowly the images recede, as our apparent soul mate may be revealed as a human being no longer able to reflect the requirements of our specific soul mate image. Often these revelations result in the end of a potential relationship.

My closing question: Who is falling in love when we fall in love. Hint: Images in Action!

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,
Chuck

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