We were watching a movie. It was descending into utter futility, a decision to suicide. It wasn’t anxious feelings that made me walk away; it was the character’s decision to surrender to that state of possession. I left the room not to return to the movie, but it was too late, I was already overtaken by a dark paralyzing mood.
That night I slept fitfully and was awoken at 2:30 a.m. with the image of a dark circle surrounded by a bright rim of light and two formulas: 2πr and πr². “This is a first,” I thought, “my unconscious instructing me to perform geometric operations.” 2πr is the formula for the circumference of a circle: multiply the radius by π then double it. My unconscious was telling me, in no uncertain terms, to clearly define the boundary of myself, the outer rim of the circle.
Additionally, πr² is the area of a circle, that which is inside the circle, the True Contents of the Self.
I had been infected by an energy outside the circle of myself that had generated a mood with negative thoughts. Those thoughts had sprung fears and worries and my body tightly clenched in response. My unconscious was instructing me to define what really was inside the circle of Me and to clearly define a boundary that differentiated I from Not I.
I performed these boundary-setting operations in practical terms, first via Tonglen breathing, breathing in the Not I with all its angst and tumult, and breathing out compassion and calm, as I released the energy of Not I.
I also engaged in the Recapitulation Sweeping Breath, breathing in the energy of I, breathing out and away from me the energy of Not I that had inadvertently found its way in and attached itself like a virus within the circle of Self.
Finally, I did the Life Saving Pass, a Magical Pass defining an energetic boundary around the Self. With arms at the sides and slightly away from the body, hands open and palms facing in, with legs firmly planted, I swung my upright torso from left then right as my hands traced a circle around me: 2πr.
I mindfully refused the machinations of the mind to attach to its wares of worries in the world beyond the boundaries of Self. Within a day, these practices restored the calm balance that I am generally able to summon and maintain as I navigate life.
I am reminded of an experience of many years ago. I was at a lecture about then-segregated South Africa, and had the opportunity to privately ask Laurens van der Post, Jung’s dear friend and biographer, about Jung’s strong conviction that a successful inner journey by one individual synchronistically changes the world. Van der Post emphatically confirmed Jung’s conviction, even after having just delivered a lecture about his concerns for his own disintegrating homeland, caught in the web of Apartheid. Perhaps it ultimately was the inner process of Nelson Mandela that really changed that world.
When I reflect on the formulas I was given in the night, both insisted on the use of π. π is an infinite number that we paradoxically use to define a definite space: a complete and contained circle. A circle, like the self, can be firmly encased and rigidly defined, yet only by a number that goes on into infinity—a number that therefore incorporates everything.
My efforts to restore and rebalance the boundaries of my “self” ultimately incorporated the interconnectedness of everything. We are finite and infinite beings, separate and interconnected.
We need never doubt the value of taking up the challenge of our inner process. Our own resolution resonates throughout the hologram of our world, throughout infinity.
My mathematical messenger provided me the vehicles to shift the energy within the self, the Self, the Selves. We are energetic beings with awareness, uniquely different and yet the same.
Change the self, change the world—try it!
From the land of Pythagoras,