Your greatest challenge today is you. Nothing in the world compares to the challenges you present to yourself. How do you feel about you today? Are you in balance, aligned with your spirit, keeping your body healthy and your mind alert? When you grow despondent, depressed, down on yourself, look no further. All that you need to face, and all the solutions to life’s problems begin and end within. You are your own cure.
Cultivate steadiness in all that you do, a calmness that is heart centered and indestructible, a focus that is unwavering. Learn to breathe yourself into a more solid, firm and yet flowing state so that you cannot be moved from your place of calm peacefulness no matter what comes to interrupt your daily life. Such steadiness in mind, body, and spirit will carry you well into a long life of adventure and change. It will help you to live a life of awareness, cultivating growth within yourself, while allowing for a true demeanor of kindness and compassion for all whom you encounter and all that surrounds you. Breathe.
The typical splitting of body and spirit into a pair of opposites, though useful in contrasting gross and subtle expressions of energy, reinforces a spiritual prejudice against the body, encumbered with its instinctual life. Most spiritual traditions, while tolerant of life in a physical body, place a premium on sacrificing carnal life for the betterment of spiritual evolution.
Furthermore, the physical world is typically associated with feminine energy, which is equally devalued or seen as subservient to the superior masculine spirit. The body, with its instinctual inclinations, is associated with evil and passions, that which must be sacrificed to achieve spiritual advance.
This stripping of the physical body and instinctive mind of divine association has been the prerogative of ego consciousness, which has the ability to exercise its will over instinct and the archetypes of the collective unconscious. Most profoundly has been the explosive growth of the rational mind, with its associated prefrontal cortex, which claims absolute power over the belief systems of modern humans.
It can certainly be argued that the one-sidedness of modern ego consciousness matches the one-sidedness of our early ancestor’s absolute dependence on instinctual guidance. However, this modern one-sidedness has clearly reached the tipping point, as the world is currently being reshaped by the breakthrough of repressed instinctual forces of destruction.
Marie Louise von Franz, Jung’s most valued associate, reflected on a Romanian fairy tale about a 17-year-old princess who was turned into a cat via a curse from the Virgin Mother, Mary. The curse required that both her cat tail and cat head be cut off by a prince for her to be restored to her human self.
This association of witchy behavior with the Virgin Mother is highly unusual. Von Franz believed it represented the repressed state of the feminine by the Catholic Church. Mary’s shadow delivered a curse intended to fully redeem the feminine.
Von Franz associates the cat’s tail with its dominant animal instinct. Symbolically, the cutting off of the tail represents a humanizing ability to successfully handle the threat of being overpowered by one’s instinctual feelings and sensations. Feelings and sensations are a divine gift, but to be received in a fully human way they must be refined from their overpoweringly compulsive control and integrated as part of a balanced self.
Men who struggle with premature ejaculation learn to breathe and get calm to be able to tolerate and savor the feelings and sensations associated with sexual activity. Divine union must include the wholeness of feelings and sensations.
Cutting off the head addresses the one-sidedness of mental control by ego or the archetypes of the collective unconscious. Most times, the experience of anxiety is the consequence of the projection of an archetype onto a person or situation one is confronting. Thus, if one’s boss evokes anxiety, it is likely that one is dealing with the image of the destructive side of the Great Mother, or wrathful Yahweh, which must be cut off before one can have a human interaction.
Shamanic journeys, active imagination, and dreaming all offer venues to heroically confront and ‘cut off’ the influence of these archetypes that overshadow human interaction. Breath work, yoga, and meditation provide pathways to gain control over the central nervous system to again cut off the power of the archetypes to possess human life.
Similarly, romantic relationships can’t progress to true connection if one can’t cut off the control of an Adonis or Aphrodite mental projection onto one’s human partner. One will always feel less than when their partner is experienced as divine. Mythology is very instructive in pointing out the pitfalls of human and godly union.
While fully appreciating the attraction and beauty of each other, a couple can truly communicate in a real, down-to-earth human way. Thus, the intensified experience of a divine connection with another human being is truly possible if one communicates directly with the actual person they are with.
Mental presence, unencumbered by divine projection, in combination with matured feelings and sensations is the key to divine bi-spirituality. Our spiritual essence is both body and spirit equally engaged, equally valued, equally matured.
Our collective world shamanic journey of now beckons us to retrieve the lost and captured parts of our wholeness, in particular, our feminine and animal selves.
The body is as much spirit as the spirit itself. It must be granted its true value and raised to its highest spiritual potential. This is the essence of divine bi-spirituality: as above, so below.
In quiet meditation, when the mind and heart are calm, when the breath is long, slow and deep the body has the opportunity to reset, readjust and return to a state of pristine awareness when all that is normally unknown swims up to consciousness. And then one is granted knowledge that in an ordinary state of everyday consciousness is unattainable. Find time to sit in quiet meditation. It will do your body, mind and spirit good and your life will be less frantic and driven. With a calm heart it is much easier to face the busy times you live in.
Just like the roots of our computer programs, that boil down to zeroes and ones, human beings are all, at their core, a combination of male and female, (+) and (-) energy. Psychologically, this means that our wholeness includes the existence of an inner contrasexual partner.
Jung called the inner feminine character in a male personality the anima and the inner male character in a woman the animus. These characters are living entities that interact with our ego, and various other characters within our psyche, where they impact our attitudes, beliefs and moods. Often these characters project themselves onto actual people in the world, which greatly impacts how we judge and feel toward the recipient of their projection.
We are, psychologically, hermaphroditic beings, conjoined together for life. Our individuation challenge, regardless of our sexual orientation, is to achieve union with our inner contrasexual partner. This requires getting to know our opposite side, respecting and accepting its existence, and achieving inner harmony with what is often experienced as a highly conflicted self.
Failure to achieve union with one’s inner other-half often results in suppression of one’s inner partner’s perspectives and feelings, a total denial of its existence, and countless conflicts with one’s outer intimate partner, who may be confused with one’s inner unknown partner.
How often do we feel judged and offended by what we assume another person thinks and feels? Little do we know that our ‘intimate knowledge’ of our outer partner is actually a reflection of our own unknown, or rejected, inner self.
Qualities of masculine energy include the mental function of thinking, most dominantly within the constraints of logic. Masculine energy tends to be active and solitary.
The dominant feature of feminine energy is relatedness, which seeks emotional connection. Feminine energy tends to be receptive, seeking to receive and compliment the energy of another. All of human experience involves some combination of masculine and feminine qualities and energies.
Writing this blog has required my feminine energy to become pregnant with masculine ideas needing containment and maturation to bear fruit. My patience with this congealing process is reflected in the words and thoughts pouring forth as I write.
Sometimes my anima insists upon a colorful word because she likes an idea dressed in her style. Sometimes my masculine ego is too abstract, refusing to give a down-to-Earth example that would facilitate ease of understanding.
In dialogue with my anima, I concede my abstract bias and agree to use this example of my personal process to help readers connect to my idea. My anima agrees to let go of her attachment to attractive but unnecessary words.
Often one’s contrasexual partner defends the ego by using its ability to reason to argue a point, regardless of the absurdity of its argument. Sometimes the defense comes in the form of powerful moods, where one’s inner other tells it how undeserving it is of the treatment it has received.
Through genuine interaction with our inner other, we achieve a collaborative relationship that facilitates progress in our individuation and also clears the way outwardly for positive relationships with others.
If we find ourselves in conflict outwardly, we do well to first check in with our inner contrasexual partner, who we might be avoiding and meeting instead in projected form in our current impasse. Most relational problems originate in one’s lack of relatedness within. As is often said: as within, so without.
Go within; work it out. Become that boy and a little girl, actually changing that whole wide world.