Emotion, red hot feeling, is the heat of passion. Whether it be passion in the form of burning sexual desire, seething frustration, or boiling rage, the energy of passion is intense and blood red.
The urging of this volatile energy to escape its containment often results in explosive actions that overwhelm the environment like a loud shock of thunder. Ever burning sexual desire can obliterate true union if its urgency of release cannot be titrated to genuinely meet and connect with another.
Much of modern psychology is dedicated to helping the ego properly channel and regulate these deeply instinctual passions in everyday life. The home base of these passions, though experienced in the body, lies deeply within the unconscious mind. Ego is not the home of passion; ego is civilized. Ego in a passionate state is either channeling a passion or is possessed by one.
Jung suggested, one hundred years ago, when we experience a passionate emotion that we pause, contain it, and ask it to present itself as an image in the psyche. Once the image presents, the ego can interact with it in an active imagination dialogue that gives voice to the image and allows the ego to mediate a solution.
The other morning, as I stepped out to feed the birds, I discovered snow and ice. I decided to snow blow, putting my brand new, bright red Ariens snowblower to the test. Before I started, I sat down to read a few pages of Going Native by Tom Harmer, a scene where he was being schooled by a shaman to take off and dry the distributor cap to a flooded engine on a tractor that was failing to start. Then I went down to the garage to start my snowblower.
It refused to turn over! Within minutes it too was flooded, but this machine has no distributor cap! I could feel the frustration rising in me, but after 15 minutes realized I had to let go. I could not make the driveway and walkway safe for others. I had to go to work.
Arriving at work, my frustration had turned to dejection. I was in no shape to greet my first client. Still seized with emotion, I decided to use the I Ching to provide me with an image, as Jung suggested, to objectify my dilemma. I received hexagram #59, Dispersion, with a nine in the sixth place, which turns into hexagram #29, The Abysmal.
The image for Dispersion is that of the wind blowing over water, breaking up and dissolving any hardness accumulated in the water. The guidance offered was gentleness that takes the ego off the hook for failure. The shamans would say, “suspend judgment.”
The nine in the sixth place states: “He dissolves his blood. Departing, keeping at a distance, going out, is without blame.” I had, in fact, dissolved the accumulated blood red frustrated state by departing, going out, and keeping at a distance from my Ariens!
The I Ching then takes me down into the ravine of the Abysmal, a doubling of the trigram water: a yang line caught between two yin lines, water trapped deep in a ravine. The yang line is creative, a masculine planner now manifesting in the world of yin, the earth.
Water, in the Chinese symbology, is masculine, as its dynamic movement flows like a river. The rock walls of the ravine are feminine, solid earth that contains and gives form to the water. The secret solution for the masculine energy in the Abysmal is to allow for the slow accumulation of water in the ravine where once it reaches a certain level will naturally resume its flow.
Thus, patience is called for, not pressing forward at all costs. In my case, this meant not only letting go and walking away, as I did because I was out of time, allowing my own energy to disperse, but also allowing the gasoline to slowly disperse as it naturally will, and reading the manual—also an act of patience!—so that next time I get the choke setting correct when I fire up my mighty Ariens!
The clarity, relief, and readjustment of inner relation with my passionate unconscious, through engagement with this process of imagery with the I Ching, allowed me to receive my first client with utter calm.
Taking it slow and easy,