By Drs. Anna Huff and Teresa Reyes Castillo
Carl Jung brought to our attention the concept of the collective unconscious. This is the idea that each individual has access to an undercurrent of knowledge and images that connects all of us. Jung actually changed the title of this concept to the objective psyche. In this way, he meant for the concept to account for both the individual and collective experiences within the unconscious. Defined by its parts, “objective” means not influenced by personal structures or feelings and “psyche” means the human soul. While Sigmund Freud originally established the concept of the unconscious, Carl Jung interpreted the unconscious to have layers. The objective psyche is the deepest layer of the unconscious. It connects humans to a transcendental experience. This concept tells of an underlying level of connection felt between all of us. This concept ties in for us how we continue to experience similar situations as our ancestors, how knowledge seems to pass through time. Such as some people’s innate ability to swim versus others or some people’s innate ability to cook versus others. What skills have you easily learned versus not? And were those skills shared within your ancestry?
Being thoughtful, in calling to question the life that you lead, the life that you have created, and the life that is yours, this will inspire you to think differently.
The common complaints of today’s world are that “to do” lists are endless; there are limited hours in a day; we are constantly going; and we rarely get the breaks we need. Do you ever wonder what would happen if you stopped “doing?” Interestingly enough, advice received from others is often to “do something.” The concept of “doing” places importance on action to resolve issues. What may be more important than taking action, is simply being. If you take to time to cease the noise and be, time can stop; peace can be obtained; and true calm can be sensed. Ask yourself, is there more to life than just the monotonous daily routines and the to-do’s of today’s society.
Stop for a moment. Are you listening?
If you take to time to cease the noise, the clutter, the daily tasks, the responsibilities, and simply be, simply listen, then ask yourself, who are you? Self-exploration leads you to find meaning within yourself and guides you to find your own answers, desirable or not. Self-exploration allows you to gaze inward to your inner self, closing the gap between your external and inner self. The external world is typically of greater focus and often connected to an identified title: husband, mother, friend, and so on. Think of it as everything outside of you. Your external world, while helping you function in daily life, often serves as a distraction from your inner self.
Your answers are inside. Are you listening?
Fear can arise at the thought of connecting with your inner self, with sitting silently with yourself. Uncertainty can give rise to fear. After all, the possibilities are endless of what you can learn. There is a vast internal landscape to be explored, and there is not a readily accessible road map. When you first sit in silence, it can feel awkward, uncomfortable even. Your own negative record may start playing and bring up socially imposed concepts of guilt, shame, dissatisfaction, and inadequacy. Allow those thoughts to subside; there are deeper answers, deeper thoughts within the silence. When things quiet down and it is only you, you can be with your inner self, and you can explore. There is a world waiting to be experienced, touched, sensed, and felt leading to a meaningful and fulfilling life. The biggest obstacle is likely whether you can allow yourself to this experience.
Keep in mind, there are reasons people choose not to look under the surface, to brush things under the rug, and to hope they never come out. Fortunately or unfortunately, choosing to turn your back on your inner self and what you are supposed to be listening to does not lead to blissful ignorance. Let’s just take a moment of silence for that one. No blissful ignorance.
You are speaking. Are you listening?
The journey of self-exploration can be a treacherous one, yet a fulfilling one; you are choosing to look under the rug, to pull out skeletons from the past, to face the scars and the wounds that have collected over your lifetime. Shadows can lurk beneath the surface. Scars and wounds can feel deeper than the imagination. Know that this is not to deter, yet simply not to mislead. Gaining genuine connection with your inner self is not effortless or painless. What may provide comfort is that you will only find yourself on your journey, and the shadows you run across are simply cast by you standing in the light. Those shadows are a part of you, just like the sun and the stars are. The hard work placed on your journey will present fruitful with patience and self-love. Your self-exploration can bring love, patience, and understanding. Not from other people, think of these as gifts from: you, to: you.
Your silence is waiting. Are you listening?
Once you have chosen you are worth your attention and have decided to connect with your inner self, let there be silence. If you strip away the external, can you feel your inner self? Do you know who you are? If you dare to look underneath the surface, under the external layer, you can connect with your inner self. And life can begin to take on new meaning. Being silent strips away the worldly responsibilities. If you let yourself, your silence can bring an astounding sense of tranquility. You have the choice to experience more. A person who is aware of who they are and their path is more active and engaged in life. Dare to imagine a world in which all is meaningful. If you only get to live this life once, why not meaningfully, and if this is what you choose, stop and listen to your own silence. Your silence can transcend you into a connection to elements greater than yourself by being true to who you are. You can experience all things as alive - the earth, the ground, the trees, the wind, the water, etc. If you can allow yourself to be, then you can experience yourself as a part of the ground, the earth, and ultimately the universe to have a transcendental experience of life.
Breathe… and listen.
Be lulled to sleep by a singing ocean at the beach, feel the trees whisper in a gentle forest, hear a roaring storm, taste snow in the air, hear the wrath of an angry sea, experience the knowledge of a lively fire and a loving rock. Hug a tree and feel it's glee in your embrace. At times when we feel drained and unenergized, you can connect with the flow of energy that is provided to you when you allow yourself to disconnect with the machine-oiled, technology-driven external world and opt to connect to yourself. Once you gain the courage to be different, to simply be yourself, you can experience an endless supply of energy, a continual warm embrace, and a satisfaction and meaning that comes from the silence within yourself.
Listen to your silence.
Dr. Huff and Dr. Reyes Castillo write to support others. They are both licensed clinical psychologists in Ridgefield, CT. Their practice supports inner growth, the development of courage, and guiding other's on their personal journeys.