09 May The Redundancy of Psychology
I was asked about 6 weeks ago to comment on 12 Jungian archetypes: the Hero, the Great Mother, the Trickster, etc., and I found myself staring at a blank page. Nothing came at all. Given that, as all other seekers who investigate their lives, I had become an expert in all aspects of the human condition from the 1980s to 2012, this truly surprised me. It was problematic for the written essay because I had to wing it and treat the subject conceptually. Jung’s final conclusion is that the ultimate state is when man, through recognising the universal archetypes within himself and working through them, realises his unity with God. Indeed, but that is dependant on the illusion of a separate self. As I wrote yesterday, there is a further step where the idea of God and self vanish leaving the condition of No-Self.
The entire gamut of Psychology is absolutely meaningless to the No-Self – there is no self present so there is no comprehension of archetypes, any type of envy (!), family dynamics or understanding of therapy. Consider also that it is only in the west that we have the extremely refined psychological thought and methodologies. In the east and 3rd world countries, people just get on with their lives guided by cultural tradition. Period. I remember in the 1990s, I was in India with my family and my husband ordered a silk jacket from the local tailor. The boss of the outfit was running late and told me that he would slap his tailor for the delay. I was mortified and told him I would not buy from him if he touched his tailor. Imagine if that happened in the west – the boss would be hauled off by the police and put before a judge on a GBH charge!
When I was in India again in 2016, I took issue with a yogi who told a story of a young western girl who was extremely disruptive at some ashram, I forget which. Apparently, this girl shrieked and sobbed, persistently disappeared and it was decided she had to be ejected. As the description of this girl and her behaviour was relayed, it was clear she had been extremely psychologically ill, and I and the other westerners were stunned into silence when the yogi burst into laughter describing her lunatic behaviour. I then launched into a lecture about the pandemic difficulties we have in the west with mental illness, and nothing about the disruption of the mind is laughable. Ashrams are hotbeds of psychosis anyway, and I have seen extraordinary deluded behaviour in the name of seeking God.
I will be exploring WHAT it is that we are aiming to lose in future posts. What is the self, actually? If we can identify what all the religious and spiritual traditions are pointing to, we have a chance to be free from suffering and live life from clarity, spontaneity and lightness. In the meantime, please look at this exquisite poem by T.S. Eliot which I think point to the No-Self (non) state. As you do, please notice what happens – you will leave the familiarity of your bodily sensations, what you are doing now with your perceived problems and responsibilities. You will forget who you (think you) are – THAT is the experience of no-self.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always –
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongue of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the Fire and rose are one.
T.S. Eliot American (1888-1965)