In my last post I talked about the psychological concept of an individual Shadow, and mentioned that analyst Carl Jung also believed in what her termed the "collective unconscious." The collective unconscious basically is the Shadow for a group -- which means we could open a conversation about a national Shadow. While a very big group, our country does consist of a group of people. All of our unconscious attributes -- things we don't like about ourselves and don't want to acknowledge as part of our personalities and/or behavior -- go into the accumulation of a national Shadow.
Wait a minute, you may be thinking , America is a great country. How could we have a Shadow? We’re all about growth, progress, and “being the best we can be.”
Well, I encourage you to consider our media. Not just the media Donald Trump railed about not liking him – but what is portrayed on a national level through our TV shows and movies. We hear about studies done about whether the degree of violence that pervades our video games, television and movies can affect the minds of our children – yet most of us don’t seem to take that very seriously. (While the incidence of shootings at schools across our country escalates…) If one really looks at the majority of shows saturating our country’s entertainment industry, what do we see?
I’ll tell you what I see: Violence, anger (even rage), sex and greed. For good measure, sci fi adds a strong dose of fear. Everywhere. Excepting comedies, it’s hard to find a new show without at least one of them. And they are portrayed in BIG fashion: the largest TV sets ever, IMAX movies, and the all-encompassing sound effects of surround sound. No subtlety about it, for sure!
Where does this come from? As for the anger part, a line from a book I enjoyed recently titled Breakfast With Buddha (by Roland Merullo © 2007) comes to mind. The book is about a regular “Joe Schmoe” American named Otto who ends up having to drive his “woo-woo” sister’s guru across the U.S. from New Jersey to North Dakota. One of the things Otto does on a fairly regular basis is listen to Christian talk shows on the radio. Partly in response to the shows, and partly to address Otto’s mostly unconscious attitude, the guru asks several times, “Why so angry?” Initially the question itself sparks anger in Otto, but not wanting to start an argument he shrugs it off. (By the way, a handy example of how a feeling, unaddressed and un-expressed, can become part of one’s individual shadow.) After he is asked several times, he pauses to think. His reply is that most people think our way is right, and we don’t have much tolerance for those who don’t see it like we do. Sound familiar? (For me, that is the endearing aspect of that book – its genuine human-ness.)
Back to our national Shadow. I’m not going to go into the historical events in support of this – well, I suppose I could, but that would be at least a book's-worth. Where did we, as a country, get this deep, deep storehouse of such strong emotional content? Sex I suppose I can see – perhaps the repressed desires carried over from our country’s foundation on Puritan principles. And it certainly seems reasonable that the years of racial inequality in pursuit of – hmmm… methinks that could be greed! – led to an underlying simmering of anger and rage. Rage at being treated less than human, in spite of the fact that our Constitution states we are all equal under the law, and the Bible says we are all God’s children.
And add to that the anger many, I think, feel at the globalization of work, with potential U.S. jobs being outsourced to other countries. I’d say this is also in support of greed. After all, if you’re the financial officer of a major U.S. corporation wanting to keep your earnings statements high so Wall Street approves of your corporate performance and your stock goes up (making your investors rich), why on earth pay Americans a decent wage when jobless people overseas are happy to be employed for much lower wages? We can even watch movies like The Big Short and, immediately after leaving the theater, go back into denial about how our country's very foundation seems based on financial greed. It’s OK to be greedy and get all we can – just so long as we don’t get caught for the devastation this path may create in its wake. Somehow, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness have come to mean “get rich,” even though most of us are willing to at least say (if not fully accept) that wealth does not necessarily lead to automatic happiness.
So how does Donald Trump win the election? He is the face of our national Shadow. Billionaire, angry, blaming, alternating between bully and victim, and willing to tolerate violence. The undercurrent that runs throughout the people of our country was projected onto this candidate, and people loved it. They may not want to acknowledge those character traits in themselves – but when they see it in someone else they can avidly support it! All their unconscious feelings and desires being played out just as they wish they could do, but, for the most part, would not dare. This person understands! If he gets the job, he’ll do things the way we think they should be done.
I believe that is how Mr. Trump won this election.
Before you throw up your hands in either disgust or hopelessness (both?) and prepare to post some nasty replies, please take a moment to wonder.... OK, this sounds pretty grim. Is there hope?
Yes, there is! There are a few things that give me hope, despite people’s fears about this man as leader of our country. I will present them in my next blog. Stay tuned!
I’m writing this in the week after the 2016 U.S. election, at a time when many Democrats are still in shock at the election of Donald Trump as the country’s new President.
Yes, this was a close election – though the brief research I did about the elections post-2000 shows that the 2004 election (Bush vs. Kerry – remember the recount of Florida ballots?) was actually closer. I only began to take vested interest in elections after 2000, but it seems to me that our country has been getting more and more avid on both sides. Which means that there is elation on the winning side, and a sense of devastation on the losing side. As I say, I only began caring in the past 16 years, so perhaps it was this noticeable before then. If so, please feel free to post a comment about which years prior to 2000 were particularly heated.
When the 2016 race narrowed to Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, like many others I was surprised. A man with no political experience whatsoever had captured the nomination of the Republican party. Hillary Clinton, of course, has decades of experience from Governor’s wife, to NY State Senator, to First Lady, to Secretary of State. One could see that, aside from the change of being our country’s first woman president were she elected, she was a “status quo” candidate.
Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric, to me, was deeply disturbing. Despite harangues against minorities of our country’s population and immigrants, constant insults and fear-provoking comments made towards Hillary Clinton, disrespectful insider conversations about his own sexual behavior with women, and positions that earned him the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan, he attracted throngs of passionate supporters. Supporters who were even willing to engage in violence, to which he offered no rebuke. Yet, for all the passion in his speeches, he offered little in terms of what direction he would steer our country or what plans he had for “making American great again.”
That said, he snagged the election. Democrats were stunned. How could this happen? Had our nation completely lost its mind? Yes, Donald Trump represents change by virtue of not being a career -- or even, like President Obama -- a relatively new politician. That said, President Obama’s campaign was all about change, also – yet it had a very different feel to it.
I know there are many sorting through all the demographics and history, etc… in attempt to explain what happened in this 2016 election. I will take a more psychological approach. Donald Trump, in all his glory, epitomized our nation’s Shadow side.
For those not familiar with the concept of the Shadow, here is part of Wikipedia’s definition (11/12/16):
In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one's personality, the shadow is largely negative, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. Thus, there can be positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one's shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem).. "Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is." According to Jung, the shadow can be related to psychological projection, in which an unrecognized personal inferiority is seen as a moral deficiency in someone else.
What does this mean? It may sound like mumbo-jumbo to many of you. Basically it means that the things we don’t like about ourselves go underground in the layers of our consciousness. We’ll start to deny these unwanted aspects of ourselves to others, and it doesn’t take long until we don’t acknowledge them to ourselves, either. And where the projection comes in is that, while we don’t like to own these attributes in ourselves, we are very sensitive when it comes to seeing them in others!
An example? Suppose you know someone who you would consider cheap. He (or she) hates to spend money on anything and consistently criticizes anything that costs a lot of money. And yet they honestly don’t see this quality in themself. If you try to subtly ask, “Don’t you think you’re being a little tight with the checkbook here?” you’ll probably get an angry retort to the effect of anyone would balk at paying such a price for the item in question, and no, they certainly are not a cheapskate!
The projection will come in to play with this person constantly bemoaning how cheap everyone else is, what’s this world coming to?
OK, you say, but this definition refers to an individual’s personality and doesn’t say anything about a group or national essence. Yes, that’s true -- however, Jung, among the major 20th century analysts, also believed in a “collective unconscious.” This is the unconscious storehouse of the shadow material of a group of people -- and can thus be applied to a nation.
More on that to come…
No, I am not a morning person. Which may be why, on the times when I have to be up and about before sunrise (appointments at the airport the most typical of such occasions) I often experience a sense of excitement and wonder. What is going to happen as the day unfolds? What surprises lay in store; what experiences to navigate? The darkness feels rich with possibility, and other people up starting their day give me a sensation of the vast network of life. As I drive by, it’s as if a thread of energy connects me with the others, stretching out like elastic before releasing its hold as I move on.
This is especially potent when I travel by plane. I always have the vision of airports as the spokes of great wheels. People unload from a plane, then spread in all kinds of directions to take them where they are meant to be that day. Some remain in the arrival city, moving outward from the hub in a myriad of routes appropriate for their occupations and plans for their days. Then there are those who only stay in that airport until their connecting flight departs, starting a whole new network to disperse in the next destination.
Unfortunately, I usually don’t watch the sunrise on early morning flights. Either I’m already asleep, lulled by the roar of the engines on take-off, or the sun has already greeted the skies for the new day. But on a recent evening flight, I saw the most magnificent sunset that will be engraved in my memory for some time. The colors along the horizon were the replication of a rainbow: deep red, orange, yellow – then yes, a stripe of green! -- before a lighter blue that darkened into the indigo blue of a night-infused atmosphere. To top it off, the barest crescent of a brand new moon stood above the horizon for a brief time before “setting.” The first evening star (I’m guessing Venus) also shimmered brightly before the other stars and planets added their silver sparkles to the nightscape.
While I’m usually much more attuned to nature on the earth (trees, plants, animals), this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Who’d have known, when the day started, that this was waiting? A precious few minutes when beauty was striking. Deeply, amazingly, wondrously striking.
Wishing you moments of similar awe.
This was one of those times where you get to laugh at yourself. Since I tend to be a rather serious person, times when I can get a good belly-jiggling laugh at myself are welcome. (When younger, I even considered this my possible theme song…. Remember it??? You may have had to live on the East coast… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4R3fqsyl4k )
So, here’s the story. I’m driving along a local “arterial,” as they’re called here (busier streets than the neighborhood roads) on my way to go for a nature walk with a friend. A couple days prior, I had been gifted with a chance meeting someone while out riding my bike. She and I had talked quite a bit and even exchanged numbers to possibly ride together in the future. Trouble was, I wasn’t sure we were friendship material. On top of that, I was busy stewing about why she had been brought into my life in the first place. Was it to help me discriminate whom to become friends with and whom not to? Or was I supposed to be bridging a gap between us? I didn’t feel like I had the energy for the latter. It began to become a tangled mess of “why’s” and “what if’s.”
You all probably know that “analysis paralysis” saying, huh? Well, I was right in the middle of it. And stewing. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised if someone told me they could see the steam coming out of my ears. I was also very unhappy at the thought that my gentle friend would have to be the recipient of my inner turmoil – even though my intention was only to “dump it” so that we could go on for our walk in peace. I knew she didn’t deserve even the “dump,” but I was afraid if I didn’t let it out it would nag at me while we were supposed to be enjoying nature’s beauty.
I stopped for a red light at an intersection that has a strip mall catty-corner to me. On a big business display sign, I read, “We believe.” It had the effect of immediately shifting my inner maelstrom. I gave a sigh of relief. Ahhh… how nice to be brought back to basics and to have a reminder that all is well in the world and we can simply trust that all will be OK.
The light changed, and as I drove into the intersection the thought crossed my mind, “What business would post such a sign?” I knew there wasn’t a church at that location.
So I looked up at the sign and this time saw, “We deliver.” Which made total sense, as there are two restaurants in that little line of stores.
Call this what you will, but for me it was divine intervention. Seeing the “real sign” of “We deliver” took me immediately from fretting to hilarity. I literally laughed out loud for blocks as I drove away. And kept laughing till I got to the wildlife conservatory where we had agreed to meet. “You won’t believe what just happened to me as I was driving here!” I told my friend – and she got to join me in chuckling at the “coincidence” I’d experienced.
How awesome that “We deliver” had become “We believe” when I needed it! The Universe works in wondrous ways, and this time it did a great job in releasing a good amount of inner tension, turning it into something I was able to release with good humor. Well done, Universe! Thank you, thank you.
I know of some who were deeply impacted by the movie Avatar and the oneness with nature that existed between the Na’vis and their surroundings on the planet Pandora. At the end, with main character Jake Scully wounded, the Na’vis take him to The Tree of Souls -- a giant willow-like tree that is their closest connection to Eywa (the Na’vi Goddess).
This tree is a point of extreme spiritual significance to the Na'vi more so than any other point on Pandora. Besides being a connection to Eywa, the Tree of Souls also works as a way for her to directly interact with the world through the seeds of the tree. The tree has the capability to connect directly to the human nervous system, despite humans lacking a queue. The roots of the Tree of Souls are capable of initiating a link with the Na'vi that allows them to unite as one.
The above from: http://james-camerons-avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Tree_of_Souls
The Na’vi also lived in another huge tree and slept in its leaves, hammock-like. There was a sense of peace and community in this dwelling, and they were able to nimbly navigate through the branches as if in unison with the tree and space around them.
That said, consider this story -- again from the Essene Gospels:
“In the days of old, when the Creation was young,
The earth was filled with giant trees,
Whose branches soared above the clouds,
And in them dwelled our Ancient Fathers,
They who walked with the Angels,
And who lived by the Holy Law.
In the shadow of the branches all men lived in peace,
And wisdom and knowledge was theirs,
And the revelation of the Endless Light.
Through their forests flowed the Eternal River,
And in the Center stood the Tree of Life,
And it was not hidden from them.
They ate from the table of the Earthly Mother,
And slept in the arms of the Heavenly Father,
And their covenant was for eternity with the Holy Law.
In that time the trees were the brothers of men,
And their span on the earth was very long,
As long as the Eternal River, Which flowed without ceasing
From the Unknown Spring….
…. the sacred covenant with the Creator
Was broken by the sons of men,
And they were banished from their home of trees.
Now the path leading to the Tree of Life is hidden from the eyes of men….”
(From Edmond Bordeaux Szekely’s The Gospel of the Essenes, © 1974, pgs. 193-194)
Such things just make me wonder: Is the creation of such movies sheer imagination, or could there be some cellular memory deep within us that knows these stories and, at times, surfaces through certain people (via stories or movies) to remind us? I don’t have the answer… but the synchronicity sure grabs my attention.
I awoke this morning to the sound of several high-pitched saws. I cringed -- it sounded like they were cutting a whole forest. It seems that, since Spokane’s windstorm of last November (2015), people now fear the trees in their yards. I’ve seen many taken down – that didn’t fall in the storm. Perhaps they were sick or dying; I don’t know.
In all honesty, I think it’s the wind we should fear. But we don’t have control over the wind, do we? So the trees take the brunt of our mistrust, despite stories I heard after the storm of trees even falling in a direction that spared harm to people and/or their homes. I have now decided that Trees are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.
Which brings me back to The Gospel of the Essenes. Imagine my surprise to find, when reading the daily prayers to the Angels of the Earthly Mother (Sun, Water, Air, the Earth, Life, Joy and culminating with the Earthly Mother as a whole) and the Angels of the Heavenly Father (Power, Love, Wisdom, Eternal Life, Work, and the Heavenly Father in His Completion), the following lines in the Angel of Life:
“Go then toward the high-growing trees,
And before one of them which is beautiful,
High-growing and mighty,
Say these words:
‘Hail be unto thee! O good, living tree,
Made by the Creator!’
Then shall the River of Life
Flow between you and your Brother,
And health of the body,
Swiftness of foot,
Quick hearing of the ears,
Strength of the arms,
And eyesight of the eagle be yours.
Such is the Communion
With the Angel of Life,
Holy messenger of the Earthly Mother.”
(pages 35-36 in the edition I have)
I thought perhaps this was a fluke – a little aside put in by the author who was a tree-lover. But no, apparently not. In the latter part of the book there are short sections on different aspects of Essene life. Titles for these include The Holy Law, The Angels, The Brotherhood, Stars, The Moon and yes, Trees!
I will post later on this section on Trees, for it may offer an explanation of why the movie Avatar struck such a deep chord for many. For now, I want to close with my own little ode to Trees.
My appreciation and honor to the members of the Tree Kingdom!
You stand guard over our properties with majestic and stately presence.
Your branching arms give homes to birds and squirrels.
I am grateful for your shade on hot summer days, and the fact that the snow is a little less deep under your canopies in the winter.
Thank you for cleansing the air that we breathe and for infusing it with the sweet smell of pine and cedar.
The heady aromas of your blossoms in the Spring are a wonder to inhale, and the bright colors blazed by many of your leaves in the Autumn truly a sight to behold before you take your Winter hibernation. For with these you mark the cycles of the seasons, reminding us of the our part in Nature’s grand design.
Hail to Thee, oh Brother/Sister Trees!
My heart opens to you and I bless you.
May your lives be strong, your years be many, and your gifts to us be honored.
It’s been a while since my last post from The Sacred Journey: You and Your Higher Self, that is authored by a channeled being who goes by “Lazaris.” My first post was about Lazaris’s description of the Bridge of Faith.
Now the Bridge of Belief – well, that’s a whole different story! It is arched very steeply. Those walking that bridge cannot see what’s over the top of that bridge until they arrive at the crest. It probably requires more of a sense of adventure – after all, what’s up there?? People who get to the top and see the expanse ahead have an inner knowledge that what they’ve seen is “true,” but there’s no way to prove it to others.
Kabbalist Rav P. S. Berg, in his book “The Essential Zohar,” notes that spiritual growth is meant to be difficult. One of the big challenges we face, as humans, is learning to walk. Rav Berg says we are expected to master this developmental milestone – as well as learning to speak and learning to read – and they are not easy (page 186).
This reminded me of one of the stories Mary Morrissey uses in the Dream Builder coaching program I am certified in. Mary’s young grandson is learning to walk by daring to let go of the coffee table he is clinging to. He releases it and tries a few steps. He wobbles and falls – yet tries again. As his learning process involves many tumbles, Mary laughs and says, “Not once did he throw up his little hands and declare, ‘Well, I guess I’m just not meant to be a walker!’”
Back to Lazaris. He goes on to say that those who reach the apex of the Bridge of Belief will change. They step out of one reality – the one they had known up to that point – and move into another level of being. One could say we do that when, as children, we become walkers. A big change from crawlers!
So, I wonder…. When do we make a spiritual milestone equivalent to learning to walk? Perhaps the vistas one sees from the top of the parabolic Bridge of Belief are so new and different from what was known on the climbing side that one can only integrate it by a serious shift. (Bringing to mind the saying, “Miracles are just a change in perception” from A Course in Miracles, notes to Lesson 77.) And, for many of us, there could certainly be more than one mountain that we scale.
Imagine my surprise, when recently reading Edmond Bordeaux Szekely’s Gospel of the Essenes (another out-of-print book – and what a shame!), to find: …
"Many there are
Who would stay in the tranquil
Valley of ignorance,
Where the children play
And butterflies dance in the sun
For their short hour of life.
But none can tarry there long,
And ahead rise the somber
Mountains of learning.
Many there are who fear to cross,
And many there are who have fallen bruised and bleeding
From their steep and rugged slopes.
But faith is the guide
Over the gaping chasm,
And perseverance the foothold in the jagged rocks.
Beyond the icy peaks of struggle
Lies the peace and beauty of the Infinite Garden of Knowledge,
Where the meaning of the Law
Is made known to the Children of Light."
(pages 64-65 of the edition I have)
I’m always excited by theories/scriptures/wisdom that track with other sources. To me, it sounds like the “mountains of learning” in the Essene Gospel could be a combination of Lazaris’s Bridges of Faith and Belief – but without arguing the small points, isn’t the similarity of concept striking?
As Lazaris notes, there is no right and wrong about how you get Home. Both Bridges exist to take us to God/Goddess/All That Is (Lazaris’s term) – and we choose which is right for us at any given time.
My last blog about “Hill blocks view” sign where I mentioned the overpasses on the interstates in Illinois called to mind something else about hills.
Many years ago I read a book titled, The Sacred Journey: You and Your Higher Self. It is authored by a channeled being who goes by “Lazaris.” The man who brings Lazaris’s message through is Jach Pursel. One concept that I have remembered until this day is that of the Bridge of Faith and the Bridge of Belief. (pgs. 95-97 in the first printing that I have.)
The Bridge of Faith, Lazaris says, is long and flat – “like a railroad track in Kansas.” (Or an Interstate in Illinois.) The Bridge of Faith goes on to the end of time or, as the book wryly notes, it actually goes on until it is beyond time (as time and space are illusions of our third-dimensional existence.) Lazaris says that those who practice Traditional Spirituality are crossing the Bridge of Faith.
He goes on then to talk about the Bridge of Belief – which I leave for another post.
Lazaris is able to differentiate between Faith and Belief – and, through his “bridge” analogy, it makes sense. However, I just looked up the definitions of both and there is not much variation according to Mr. Webster. In fact, the definition of “faith” uses the word belief: “A strong belief or trust in someone or something.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith). The distinction seems to be that “belief” is defined as “A feeling of being sure… that something is true (Italics are mine).” (Website reference not provided as the Webster site I used got blocked by our security system -- sorry!)
Ahhhh… (as in, now I see…) So faith involves belief (a thinking thing) and belief involves feeling (an emotional thing)?
Since Webster’s also offers an explanation of the term “on faith” as meaning “without questioning,” (same source as noted above), I am going to take that as the clue. Those traveling the Bridge of Faith do so without questioning.
Well, isn’t that really what faith is about? Taking the word of something/someone else that the tenets we follow are true? Is it even right to question such a thing?
I have recently started reading about Kabbalah, the practice of Jewish mysticism. What has made a big impression on me is just how much is questioned in this tradition! The books of the Zohar illustrate spiritual principles via the experiences and teachings of rabbis who questioned everything from whether a passage in scripture makes any sense, to the meanings of colors, to whether miracles are ordinary or extraordinary. In fact, one of the main practices of Kabbalah is to always question!
One could argue that all this questioning is within the realm of thought – and I agree. Yet, when one finds the answer, is it simply a matter of “faith” (“OK, I’ll take it at that”), or is there perhaps some inner kindling of a spark of recognition? The Ah hah! Something that takes one from the “I’ll take this on faith” to the “I know, deep down, this is true”?
Till next time, I leave you to ponder…
My first blog post! Stay tuned for musings on anything from Numerology, the Essene Gospels, Gnosticism, Sound and Vibration, and of course, Journeys, both inner and outer.
But I'm starting with something more whimsical. Anyone remember Teslas’ song, “Signs”?
The chorus goes:
“Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs
Fuckin' up the scenery, breakin' my mind
"Do this, don't do that", can't you read the sign?”
My website has recently been re-activated with a new look, and may have its own “Signs.” For example, I took a trip to Florida recently to join Lorraine Hendry Meyer, a Eupsychia-certified colleague, in offering an Integrative Breathwork event. She was also kind enough to arrange for me an evening book-reading from my novel, The Crystal Cave, that included providing attendees with an experience of Jonathan Goldman’s chakra toning. I’m very grateful to Lorraine for also giving me the privilege of using her healing room for some tuning fork sessions while I was there.
So…. You may be wondering what does this have to do with signs?
I am one who tends to read signs. I can also speak from experience that there are those who do not. Which is OK. But here are some signs I’m very glad I caught.
When crossing the Georgia/Florida border, on I-95 going south into Florida: “Goodbye peaches. Hello beaches.” Clever, no?
On the approach to Blue Spring State Park in central Florida the road goes up a slight rise. I mean, slight. Perhaps like overpasses on the Interstate in Illinois, where jokes have it that those overpasses are the highest points in the state. It would barely qualify as a bump in Spokane where I live, and would be non-existent in mountain states like Colorado or Wyoming.
The point, please? As one comes up to this rise, there’s a sign on the right – you know, one of those diamond-shaped yellow traffic signs – that reads “Hill Blocks View.” I had to guffaw. You think??? That merited a photo. Call me crazy if you like.
There will be more on signs "down the road somewhere" in a future post. (Perhaps on the other side of that hill!)
Till then, keep an eye open for those little treasures!
Susan C. Moyer, MSW
Is a sound healer and transformational coach. She has 25+ years experience in using alternate states of consciousness to access deeper healing on all levels: physical, psychological, mental and spiritual.