So why the special mention of the influence of Jung’s collective unconscious here?
Because the collective unconscious is not simply a mere theory. Not only do I completely believe in the collective unconscious mind, but I also believe in the tremendous effect it has on the human psyche as a whole. Anyone doing the inner work (either through mindfulness practice, any form of meditations, or practices such as Ho’opponopono) on themselves can realize how connected we all are, how a single thought we have and the resulting feeling can influence all around us and create chain reactions.
Many of us observe that certain patterns, usually negative, keep running in our families. What we fail to realize is the recurrent thought patterns that are being passed on from generation to generation, often unconsciously. This repetitive thinking gets ingrained in the family psyche, thereby, influencing the family’s actions and then creating the same old pattern over and over again in a loop.
The usual thoughts when this happens are, “I/We am (are) unlucky,“” my family is cursed”, “why does this happen to me/us?” “my fate is such,” and so on.
We do not realize that what we focus on grows. Here, the focus is on the shadows. Shadows that have accumulated across generations and have grown larger and powerful.
These shadows loom over and envelope the entire family.
Not only can such patterns of learned unhappiness and destructive behaviours resulting from the shadows be passed from generation to generation within a family, but they can also envelope entire societies, cultures, races, and finally countries. Infact, an Israeli study conducted by Dr. Miri Scharf and Prof. Ofra Mayseless from Haifa University’s Education Department detected signs of unprocessed trauma among the third generation grandchildren of the holocaust survivors.
On a global scale, throughout ages, whenever a large section of the human populace focus on the shadow aspects of any archetype, i.e., fears, repetitive negative thoughts, patterns, and images, these shadows acquire power in the collective unconscious mind and keep growing. As the shadows grow larger and gain power, they have a major impact on the external world resulting in recurring tragic, often devastating, patterns throughout history.
(Ever heard the phrase, “History repeats itself?” I think you have. Well, there you are. Archetypal patterns repeating again and again.)
The cycle goes on…from conqueror to conquered, civilizations rising, falling, and undergoing rebirth. Thanks to the archetypes in the collective unconscious, the show goes on…
“Discerning persons have realized for some time that external historical conditions, of whatever kind, are only occasions, jumping off-grounds, for the real dangers that threaten our lives. These are the present politico-social delusional systems. We should not regard them causally, as necessary consequences of external conditions, but as decisions precipitated by the collective unconscious.” – Carl Jung
We are, at the end of the day, all parts of one whole. Yes, we do have our own separate egos and identities. However, underneath our separate egos we are all connected. And, if one cog in the machine does not work, the entire machine becomes defective.
Currently, we have many terrorist groups operating across the world, the prominent ones being the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram, and Hamas. There is a tremendous amount of rage and hatred against the terrorists.
Now imagine this.
All the hate-filled thoughts, collectively, go nowhere outside; they instead, penetrate from our conscious mind to the collective unconscious mind. The collective unconscious mind then influences the entire human psyche.
If you constantly shout and abuse someone, you may encounter two forms of reactions.
The person will either rebel against you and attack you, or will go into a victim mode, resenting you the whole time, and perhaps wait for a turn to get back at you stealthily.
Thus, we might blame the terrorists on the outside, because they have separate ego identities on the outside. But on the inside we are all connected. So, we are the ones causing the violence to aggravate as we keep projecting our hate-filled thoughts towards them.
We are the ones feeding the shadows with our hatred and causing them to grow to epidemic proportions, which in turn is now disrupting the natural order of the world.
Now imagine a world where everyone goes around thinking loving and forgiving thoughts, and those thoughts reach the collective unconscious. What do you think this world will transform into? This is the third form of (re)action to abuse that you may encounter, though rarely, other than rebelling or turning victim.
To make it more clear, if you shut the door on your finger, will you hit the door, or nurse your finger?
Well, for now it looks like most of us are hitting the door repeatedly, leaving the wound on the finger to fester and finally rot.
What I am trying to say is no matter how hard it is, if we find it in our hearts to forgive and keep sending love unconditionally even to those who hurt us, the world can transform, grow, and thrive.
Question is, how can we transform our angry or disturbed feelings around a situation which is taking place in another part of the world?
Well, looking at it from the collective unconscious point of view, there is no ‘another’. It is all right within us, in our minds.
It is we who created the shadow selves across ages, fed them with our fears, discontentment, judgements and hatred.
They have now grown in power and loom large in front of us as the terrorists, rapists, murderers, the criminally insane, mentally insane, and even as large corporations that are contributing to the environmental destruction of this planet.
The planet is facing a great danger from us, because the shadows of the archetypes, deep within us, were left unattended and unloved for too long. As a result, the shadows have grown in the collective unconscious of the human mind over the years to become this Frankenstein’s monster, its tentacles showing up across the globe in different ways.
But wait, we also have the antithesis of darkness – Light – bursting out in different pockets across the globe. It almost seems as if many inhabitants of this globe have woken up and are becoming aware…
Age-old, rigid mental conditionings, systems and institutions are crumbling and falling away.
People are beginning to question their own thinking, and actions. The overall discontentment is also prodding people to question their purpose in life.
There appears to be a rise in spiritual consciousness and awareness in this globe. Therefore, there is hope, yet.
This seems to be an important phase for a major struggle between light and darkness once again. So who will win this war?
If it remains a war nobody will win. If anything needs to win at all, it is love.
Instead of fighting if we accept the fact that there is darkness, acknowledge it, and send love towards it, then love can illuminate us all in the midst of darkness.
This is what all these shadows are clamouring and begging for…the light of our love. Once the light of love shines upon these shadows, they cease to be shadows.
This is how we can transform any situation around the world.
There are many ways to work on shadows. One of the most effective ways is Ho’oponopono.
Among your many faces, in the cover of darkness, that you hide, Buried somewhere beneath them is your Light…. Although its been many years now, I haven’t forgotten her shining face, and sparkling eyes as she spoke to a crowd of around a hundred and fifty odd people.
Deafening noise. That’s what I experienced when I first set out to practice silence. There was nowhere I could escape to. The din was in my head. Practicing silence in life, initially, can indeed get maddeningly noisy. It tears apart and rips all that you are not, to shreds; it tosses you around in the darkness, mocks at who you think you are by showing you all the stories you have told yourself, about yourself.
Cutting the Ties that Bind – A Phyllis Krystal Method
This is a group session held at Breakthrough every month, that teaches how to break free from the invisible chains that bind us, block us and keep us from being who we really are.
Dates for the next session to be shortly announced.