Archetypes and the Road to Wholeness

In our current culture, so much “doing” and outer accomplishment is expected of us, that many people feel they have lost touch with any source or spark that once kept them going. We have become all too efficient in our technological world, and must learn again how to nurture and encourage the soul’s longing to follow its own path. But how can we discover how to listen to the soul?

There are powerful forces at work beneath the surface in the human psyche, and when those forces are activated, we must respond. Going through our daily lives, we have an experience that, sometimes suddenly, takes us to a deeper place, and we hear the message of the soul. The universal energies that Jung called archetypes have been tapped. This experience can throw us off our intended path for sure, but it also can provide us with new guidance and direction, and can give fuel to our lives when we had felt that we were stalling.

When that energy is activated, it is important that we take it seriously. For example, if one goes to a movie, play or opera, and later can’t seem to forget a certain theme or character, perhaps that unforgettable thing is about an inner exploration that needs to take place. Or we, on “pure chance,” run into someone we once knew and he tells us about his new pursuit – the very thing we were thinking of but hadn’t gotten around to yet. One should set off on the exploration, learn about the theme, read the history, research the myth, find and read all the poetry; then let the energy of this experience do its work. The “work” may take shape in astounding ways. One finds oneself wanting to take on new ventures, becoming adventurous when once timid, or humanitarian when once self-serving.

One of my favorite quotes from Jung is, “the right road to wholeness is filled with fateful detours and wrong turnings.” When we take inner as well as outer life seriously, the “wrong turnings” can be seen as ways to go back and pick up the parts of ourselves that we almost forgot we had – and sometimes they turn out to be the most rewarding of all!

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