What if I told you that something is pulling us toward a more meaningful future? What if I told you that what’s driving us isn’t our past wounds or our family history but something that wants us to become all that we can be? Bigger still, what if I told you that your ego’s story about who you are, should be or should’ve been, is also not what’s driving you?
The Psyche Is Present and Future-Oriented
When we watch our dreams closely over a long period of time, we see in the patterns a larger evolution unfolding. As we integrate something the dream world has been trying to tell us (either consciously or unconsciously), time and again, we see a corresponding evolution in the next phase of dreams. Internal evolution into greater forms is what Nature does with us through dreams; we are always being pulled toward a future that’s bigger than we could ever imagine for ourselves. The future wants to make us more whole, to flesh us out on the inside, to bring more of our character to life in the world.
The recognition of this force in us is part of what makes the psychology of Carl Jung different from most other schools. Nearly every other method focuses primarily on listening to the concerns of the ego or the past: only Jung’s approach points us toward an unfolding future goal within us. When we feel connected to the stages of growth in the greater story that’s unfolding, we experience our life as meaningful.
Perhaps the most astonishing way in which this unfolding can come into our lives is through experiences of synchronicity: where events conspire to mirror inner images and meaning breaks through into the outer world. When this happens, the calling remains the same: to re-examine our attitude to the world in the present; how are you being called to bring more of who you are into the world?
“. . . it is addressing life in the present that cleanses and heals a festering wound. Jung never tired of saying this. After the past is explored, additional inquiry into yesterday does not lead to further healing. A change of attitude into the present does, and this change of attitude is exactly the business of a synchronicity.”
– J. Gary Sparks, At The Heart of Matter
Don’t Let Ego Get In The Way
One of the ways that we most commonly miss connecting this process is through the ego. Simply by insisting that our own story is the only true one, we can repeatedly avoid seeing the evidence to the contrary. The ego wants to maintain its view of the world and hold onto its comfortable attitudes, and in doing so it blocks us from changing our attitude about the world and we remain stuck. The biblical story of Moses and the Pharaoh exemplifies such rigid ego insistence. Without connection to Nature’s deeper voice in us, we grow too big for our britches. “Without that communication, the ego tries to set up its own kingdom.” – Marion Woodman
We can express this ego inflation in positive or negative ways. Positively, we can color experiences through the lens of what we want to be true, imagining that the world is giving us what we want (when something deeper is often afoot, synchronicities are not always a blessing [article link]). Negatively, we can insist on our ‘bummer’ story and ‘know’ that we’ll never get what we want.
The courageous act is one that places the ego’s attitude at risk. In challenging, not just how we think about the world, but how we feel about it, we come to discover the truth that we’re really living thought. In letting go of the old attitude, we can choose to listen for the larger voice in us. Instead of seeking to successfully solve symbolic puzzles, the goal then becomes one of the heart: successfully living a new attitude. Rising to meet this challenge asks more from us than just rational analysis, we are required to participate with the whole of who we are. In this way, we can understand what Jung meant when he said that “we don’t solve our problems, we outgrow them.” And is this also not the call of the mystic’s path?
Plugged Into The Big Questions
We can interpret the fact of synchronicity into spiritual or religious forms and call it Grace or something else, but we can’t shut the door on our knowledge–today we know that this force exists, it is a fact of Nature and we can’t pretend it away. Clearly, it’s the same force that the ancient Chinese writers of the Tao and the I Ching were observing, wrestling with and relating to. Objectively something exists in the world that wants us to grow into greater forms–what would you call that?
(Be careful not to put it into a too small a box with your answers, there’s good reason to suppose that such a force might be bigger than our power to ever comprehend it).
The much more important question however is can you plug yourself into that fact (without inflating up and thinking you own it)? There’s a joy in making that connection, when you can.
Participating consciously with reality of the mystery of dreams and synchronicity means no longer settling for comfortable over-simplifications. They call us to full-bodied and whole-hearted participation and no other substitute will suffice. You will be challenged to face your blocks to getting the most out of life and to construct an attitude of genuine, dynamic connection to the source. Here’s a hint: the path is within you.
We’ll be exploring the mystery of synchronicity and the evidence for the extension of consciousness in the work of Rupert Sheldrake online this fall – come join us!