The Way to the Self
Do you know who you are? What is the process of discovering your true self? How can you access the unconscious mind?
This summer, I picked up my favorite psychologist –Carl Jung’s most intimate work “The Red Book”. There’s nothing more intriguing then the exploration of the human mind and what better mind to examine then the mind of C. Jung.
“The Red Book” is composed of discourses of his self-examination. He documents thoughts, dreams, and images as they appear in his mind. This process leads him into the unconscious mind, Jung discovers our mental structure is composed of archetypal images and that without an identity we are unable to exist.
Jung’s exploration leads him to the discover, how we identity with myths. He observed that the human mind creates the character it wishes to be. For example: if you have a sibling, you will play the role of a brother or sister; these roles are tied to our identity. As an individual, you chose which archetype you identify with. If you are someone creative, you will identify as an innovator that provides structure to the world. Attaching our identity to a specific archetype helps create a set of values and principles, which help guide us when making decisions. We act according with the person we want to be perceived as.
Here are other examples of archetypes that are shown in the chart below:
After completing his work, Jung wrote-
One without a myth is like one uprooted, having no true link either with the past, or with the ancestral life which continues within him, or yet with contemporary human society.”
Through these experiments, he discovered the “I” is only the subject of the consciousness, while the “self” is the subject of totality, which includes the consciousness and unconscious psyche.
But the question remains, how can we access the self?
The self can be accessed through active imagination and the examination of fantasies and symbols.
Jung’s technique for inducing spontaneous fantasies begins by concentrating on a particular mood and attempting to become conscious of all fantasies and associations that come up in connection with it.
Meaning allowing your mind to wander into every possible thought and feeling the particular mood connects you to.
I use the method of meditation, where I close my eyes, and allow images to pop into my mind. lately while meditating an image of a misty forest appears in my mind. I researched the symbology of a forest and discovered that it symbolize the perilous aspects of the unconscious.
Are you willing to know yourself?