In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple, and so acceptance of oneself is the moral problem…But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself—that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness—that I myself am the enemy who must be loved—what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us “Raca,” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves. CW XI, para 520
Excerpts from Jung’s writings: from his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
When people say I am wise, or a sage, I cannot accept it. A man once dipped a hatful of water from a stream. What did that amount to? I am not that stream. I am at the stream, but I do nothing. Other people are at the same stream, but most of them find they have to do something with it. I do nothing. I never think that I am the one who must see to it that cherries grow on stalks. I stand and behold, admiring what nature can do. There is a fine old story about a student who came to a rabbi and said, “In the olden days there were men who saw the face of God. Why don’t they any more? The rabbi replied, “Because nowadays no one can stoop so low.” One must stoop a little in order to fetch water from the stream. p. 377.
During an intensely difficult time in his life, Jung describes how he came to appreciate the value of working with images : “..everything seemed difficult and incomprehensible. I was living in a constant state of tension; often I felt as if gigantic blocks of stone were tumbling down on me. . my enduring these storms was a question of brute strength… To the extent that I managed to translate the emotions into images– that is to say, to find the images which were concealed in the emotions– I was inwardly calmed and reassured. Had I left those images hidden in the emotions, I might have been torn to pieces by them. There is a chance that I might have succeeded in splitting them off; but in that case I would inexorably have fallen into a neurosis and so been ultimately destroyed by them. As a result of my experiment I learned how helpful it can be, from the therapeutic point of view, to find the particular images which lie behind the emotions.” p. 177
. ..I handle the dream as if it were a text which I do not understand properly, say a Latin or Greek or Sanskrit text, where certain words are unknown to me or the text is fragmentary… My idea is that the dream does not conceal; we simply do not understand its language…There is a very wise word of the Talmud which says that the dream is its own interpretation. The dream is the whole thing… Therefore, first of all, when you handle a dream you say, ‘I do not understand a word of that dream.’ I always welcome that feeling of incompetence because then I know I shall put some good work into my attempt to understand the dream…[p.173] Something more is needed to bring certain things home to us effectively enough to make us change our attitude and our behavior. That is what “dream language” does; its symbolism has so much psychic energy that we are forced to pay attention to it.” (Man & his symbols, p.49) No dream symbol can be separated from the individual who dreams it, and there is no definite or straightforward interpretation of any dream. Each individual varies so much in the way that his unconscious complements or compensates his conscious mind that it is impossible to be sure how far dreams and their symbols can be classified at all. (Man & his symbols, p. 53)
Image from Jung’s personal journal, the Red Book.
On the seemingly hopeless situation: Often we are led to a wall, it is too high, we cannot get over it and we stand there and stare at it. Rationalism says, “There is no getting over it, just go away.” Yet natural development has led the patient up to an almost impossible situation to show him that this is the end of his rational solutions. It is meant that he should get there, and perhaps stay there, make roots and grow like a tree; in time overcome the obstacle, grow over the wall. There are things in our psychology that cannot be answered today. You may be up against a stone wall but you should stay there and grow, and in six weeks or a year you have grown over it. The I Ching expresses that beautifully. A similar situation which looks quite hopeless is depicted thus: “a goat butts against a hedge and gets its horns entangled.” But in the next line: “The hedge opens; there is no entanglement/ Power depends upon the axle of a big cart.” So if you could stop butting against the fence you would not get your horns entangles, and presently you would have the power of a cart with four wheels. There is another way in nature, the way of a tree…The tree stands still and grows and makes roots and eventually overcomes the obstacle. C.G. Jung. The Seminars. Volume One, Dream Analysis: Notes of the seminar given in 1928-30. p.249
“As the individual is not just a single, separate being, but by his very existence presupposes a collective relationship, it follows that the process of individuation must lead to more intense and broader collective relationships and not to isolation.” (C.W. Volume 6, p. 448 758).
(Jung’s painting titled, “Septem Sermones ad Mortuous” – completed around 1918 while working on Liber Novus, )
Seven Sermons to the Dead were written by Jung in his “confrontation with the unconscious.” They are the visions he recorded in this time which continued from 1913 to 1917. They composed the concluding chapters of the Red Book manuscript. Jung published them privately and they were only given out as a gift.
Jung, at 85, reflecting on the aging process: “Old age is only half as funny as one is inclined to think. It is at all events the gradual breaking down of the bodily machine, with which foolishness identifies as ourselves. It is indeed a major effort– the magnum opus in fact– to escape in time from the narrowness of its embrace and to liberate our mind to the vision of the immensity of the world, of which we form an infinitesimal part. In spite of the enormity of our scientific cognition we are yet hardly at the bottom of the ladder, but we are at least so far that we are able to recognize the smallness of our knowledge. The older I grow the more impressed I am by the frailty and uncertainty of our understanding, and all the more I take recourse to the simplicity of immediate experience so as not to lose contact with the essentials, namely the dominants which rule human existence throughout the millenniums. “ (C.G.Jung Letters 2. 1951-1961. p.580)