The work of C.G. Jung is a constant research process, a wonderful alchemy between analytical psychology, anthropology and philosophy which has left us very interesting concepts such as 'the collective unconscious', 'archetypes', 'synchronicity', as well as the foundations of a spiritual heritage in which a whole range of ideas is hidden.
When it comes to famous psychiatrists, the first one most people think of is the icon Sigmund Freud . However, for many, it was Carl Gustav Jung who left a much deeper imprint on the study of personality and the human psyche.
'If you are a talented person, it does not mean that you have received something, but that there is something you can do'.
(Carl Gustav Jung)
It must be said that, despite Jung and Freud having worked closely together in recent years, the fact that the latter saw the sexuality as the real relevant factor behind human behavior has never been well received by the Swiss psychiatrist.
In the prodigious mind of the founder of analytical psychology, there were many more doubts that went beyond the theoretical foundations on which Freud moved. Despite being a practical and theoretical clinical psychologist, he also devoted most of his life to exploring other realms, letting himself be conquered by Eastern and Western philosophy, the arts, literature, astrology, sociology and even alchemy. .
He left a legacy of knowledge that is still very interesting that we want to talk to you about in the next few lines.
The childhood dream that opened his eyes
One time Carl Gustav Jung said that the human being is born three times. The first is real and physical birth. The second occurs with the development of ego and the third conforms the origin of what he called 'spiritual consciousness'. According to Jung, this last step will never happen if the person focuses only on the ego, on its learned conditioning or on those rigid mental models that are not very receptive.
'The dream is a small door hidden in the deepest and most intimate sanctuary of the soul'.
(Carl Gustav Jung)
However, it appears that the Swiss psychiatrist experienced this third 'awakening' as a child thanks to a dream strange, symbolic and, at the same time, fascinating . He dreamed of a large room with a red carpet on which a strange being sat on a throne was found. It was a tree-like monster with a huge eye in the center of its torso. He had the skin of a man and barely reacted when little Gustav Jung started to approach him. Shortly thereafter, the little boy heard his mother's voice shouting at him from the bottom of a nearby ditch not to come near, because he was a man-eater.
Even if at first that dream was read as a terrible nightmare, very soon a deep interest in the dream world and its symbolism woke up in Jung. Years later, he realized that that dream was like a call, a direct invitation to carry out research on what will later be called 'the unconscious'.
Jung’s spiritual heritage
Even though Jung's clinical perspective was based on a very theoretical psychiatry, he always made it clear that he did not want to limit himself to this narrow and limited view in the field of human knowledge. He soon integrated art concepts, of spirituality and of that cultural heritage in which revolutionary ideas about the realm of the unconscious were hidden.
- Jung studied Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, agnosticism, Taoism and other traditions in depth, since for him spirituality was the very root of psychic life.
- One of its basic concepts was that, in order to understand the human mind, its products, or cultural production, should also be studied.
- He often asserted that any spiritual experience was essential to promote our well-being, a thought on which Sigmund Freud did not agree.
- In 1944, Jung published 'Psychology and Alchemy' to prove that in many of our most common dreams there are hidden symbols used by alchemists, as well as mythological images that we all keep recorded in our unconscious .
With these ideas, Jung strengthened the universal character of his theory on the archetype, also defending the value of spirituality as a tool for improving the mental health of modern man.
Jung and the study of mandalas
Carl Gustav Jung, in his infinite passion for knowledge linked to our ancestral cultures, did not take long to discover the psychological effects of mandalas, while tackling the study of oriental religions.
- As Jung was able to explain on various occasions, the mandala responds to a sacred geometric design, capable of producing something revolutionary and, at the same time, therapeutic within us.
- Each circle-shaped figure not only represents a reproduction of the cosmos, but it is also a direct invitation to listen to our essence, to recreate harmony and to encourage an awakening, a growth.
Jung made use of mandalas with his patients to help them hear their inner voice . It was a way to decentralize the ego, to break the noise of obsessive thoughts, so that the subject would find new ways of liberation and approach a new state of consciousness.
'What you deny submits to you, what you accept transforms you'
(Carl Gustav Jung)
To conclude, Carl Gustav Jung's legacy is undoubtedly one of the largest and richest in terms of knowledge, perspective and concepts. Although his theoretical contributions are still very present in the field of psychoanalysis, nowadays there are people who prefer to focus only on his spiritualist ideas.
For our part, we would like to invite you to get to know all of his works and not to limit yourself to just one area. Books such as 'The Red Book', 'Man and his symbols', or 'Memories, dreams, reflections' are witnesses of a multidisciplinary perspective, of a range of knowledge and awakenings that today continue to inspire experts, curious and profane.