Friday, October 23, 2009

(3) Jungian Prelude

About a third of the way into my training, I decided to focus
upon a particular research program. After spending nearly a
year sifting through the immense book and film library of the
institute, I easily decided upon the archetypal approach in
terms of spiritual development. The library was a mother lode
when it came to myths, legends, and religio-spiritual symbolism.
And all *this* centered around the Archetype--a special mental
energy that serves as a construct for our personality.

My biggest problem was my lack of knowledge when it came
to Religion. But, fortunately, my mentor slowly got me on track.
He was a world-class professional in this territory. At first I felt
inadequate for the job, so to speak. But my mentor, who was
an authority, said "if I can do it, so can you." What he meant was
that initially his own background seemed limiting, in that he had
a degree in Chemistry as well as being a M.D. After all, at least
I had an advanced degree in Psychology!

So I plunged into the institute's library, virtually immersing
myself in this mother lode, especially tracing the development
of Religion and Spirituality, then connecting it in so many ways
with the world's myths and legends that, in turn, led to archetypal
symbolism found not only in our dreams but also in our cultural
projections! And by the time I had completed the program, by
the time I received certification as a Jungian analyst, I at least
had the tools to start out when it came to my special focus.
Over the years I would concentrate on spiritual development
as a result.

However, at first, the practicalities of life set in fast. I still had
to work as a clinician, hoping in time to set up practice as a
Jungian analyst. It took quite a long time for me to slip more
fully into this special practice, but eventually I found my way
and started gleaning a respectable living out of such. Along
the way, too, I started plugging into special seminars that
concentrated on spiritual development theory.

Not surprising, I suppose, but one thing led to another. And
eventually I decided to enroll as a part-time Master's candidate
in the Anthropology Department of the University of California
(Los Angeles) . My major focus would be psychological anthro-
pology, an interdisciplinary field that studies the interaction
of cultural and mental processes.

Via this new academic work, I filled-in missing aspects when
it came to my understanding of human development and
Religion as such related to different social and cultural
milieux. And as I delved deeper into this program--that
employed not only new psychological techniques, but new
cognitive explorations--I felt fairly well-prepared to move into
my own interdisciplinary studies that linked Jungian Analytical
Psychology with Religion and Spirituality.

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