There are other forces in the house (i.e. the psyche) besides the dog’s instincts: cultural and spiritual forces. There are angels and gods, and other varieties of archetype and stereotype. We’re taught to ignore these too, so when we see an “angel” we ignore it for fear of going mad!
There are also intruders, burglars and gatecrashers that have come, uninvited, into the house through a door or window you left open (or someone else opened for you). And even though they don’t belong here, we’ve been taught to accept them as though they were. Shouldn’t we learn to identify them, reject them and guard well the house’s portals?
And have you ever looked upstairs? There a mysterious room filled with toys and colourful paintings. For many people this is a room that is shut off when we reach adulthood, and it gets abandoned. But it doesn’t go away. It is another “elephant in the room”. Hey, the inner child has a life to live, too! 😉
The ego is just the tip of the iceberg, a fragment that thinks it’s a whole; the individual is deeper and broader than the ego, as the iceberg is deeper and broader than the tip. But the ego doesn’t always recognise this, so everything that it doesn’t recognise as “self” must be “other”, and so the unconscious is projected outside. Once the ego learns a bit of humility it’s limits can be punctured and then begins the work of integration.
When we are “educated” (read conditioned) all those unwanted qualities get hidden in the unconscious, and rest there until rediscovery. Perhaps confidence was buried; perhaps gentleness was hidden; perhaps curiosity and creativity were deftly swept under the carpet. And we learn to live with this and get on with our lives, even if we feel unsatified with our lot. We have within us treasures awaiting discovery.
Also, the ego interferes with the unconscious as it tries to impose itself on the world within and also the world without, but cutting itself off from its treasures hidden in the unconscious – until it can learn a bit of humility and learn that it belongs to something deeper, higher and wider than itself. Then the conscious and unconscious can become well functioning parts of a whole that is the Self in the process of Individuation.
One very easy tool I’ve found for self-investigation is questioning my beliefs. It wasn’t enough to have beliefs but to understand why I believed such-and-such, what motivated me? And do I really believe it or is it something that I’ve inherited from the world around me? What are really my beliefs?
I call it easy because it’s a way of looking at yourself without really looking at yourself (it has the appearance of “questioning and investigating belief systems”, but it’s an interesting preliminary step to finding our own motivations behind how we think). Our beliefs are symptoms of the way we think, and so too what ideas we find most appealing or convenient for explaining the world around us.
I’ve also learnt that beliefs don’t represent static statements on the nature of reality (at least not for me) but are simply ideas we have about the world that need testing and updating every-so-often, because as our understanding expands, and experience and reasonings develop, so should our beliefs, aligning more with “what is” rather than “what could be”.
I’ve been thinking… I’ve got to do more to become a druid. I mean, they were the intellectual elite of their day, and though I can’t go and sit in a sacred grove to be taught traditional druid lore (cos it’s extinct) by a druid of old, I can take up the closest equivalent: university.
It’ll be so easy; I’ll get a degree, or doctorate, or whatever you get from universities, wear a long white robe, grow a long white beard, and that’ll be it, I’ll be a proper modern day druid! Oxford or Cambridge, here I come (either one of those two, I’m not fussy…)
Or maybe I should sit in a grove and visualise a Druid of Old teaching me for ten or so years? Okay, silly suggestion, just considering my options.
Alright, silliness aside, if modern druids don’t have to go to university to tick off the academic box in the “I’m a Real Druid” list, where does education fit in to modern druidry? Does it really take a correspondence course, or is there more?
Very important questions, but I think I’ll leave them for another day. There’s a nice comfy bed calling to me.
The other day I saw Jane’s Story on DVD (El viaje de Jane).
Of course I’ve heard of Jane Goodall, of course I know that she has worked with chimpanzees, but I didn’t know the activist side of her work, which extends to more than just protecting chimps and their habitats. Through projects like Roots and Shoots she’s working to educate and give people a way to take initiative.
The only reason we need to “save the chimps/whales/planet” is because we aren’t saving ourselves. If we would “save ourselves” the planet wouldn’t have so many problems. And in a way that’s what Jane Goodall has been doing, giving people the opportunity to “save themselves”, and not become another cause of problems on this beautiful planet.