The Inner Journey

During the writing of my memoir, THE LOST SECRET, I didn’t have much time or mental energy to research the psychological processes I was going through. That came later and even then, there was a limit to how much time I could devote to study, given that I have more to offer by allowing myself to experience the reality first hand.

Although I have sought to detach myself from belief systems and existing theories, it so happens that the work of Carl Jung best describes my journey, even if the specifics are entirely unique. I also draw on the work of Joseph Campbell and James Hillman. Although coming at it from their own angle, Jung, Campbell and Hillman all point in the same general direction.

It also has to be said that some of my experiences may challenge these theories, for instance, the way Jung differentiates between the Shadow and the Animus. This is to be expected given the evolutions that have taken place since his time. Jung said himself that it was up to future generations to build on what he had started.

While it is my intention to stick to what I know to be true for myself and leave the explanations to others, I do occasionally ‘break’ this rule. However, where I do, I merely dip my toe in the water. I avoid statements of ‘fact’, erring instead in favour of perspectives based on personal experience and insight. After all, the whole point of all this is that we are, and should always be, a work in progress. Your experience may bear different results.

To some of you, the ideas I touch on will be already familiar. Many of you will never have heard of indivduation/psychosynthesis or archetypes. Some of you might already be in the throes of your own personal journey and like me would benefit from some sort of explanation for the bewildering changes you are experiencing.

So I felt it would be useful to signpost readers in the right direction should they decide to undertake their own research (regardless of their level of exposure to the ‘real deal’). My Resources page is also a work in progress. It includes a handful of articles I wrote on key elements of Jung’s work. These are not in-depth and are intended only to whet the appetite.

Resources page at https://mkmacinnes.com/resources/

Please feel free to suggest amendments or additions.

The Other Half

BY NOW, it’s pretty obvious that I am a big fan of Carl Jung. In an earlier post, I spoke about the Shadow, the collective name for those parts of our psyche that become consigned to the unconscious for reasons of conditioning or trauma, to name but a few. Fortunately, through the self-healing process of individuation (or psychosynthesis), a person could painstakingly reassemble their fragmented psyche into an integrated whole. A satisfying never-ending journey not for the faint-hearted. Jung spoke of yet another aspect of the psyche, that is not entirely separate from, yet distinct from, the Shadow. He called this the Anima/Animus.

For a woman, the Animus represents those parts of her psyche that are regarded as masculine and have been repressed since childhood, such as confidence and leadership, while for a man, the Anima represents the feminine, repressed parts of his, such as compassion and intuition.

So for instance, speaking only of my generation and coming from a mixed-sex school environment, girls were raised not to stand up for themselves and put other people’s, especially men’s, needs over their own, so typically, a little girl might grow up as a pleaser with low self-esteem. Boys on the other hand were taught to act tough, suppress their emotions and fight their way out of difficulty, so typically, a little boy might turn into a bully with an over-inflated opinion of his abilities and who does whatever the hell he wants. I am, of course, generalising – the reality was far more nuanced.

Carl Jung believed that when it comes to peeling back the onion layers of the unconscious, the Anima/Animus is stored in the very deepest recesses and so represents the final stage in the individuation journey once the Shadow stage is complete. However, I have found the two to be interchangeable and the work on both to be in parallel. The extent to which the Anima/Animus is distinct from the Shadow may well depend on the environment into which a person is born. Gender-based expectations were more pronounced in Jung’s time, so it would follow that the personal journey that informed the bulk of his research is coloured accordingly.

Jung also did not account for greyer areas in sexual identity and it is generally recognised in therapeutic circles nowadays that both men and women exhibit/repress both anima/animus traits. If Jung were to time travel to the present, he would almost certainly have to revisit many of his assumptions. The key is not to take his ideas too literally.

Of course, the notion that men and women are fundamentally different has been around for millennia. With the advent of Christianity, the onus was on women to be ‘saints’, while men had carte blanche to be ‘sinners’ if they felt so inclined and as long as nobody was looking. Scientific dogmas for gender difference are more recent – Men are from Mars and Women from Venus seemed to knock on the head once and for all any ideas I had that men and women were sexual equals. Based on what I know now about the part conditioning plays in identity and behavioural development, it turns out that I may have been right all along, and we are in fact all a dizzying cocktail of what we might term ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ qualities. Just as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are man-made, so too are gender behaviours. There are indeed natural differences but these are far more subtle that we have been led to believe.

The end result of generations of societal cherry-picking is that noone but noone operates on full capacity. If for argument’s sake we say that we exhibit 50% of our full potential (chances are it really is 10%), then you can see how so many people feel a gaping void and the concept of a missing other half arises. As harsh as it sounds, putting all the hormonal, physical aspects of biological sex to one side, when we fall in love, we are in fact falling for the missing parts of ourselves whom the object of our desire just happens to best represent. This is the X-factor, that thing you cannot put your finger on and why when they say “It’s not you, it’s me”, they really do mean it (though it doesn’t seem that way at the time).

So if Jung is right, then romantic love as we have come to know it is nothing more a societal construct, a projection, the outcome of millennia of conditioning. Yes, boooooooooo!! Romantic love would not exist if we were whole.

Much is currently made of the Patriarchy that has held sway for what seems like an eternity across the world. What tends to be overlooked is that both sexes have been hammered into conformity. Even in these crazy times, what is exciting is that men and women have an opportunity to liberate themselves from centuries of bullshit and rediscover the truth of their entire being.

We are the One.

See-saw

WITH all this talk of a new vaccine, i can’t help but feel a little disappointed that things will eventually ‘get back to normal’. So, what, we’ll just act like nothing happened and swing back into a state of excess to make up for lost time, making us sitting ducks for the next pandemic.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat …

This isn’t the first pandemic and it most certainly won’t be the last. Why waste an opportunity to make some of the behaviours we have adopted to combat the virus more permanent and moderate our extremes in order to soften the blow when the next one comes along?

I for one like the idea of maintaining a one meter default setting. And handshakes seem so outdated when other gestures do the job just as well if not better.

What habits developed during Coronavirus would you like to keep post-pandemic?

Lives

8 October 2008

I WAS gutted when the time came to rehome my beloved Muttley. The last moment I set eyes on him was at the kennels. I had arranged for a pet courier to transport him from there to a rescue centre just outside Manchester and, to spare me the agony, the manager had offered to take care of the formalities. It was bad enough leaving him, knowing I would never see him again. I dragged myself to the bus stop, hoping no-one would see my tears through the pissing rain.

31 October 2020

I HAD vowed never to find myself in that position again. Yet here I was. Four stressed foster-cats with behavioural issues, one bullying two of the others, in a one-bedroomed flat, a reduced income and an owner whose hands were tied due to COVID.

I had known for weeks that I would have to take drastic action but had drawn the line at taking them to a cattery, where they might languish for weeks. Now, with the threat of lockdown imminent, having strangers coming to my house was not an option. Besides, I didn’t trust myself to make the right choice in deciding who I could trust to guarantee their welfare.

I had enough food and litter supplies for two until January. After three heart-wrenching days of flip-flopping between trying to soldier on and take two of them to a cat shelter, and which two, my mind was finally made up. The two that I’d caught in flagrante, mother and son. Just as well he’d been neutered.

Getting a suspicious aggressive tom into the carrier was at first easier than I thought, achieved through meticulous cunning on my part. I had never seen such Fury. Much longer and he’d rip the carrier to shreds. Fixated on his claws, I didn’t see the zipper creeping, and before I knew what hit me, he was out, cool as a cucumber. In the end I had to leave him to it in order not to stress him further. Only the mother made it to the shelter. I didn’t relish a fresh attempt on Monday.

4 November 2020

So far so good. Monday was a breeze, made smoother by the administration of valerian extract the day before. The remaining two, Mimi and Robbie, are happier and enjoying the luxury of having a room to themselves – and they’re not bolting their food for fear it’s going to disappear. The neIghbours are happier that it’s quieter at night (touch wood) and I’m happier being able to get my house, and to a degree my mental health, back in order. I am under no illusions – two will still be tough over the winter months but together the ‘kids’ and I have a fightIng chance.

And based on Muttley’s experience of landing on his feet in a forever home most dogs would give their last bone for, I have every confidence that the right people will welcome Tron and Biscuit to their hearts.

The Cathar Prophecy

THE CATHARS were a medieval religious community who practised a variation on Christianity in the 12th to 14th centuries, gaining prominence in Europe, particularly parts of Italy and the South of France. They believed in reincarnation, refused to eat meat or other animal products, regarded men and women as equals and had no doctrinal objection to contraception, euthanasia or suicide. Eventually, after years of persecution and inquisition by the Catholic Church, including wholesale massacre in 1209, and the Montesegur siege and massacre of 1244, they were eliminated altogether. Legend has it that just prior to the burning of 200 ‘parfaits’ at the stake in 1244, a small band of escapees found a way through the surrounding forces carrying with them their most precious treasure. To some the treasure is just that, treasure, to others it is a bloodline. To many it is knowledge.

In 1985, a chap called Colin Bloy, who had allegedly discovered a Latin text concerning the rebuilding of a church while dowsing on the spot where the ‘heretics’ had been burned, wrote this, claiming that it had been channeled through him.

Regardless of whether or not you take the provenance at face value, its words are fitting as a potential antidote to the current world crisis.

Note that the use of the word ‘church’ refers to the idea of a community, not an institution or a building. If you read it carefully, it is not even religious.

The Church of Love

It has no fabric, only understanding.

It has no membership, save those who know they belong.

It has no rivals, because it is non-competitive.

It has no ambition, it seeks only to serve.

It knows no boundaries, for nationalisms are unloving.

It is not of itself, because it seeks to enrich all groups and religions.

It acknowledges all great Teachers of all the ages who have shown the truth of Love.

Those who participate practice the Truth of Love in all their beings.

There is no walk of life or nationality that is a barrier.

Those who are, know.

It seeks not to teach but to be and by being, enrich.

It recognizes that the way we are may be the way of those around us because we are that way.

It recognizes the whole planet as a Being of which we are a part.

It recognizes that the time has come for the supreme transmutation, the ultimate alchemical act of conscious change of the ego into a voluntary return to the whole.

It does not proclaim itself with a loud voice, but in the subtle realms of loving.

It salutes all those in the past who have blazoned the path but have paid the price.

It admits no hierarchy or structure, for no one is greater than another.

Its members shall know each other by their deeds and being and by their eyes and by no other outward sign save the fraternal embrace.

Each one will dedicate their life to the silent loving of their neighbor and environment and the planet, whilst carrying out their task, however exalted or humble.

It recognizes the supremacy of the great idea which may only be accomplished if the human race practices the supremacy of Love.

It has no reward to offer either here or in the hereafter, save that of the infallible joy of being and loving.

Each shall seek to advance the cause of understanding, doing good by stealth and teaching only by example.

They shall heal their neighbor, their community and our Planet.

They shall know no fear and feel no shame and their witness shall prevail over all odds.

It has no secret, no arcanum, no initiation save that of true understanding of the power of Love and that, if we want it to be so, the world will change but only if we change ourselves first.

ALL THOSE WHO BELONG, BELONG; THEY BELONG TO THE CHURCH OF LOVE.

Questing and the Ego

FOR WEEKS it has been my intention to pull together all my Carl Jung notes on the ego into a semi-erudite article, to follow on from my earlier attempts on the Shadow and the Heros’s Journey. However, my overthinking quota is up for this week, so I’ll stick instead to my own observations.

The ego refers to that part of the conscious psyche that deals with survival and how we fit into the world. As we grow from childhood into adulthood, it generally becomes corrupted by the banishment of undesirable traits into the unconscious (the Shadow – I deal with this elsewhere). I suppose this is why the word ‘ego’ has such a bad press – it has come to be associated with unhealthy egos (dickheads).

In eastern philosphy, the ego is regarded as something that must be transcended in order for us to become enlightened. We are but specks and life is but a meandering river of infinite possibilities. Not everything is knowable.

Western philosophers, on the other hand, gave us the idea of the questing hero. Now it’s all about pursuing – and winning. Life is there for the taking, if you’ve got the self-belief to do it. The wealth of infinite possibilties resides within you and anything that is not knowable does not exist.

Both schools of thought are unrealistic because they cherry-pick (they are also not comparing like with like). Transcending the ego is nigh on impossible for most folks and overemphasis on control and self-determination takes no account of the fact that our lives are mostly dictated by the random and unexpected. Neither will equip us for the road ahead.

There is a time and a place for both ways of being. Even the I-ching recognises that there are moments in time when it is appropriate to act and others where you must sit back in the knowledge you have done all you can. It’s about knowing when to ride the waves and when to let oneself be carried by them. The problem with today’s culture is that the ‘answer’ often lies in putting the sea in a more convenient place.

It still amazes me how religiously some philosophers stick to one camp or the other. From personal experience, I would agree with Jung that in the transition to psychic wholeness, the ego becomes integrated with other parts of the psyche rather than killed off (which only creates more shadow anyway, so what’s the point?).

A healthy middle ground is achievable.

Being a self-professed Quester, I am keenly aware of the pitfalls of taking a ‘hero’s journey’ approach to life, such as taking it or myself too seriously or using it to set myself apart. If an element of ego were not present at all, then literally I would not be able to achieve the level of propulsion required to do something that goes against the grain (how much worse would my procrastination be without it!). As long as I am able to hold my hands up and admit to my mistakes, then at least for now I regard my own ego as being in a healthy balance with the rest of my psyche (there’s plenty room for improvement, believe me). This also involves knowing when it’s time to take a break, slow down and acknowledge when it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Dealing with the unknown and making things up as you go along is a lot of fun when you learn to let go of controlling the outcome.

It is only when operating from a position of protectionism and fear that the ego becomes unhealthy. For me a healthy ego is able to stand in its own power, while acknowledging and respecting the ability of others to do the same, on the understandng that all are equal in the service of the Whole. For want of a better word, this is Love.

Reality check October 2020

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I KNOW, I know, to all appearances I’ve well and truly lost the plot.

Maybe so, but I sleep at night …

While on paper my prospects are looking increasingly bleak (whose aren’t these days?), I am more at peace with myself than I have ever been in my entire life. That’s because, for better or worse, I stand in my own truth, noone else’s. And I’m past caring who knows what about me.

This time last year I was on three different sleep medications. Since March (touch wood), I have slept like a baby. That’s even with the continuation of my dystonia symptoms, which started two and a half years ago and are still affecting my speech.

This time last year, I overcame what little fear of death I had. This year, I have overcome the fear of what might happen to me if I do this or do that, say this or say that. I have stopped apologising for being what people expect me to be. I am proud to be a misfit.

Among other things, I have learned to be more accepting of things as they are. I still plan ahead lke a maniac but I take things one week, not months, at a time.

It goes without saying that the course I have charted for myself is a stressful one. But it would be a damn sight worse for my mental health were I continuing to do it covertly. I have spent half a lifetime hiding and I’m done with it. Now the only reason I have to keep my cards close to my chest is for want of not giving away spoilers.

I must point out that fulfillng my life purpose does not hang on what Mr Butler does next. Now that I have got that first hurdle out of the way, that is daring to speak his name, there’s a lot I can get on with in the short term while waiting for some kind of response (without holding my breath), bearing in mind that I won’t be at liberty to discuss it in real time (or possibly ever), if or when that occurs.

I don’t need any one particular outcome to succeed. There’s any number of ways this could pan out and these are only the ones I’ve thought of. I am slowly but surely finding myself and that is what it’s all about. The journey IS the destination.

Anyway, on a therapeutic level, I must be doing something right. There’s a lot to be said for being true to yourself. To anybody still harbouring any notion that you cannot be who you were born to be AND a paid up member of society, financial constraints to one side, you really should try it some time.

Open letter to Gerry Butler

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Dear Gerry

Twenty-five years almost to the day since your mythic departure from Scotland. Twenty-five years since we parted company and my life was turned on its head in ways even you could not possibly imagine. You helped make me the person I am today, so for that you have my heartfelt gratitude.

Thing is, I really need your help. Over the past seven years, I have written a memoir that is nearly ready to publish. It’s one of those stories that has to be told and you are the inciting incident. As with any inspirational memoir, others will benefit from it, only I don’t have the resources to iron out some of the legal issues.

I am so sorry to go public with this but my circumstances dictate that I have to. In the spirit of self-healing, please will you at least read it? I have just published the first two chapters on my website here. For what it”s worth, there’s also a trailer here.

Yours in good faith
Morgan

THE LOST SECRET (first two chapters)

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For reasons that I won’t go into here, I have decided to scrap any attempt to sell my ‘mini-book’ on Amazon. Why it’s only two chapters and only on Kindle needs too much explanation. Instead, it is available here via the link below. This may be temporary, it may be permanent, I don’t know. We’ll see where this goes.

You can read the first two chapters here.

Although this offering is free, donations are gratefully accepted.

THE LOST SECRET – 8-16 October 2012

EVEN before I switched the TV back on to find respite from my reeling mind, I knew that I was about to be confronted with a Gerard Butler movie. Which one was it going to be?

Ah, The Ugly Truth. Now there’s a surprise.

* * * * * *

IN AND out of a semi-foetal state, I was unable to eat or sleep for days. New fragments of misplaced memory dropped into place like fallen leaves.

Thrown from one emotional extreme to the other and at times questioning my sanity, I could not understand how I could possibly have forgotten such a thing. For the life of me, how could I not have known that Gerard Butler was Gerry?

How could I have sat through Dracula all those years ago and not recognised him?

As the dishes mounted and the routine I had carefully built over months fell to pieces, I continued to rack my brains. The composting worms I had nurtured as if they were my babies died …

Copyright M K MacInnes 2020