Monday, February 29, 2016

FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD – Digesting Jung : Food for the Journey by Daryl Sharp

Digesting Jung provides readers new to analytical psychology with the main ingredients of Jung’s work and how they might flavor a life.

In the book, Sharp covers complexes, archetypes, instincts, the four typology functions, the persona, the shadow, anima/animus, the Self, dreams, projection, neurosis, the analytical process and the way of individuation. Each chapter begins with an extract from Jung’s writings which Sharp then fleshes out – explaining, expanding and illuminating each idea. The brilliance of Sharp lies in his capacity to distill the complex concepts and ideas of Jung so that they become truly accessible and this makes this book invaluable for the reader new to analytical psychology.

This book moves the reader beyond the mere realm of thinking into a heuristic journey of self discovery, as Sharp says in the book:

 “True healing does not happen in the head.  It occurs through feeling-toned realizations in response to lived experience …. Thoughts ‘in the form of an experience’ have a transforming effect because they are numinous, overwhelming.  They lead to a more balanced perspective: one is merely human – not entirely good (positive inflation) not entirely bad (negative inflation) but a homogenous amalgam of good and evil.  The realization and acceptance of this is a mark of the integrated personality.” (p.60).  

Digesting Jung, is illuminating, thought provoking and “stimulates the reader to ruminate on what is happening in his or her own life and the unconscious factors that for good or ill influence the lives of each of us.

The book is full of provoking questions, encouraging you to discover and become aware of the way in which you function, to assess your attitudes and behavior in a given situation and adjust them accordingly:

“…in this situation, with that person, how did I function and with what effect? Did my actions truly reflect my judgements (thinking and feeling) and perceptions (sensations and intuition)? And if not, why not? What complexes were activated in me? To what end? What does this say about my psychology? What can I do about it? What do I want to do about it?” (p.20) 

As Sharp says “Jungian analysis is not about improving yourself or making you a better person.  It is about become conscious of who you are, including your strengths and weaknesses” (p.58) so that “the truth of yesterday … be set aside for what is now the truth of one’s psychic life” Marie-Louise van Franz, Redemption Motifs in Fairy tales, p.85).

DIGESTING JUNG : Food for the Journey is available as a free download by the generosity of its author, Jungian Analyst and Publisher of Inner City Books. Download the book by simply clicking on the title above.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEW OF THE SURVIVAL PAPERS by Robert G. Longpr√©— Through a Jungian Lens

I first read the Survival Papers: Anatomy of a Midlife Crisis in the 1990s when I was beginning a delayed journey through my own midlife crisis. As I read these words in the introduction to Daryl Sharp’s book, I saw an uncanny image of myself. Daryl Sharp had nailed it:

“This book is written for those in their middle years, male and female in more or less equal numbers, who have always managed quite well, have held down a job, perhaps married and had children, and then one day find that nothing works any more.”

This was me, a male who had held down a job, got married, had children and not quite all that sudden, found out that nothing worked anymore. Like so many others over the years since Sharp’s book appeared, people such as myself have discovered hope in the story of Norman, a fictional character who serves a role of analysand in the story, and a second role of illustrating complexes in action, the various faces of archetypes who lay beneath the surface of the human psyche. Norman becomes all of us and we recognise ourselves in him.

Likely the greatest value one is gifted with is the guidance through the unknowns of what happens, and the value of psychoanalysis. When midlife crisis disturbs one’s life with a conflict between the life one is living, and the sense that something is gravely missing, then and only then is there a need to enter into analysis.

“That is why the process of analysis is unproductive unless there is an active conflict. As long as outer life proceeds relatively smoothly, there is no need to deal with the unconscious. When it doesn't, there's no way to avoid it; we are automatically confronted with the other side.”

When I found Sharp’s book, I was already seeking counselling help but felt frustrated because it just wasn’t much more than a bandage approach to trying to fix whatever it was that felt broken. Reading the book, I gradually realised that Jungian analysis was my only hope for dealing with the shadows that hid in the darkness, shadows that had declared war on my ego.

I continued reading, highlighting so many sections that spoke out to me as though I was hearing echoes of a buried voice. Bit by bit as I turned the pages of his book, I began to believe that analysis might just be what I needed. There was no promise of being fixed. If anything, the only promise seemed to be that I would end up digging deeper and deeper into the layers, peeling one layer away at a time as if I was an onion. As Sharp went on to wander through the process of analysis with Norman, I saw that I had been invited to begin a journey that would be both enlightening and threatening. I immediately thought of the journey that Odysseus had taken across seas and foreign landscapes, a journey that ended with him finding his way home. In the process, Odysseus had changed and home had changed. That was the only promise that was given as I read the book. It was enough. I was hooked

It wasn’t long before I found myself devouring other books by Daryl Sharp and the other Jungian analysts who were featured in Sharp’s publishing venture called Inner City books. Encouraged by all that I read, I was ready to commit to working with a Jungian analyst, especially when I finally fell flat on my face and didn’t think I would ever stand upright again. Sharp’s book, The Survival Papers turned out to be exactly that for me, a route to survival.

Robert G. Longpr√©— Through a Jungian Lens