Aspects of The Spiritual Psychology of Nature: Exploring concepts of the spiritual aspect of nature as provided by certain theories of C. G. Jung

Prologue:

 

The author, H.W. Schroeder paper that is being used as a subject for my thesis is no doubt from the Jungian School of thinking, and was also a Research Social Scientist at the North Central Forest Experiment Station in Chicago. With a Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology, M.A. in Psychology, and a M.A. in Mathematics all from the University of Arizona, appears to be looking for that age old theorem of a unified theory between Man, Spirit and Nature.

 

Meta-Definitions:

Defining the Indefinable?

The definition of the word “Spiritual” as the author seems to struggle to define while adding a disclaimer “Any definition must therefore be viewed as provisional and incomplete”, citing, “This word carries many nuances of meaning and refers to a complex range of phenomena” (Schroeder 1992). However the statement that he uses to “Sum Up” the usage of the word as he “encountered it in regard to nature” leaves much to be desired. The author refers to being in touch with or in relation with some “other” as the definition of “Spiritual”, which is vague at best. The author then sets us up with yet another disclaimer, “In a spiritual experience, one encounter’s something larger or greater then one’s individual self. The “other” that one encounter’s need not be conceptualized in traditional religious terms” (Schroeder 1992).

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The author then goes on to expound that spiritual phenomena can only be explained if recognized in psychological terms and only then it becomes a legitimate topic for scientific discussion by citing (Abraham Maslow. 1974). My statement “Sum Up” of the use of the word “Spiritual” goes something like this as it relates to nature. “Spiritual” refers to the vital force or animating principle of life within all living things and existing independently of human activities or civilization, and the universe as a whole, with all its phenomena.

 

On Spirit, Nature, and the Supernatural:

What is Spirit?

Now the word or term “Spiritual” might just be the most misunderstood or undefined word in the English language. The concept of spirituality seems to exist beyond the mental understanding of any one point or state of being when it’s regarded outside the terms of religion and god which are only used in the context of “Spirituality”. Therefore I ponder: While I am Spiritual, but not Religious , nor do I need religion to believe in God if I want to believe in God.

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However the author goes on to say that (citing Maslow once again), “Perhaps this is because phenomena such as spirit and soul have traditionally been conceptualized in supernatural terms, a viewpoint rejected by science” (Maslow 1974).

 

What is Nature?

Now nature as we are to understand it scientifically is: The phenomena of the material world collectively, including plants, animals, and all physical products of the earth and made from the earth existing independently of all human activities or rather everything that was not made by man. Jung states in his theories that “Our psyche is part of nature, and its enigma is as limitless. Thus we cannot define either psyche or nature. We can merely state what we believe them to be and describe, as best we can, how they function” (Jung 1964, p.23)

 

 

Supernatural or Metaphysical?

Now as we have seen Jung himself has stated that we cannot define nature, but the author of the thesis which is the subject of this research paper lays claim that we can, citing (Maslow 1974) by simply taking the viewpoint of regarding spiritual phenomena as being “Psychological” in nature we can have a legit topic for “Scientific Discussion”. Unfortunately Jung stated in that “Our psyche is part of nature, and its enigma is as limitless. Thus we cannot define either psyche or nature.” And since the author is taking, “The viewpoint from which I will look at the spiritual aspects of nature in this paper is based on the depth psychology of C.G .Jung” (Schroeder 1992). So if psychology is the science and study of the mind and of behavior and mental processes, and the founder of “Depth Psychology” was a psychologist and psychiatrist who just happened to also have founded analytical psychology came to the conclusion that the mind (psych) and nature ( all things not made by man) cannot be defined, the terms now become preternatural/supernatural: “relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe or to appear to transcend the laws of the natural material order”. And now that we are looking at the terms regarding spirit and nature from the viewpoint as being psychological in nature of that special “Science” we can now discuss the supernatural as a legitimate topic for scientific discussion. 😉 Vining along with the author put forth the idea: that “Spiritual phenomenon, on the other hand emanate from the intuitive side of the psych, which manifests itself in an ambiguous language of nonverbal imagery and symbolism” (Vining and Schoreder 1987). As I stated previously the concept of spirituality seems to exist beyond the mental understanding of any one point or state of being.

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The “Sage of Kusnacht”:

Jung came to be known by this name as many believed him to be a mystic, which may not be so far from the truth for he was highly interested in the occult, philosophy, and that’s right Spiritualism! Going even as far as leading his students in experiments in the paranormal, but what he didn’t mention was that his family held séances, and he was an active member in these séances for many years. His dissertation “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena” was actually on the “séances” he took part in. Jung took great pains to distance himself from any involvement in the supernatural to protect his work from critics, always publically proclaiming himself a man of science, but in private dabbled with the preternatural, casting horoscopes and divination via the I Ching. From 1940 and thereafter Jung’s works centered on the ancient art known as alchemy, and no longer tried to hide that “other” side of himself which he kept in shadow for so many years.

 

On Archetypes, Individuation and Projections:

Archetypes: The “Other”, Giants upon the Earth?

Jung reminds us of the many layers or levels of the mind or psychThus we cannot define either psyche or nature. We can merely state what we believe them to be and describe, as best we can, how they function” (Jung 1964, p.23). In the upper levels of one’s psych we have consciousness, pre-consciousness and unconsciousness. But at a deeper layer below these lies the level of the:

“Collective unconscious, which contains basic, instinctive, patterns of behavior, emotion, and imagery that are common to all humans. These instinctive patterns, which are called “archetypes,” guide and give meaning to our interactions with other people and the world. They are the “other” that people encounter in spiritual experiences” (Schroeder 1992).

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There is that word again “other”. Now according to Jung these archetypes can express themselves in various ways using myths, fantasies and dreams as symbolic expressions by means of projection. Schroeder states that a psychologist from the Jungian school, while looking at spiritual experiences in nature might ponder what archetypes are being projected and what this might mean to the individual and the collective unconscious. The author also continues on and states: “When archetypes are projected onto natural environments, these environments evoke powerful emotions and take on profound significance” (Schroeder 1992).

 

Individuation: Do we perceive each other the same way we perceive ourselves?

The author’s statement on this subtopic starts off by citing Von Franz: “Jung noted that archetypal symbols and themes arose from not only mythology but also in the dreams and fantasies of individual people.” (Von Franz 1964). “These archetypes are crucial to the process of personal growth and change, a process that Jung called “individuation” (Von Franz 1964).

The author goes further and states that according to Jungian psychology, the ultimate goal and guiding force behind the individuation process is an archetype called “the Self.” The Self represents movement toward wholeness and the balancing of different sides of the psych into a unique and integrated personality (Schroeder 1992).

 

Projections: If our thoughts suggest we are did we dream ourselves into existence? Giving shape and form to our unconscious thoughts and desires. Projecting our thought forms upon nature. Are we making patterns rhyme?

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The author goes on to say that the Anima is what Jung described as the unconscious feminine side of man’s personality which is associated with the creative, intuitive, and spiritual aspects of life. The allure and fascination of wild setting may involve a projection of this archetype onto nature (Schroeder 1992). Citing Jung, he states that “Unconscious archetypes have a powerful effect on how people behave in the world (Jung 1960). The author states further that one must learn to see the difference between the inner archetype and the outer object or person onto which it is being projected. Then the author seems to give us some direction in the way of using this Jungian technique: “This archetype, projected onto forests and wilderness, could give rise to the perception of nature as the embodiment of perfect balance, beauty, symmetry, and wholeness” (Schroeder 1992).

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Epilogue:

In conclusion I feel know the basic aspects and ideas that Schroeder was trying to convey in regards to spiritual nature. After attempting to define and redefine the core essence of spirit, nature, and how humans relate to two important parts of our psych which are all interconnected and not separate. I believe my statement is supported by the author when he says: “We need to recognize that humans and nature or not separate and that spiritual phenomenon are therefore an inherent aspect of the natural world” (Schroeder 1992). In the end I think Schroeder finally had to admit that no matter how you look at it, or try to define it, or what viewpoint you take, you’re still left with many more questions than answers which is supported by the authors closing statement: “No single viewpoint can encompass all the dimensions of nature, but if we respect, listen to, and learn from each other, perhaps we can find a new management perspective that integrates both the sciences and the spirituality of natural environments” (Schroeder 1992).

Or maybe all the archetypes of the mythological gods and goddesses from our psych dreamed humanity into existence and have yet to awaken from their slumber.

 

Mike Strange.

 

 

References:
Schroeder, W.H. (1992), The Spiritual Aspect Of Nature: A Perspective From Depth Psychology. North Central Forest Experiment Station Chicago IL. : 25-30.

Jung, C.G. 1964. Man and his Symbols New York: Dell. 23-413 p.

Jung, C.G. 1933, Modern Man in Search of a Soul. New York:

Jung, C.G. 1960. On the nature of the psych. In Read, H, et al. (eds) , The Collected Works of C.G. Jung (vol.8). New York: Pantheon 159-234.

Maslow, A.H., Lowry R.J. 1974. Dominance, Self Esteem, Self Actualization (The A.H. Maslow series). Thomson Brooks/Cole.

 

 

 

 

The Elements of Style:

There are many factors which are involved in developing a personal style. What you choose to wear reflects who you are, and your personality. The different elements that you implement in the way you dress is called style, which is constantly evolving and developed over time which shows the world who you are and what you inspire to be.

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It is wise to experiment with many aspects of dress that express the “who you are” at any given time. Within this process you discover what you like and what you do not, by incorporating various elements in relation to your wardrobe.

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You may draw on many resources for inspiration, which are unique and personal to refine and redefine you wardrobe and sense of dress. This is called style, and the elements you use to accomplish this lies within and without you.

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 Knowing what works for you is the true magic of style. Being comfortable in your own skin is very important, as this allows and frees you to discover what you feel comfortable wearing. Discover the elements of your style!

Night Blindness and Xerophthalmia: It’s Causes and Treatment.

Night Blindness is a certain type of vision impairment also known as “Nyctaiopia”. People with nyctaiopia develop an inability to see or drive in darkness. The name “Night Blindness” however implies that you are unable to see at night, which is not the case, you simply just can’t see so well in dim lit environments due to poor vision in darkness.

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Xerophthalmia is defined as a medical condition in which the eye in unable to make tears, also often called “dryness of the eye”. This is a condition which is found in patients with immune disorders. Xerophthalmia can be caused by a severe deficiency of vitamin A, which is thought to be the most common cause. This condition is described as a “pathological dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea.”

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The conjunctiva then becomes wrinkled dry and thick. The only true symptom of night blindness is trouble seeing in the dark and people are more likely to suffer this condition while shifting from a bright room to one that is dark, or while driving experience poor vision; with the first symptom being a deficiency of vitamin A which causes one to be unable to see objects in dim light or in the evening.

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The earliest onset of symptoms from xerophthalmia include hot discomfort, corneal xerosis, bitot’s spots and keratomlacia. The most common causes of disease is a lack of vitamin A and or lupus. Certain medications also may cause this disease such as antihistamines, drugs chemical burns and X-linked factors.

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Night blindness can only be diagnosed by a battery of tests by an eye doctor. Night blindness can only be properly treated by determining the cause, hence the various test and eye exams. Treating night blindness may be as mild as a new pair of corrective lens or surgery to changing your medication for glaucoma.

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Xerophthalmia treatment can be done in one of two ways. Treating the deficiency or treating the symptoms. If the deficiency, vitamin A supplements or eating foods rich in vitamin A. The treatment of the symptom can be done by eye drops or artificial tears.

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The Art of Shopping in Your Own Closet.

 Many people spend tons of money on new clothes every season just to stay in style; and if you’re like me, you can purchase new items only just to wear them once or twice and then forget about them for months or even years. Have you ever went shopping for new clothes, and just could not find anything you really liked, or fit your style?  Shopping in your own closet can save you the trouble when that happens as well as a lot of money.

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As a stylist, many of my clients complain that the “new styles” out for men just don’t appeal to them, or that spending so much money on new clothes every season is not working for them.

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Shopping in your closet can, and does most of the time solve this problem. Many times have I found “lost treasures” hiding in the back of the closet or in storage bins just waiting to be reinvented into a whole new wardrobe! It is important to take some time and sort through your closets and draws and find new ways to mix and match items you already have to create an entire new wardrobe.

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Many of us gain or lose weight during the course of the year and just toss these perfectly good items aside. What you can do for slacks and pants (if you lost weight) is too take them to your tailor or your local cleaners and have the waist taken in to your current waist size. This can also work with suits and jackets that you are now swimming in due to losing weight.

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Next, try wearing old shirts in a new way creating a different look with other forgotten items to make new and interesting outfits, for example I recently found a bag of old ties, and lo and behold my creative juices started flowing and found at least five different outfits to wear them with for a new look. I also found some great sweaters I forgot about, and created four outfits using them as a center piece or to augment new outfits; the key is to look at old wardrobe items in a new way. Old coats or sport jackets can be revived by simple changing the buttons, or wearing them with accessories that reflect a whole new look.

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You can also mix and match suits and suit separates to achieve a whole new style or look with just a bit of creativity. As you can see, with just a little time and patience and creativity you can find and repurpose clothes you already have in your closet or elsewhere, and mix them into new combinations, which will not only save you money, but keep you looking great and stylish!

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Causes of Heart Failure Due to Heart Disease.

 

Heart disease is described as “any pathological condition of the coronary arteries, heart valves, myocardium, or electrical conduction system of the heart.” Heart failure can occur in a many number of ways, it frequently happens after one or more conditions have weakened and or damaged the heart. When the heart can, no longer pump blood to the body in a normal fashion, the ventricles (chambers) do not fill up with enough blood to supply the lungs and the body system with oxygenated blood between heart beats.

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Heart failure most commonly starts in the left ventricle (which is the main pumping chamber) but it can also begin in the right or both sides.  When the blood flow’s retrograde back into the lungs, liver or abdomen it is called congestive heart failure.

Coronary artery disease which is the most common form of heart failure and disease, over a period of time the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscles become clogged with fatty deposits or “Plaque” that restricts the flow of blood a condition called atherosclerosis, a myocardial infarction occurs when plaque causes a rupture in the arteries.

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Hypertension: (High blood pressure), the force of blood pumped through the arteries by the heart, if the pressure is to high the heart has to work harder to carry blood to the body, in time your heart can become so weak that it can no longer carry blood to the entire body. Myocarditis, which is a inflammation can be caused by a virus and lead to left-sided heart failure.

 

Heart arrhythmia: which are abnormalities of the hearts beating rhythms that can cause the heart to beat fast and work too hard resulting in the weakening of heart and in time causing heart failure.  Myocardial infarction (heart failure) results in about 10%-20% of deaths from people suffering from this disease out of 400,000 diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone.

 

Coronary Pulmonale: a type of pulmonary blood flow obstruction, which is caused by lung disorders, is a type of right-sided heart failure that overloads the right side of the heart. My paternal aunt died from this form of heart disease many years ago, so I feel that everyone should be made aware of the causes and prevention of heart disease.

 

The ejection fraction which is the blood proportion in the hearts ventricles, that’s pumped from the heart occurring in each contraction. This ejection fraction is about between 55%-78% in healthy patients. The blood is ejected from the lower ventricles into the aorta and pulmonary artery to supply blood to the lungs and systemic circulation to the human body. The blood must travel to the lungs to become re-oxygenated.

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Various conditions can damage the heart’s conduction system such as heart attack or Endocarditis, and interrupt the electrical impulses, or signals that coordinate the heart’s muscle rhythmic beating. In essence the heart pumps blood through the body by means of the four chambers within the heart itself called the atrium and ventricles.

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By contracting using the bio-electro impulses created by structures located in the heart’s wall known as the sinoatrial node, also known as the “pacemaker”, the atrioventricular node, the bundle of his and Purkinje fibers. Any abnormalities of the heart rhythm, is called dysrhythmia.

Heart block is a form of dysrhythmia, in which the electrical impulses are blocked from getting to the ventricular myocardium (ventricle heart muscles) that results in AV node block, causing the ventricle chambers to contract a very slow rate, this condition is known as bradycardia.

“The American Heart Association reports that between 1999 and 2009, the rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) declined 32.7 percent. However, CVD still accounts for about one in three deaths in the U.S. And the biggest barriers to continued reduction in CVD deaths appear to be the growing prevalence of obesity and diabetes.”

 

However there are ways to guard against heart disease. “Leslie Cho, MD, Director of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic, and Editor-in-Chief of Heart Advisor” say’s: “The value of exercise and fitness can’t be overstated when it comes to heart health. And even if you’ve lived a rather sedentary life, your body will respond if you increase the amount of physical activity in your daily routine.”     

There are many factors that may lead to heart disease, such as being very over weight, smoking, unhealthy diet, being over stressed.  African Americans seem to be at a higher risk, other preventions include eating a well rounded diet and getting plenty of exercise which can reduce your chances of suffering from heart disease.

Also by limiting the amount of salt intake and drinking in moderation can also go along way help reduce your risk. Also by avoiding stress whenever possible and maintaining a healthy body weight.

It is important that everyone that’s good care of their heart and health so that they can live a long and productive life for many years to come. Dr. Leslie Cho, also states that “the details of the diet are less important than it be one that is low in saturated fats, low in sodium and small in portion size.”

“A lot of people eat healthy food but sometimes just too much food,” she says. “It’s important to have moderation in your diet.”

She also states that “it’s important to know what your goal weight is and try to reach that weight and maintain it throughout the year.”

Carl Jung: His Views on Spiritual Psychology.

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Carl Jung is one of the most important figures in psychology. His unique approach as a psychiatrist, as well as being the founder of analytical psychology has made his body of work very influential. Carl Gustav Jung spend most of his life investigating many spiritual aspects, including astrology and alchemy, Western and Eastern philosophical thought and Occultism. Because of this many regarded him as a mystic.

An attempt to depict the creative activities of Prajapati; a steel engraving from the 1850's, with modern hand coloring

Jung put forth the idea that “Art Therapy” can be used as a tool to treat anxiety, trauma and fear. Believing art can heal and restore someone who suffers from emotional stress and trauma.

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His theory of collective unconscious, synchronicity is just some of his major contributions to psychology. The very popular “psychometric indicator”, “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or (MBTI) has been developed by Jung’s theories. Jung had a strong affinity to the spiritual realms and reflected much of it in is work and practice.

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“Jung emphasized the importance of balance and he cautioned that modern humans rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from intergrating spirituality and appreciation of the unconscious realm.” Jung believed that humans should set upon a quest for “wholeness” (the merging of the conscious and unconscious of our psyche). This process which he referred to as “individuation”, Jung felt very strongly that the spiritual experience was crucial to our overall well being. Jung focused his work in 1940 and after mainly on alchemy. Jung held that “life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals.” Or rather we must discover and fulfill our deep innate and unique potential.

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Psychology and Alchemy was published by Jung in 1944. In this work Jung analyzed the symbols of the alchemical process and pointed out the relationship in synch with the psychoanalysis process.
“He argued that the alchemical process was the transformation of the impure soul (lead) to perfected soul (gold), and a metaphor for the individuation process.”

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Carl Jung throughout his life as a clinical and therapist, he always considered himself a scientist. But due to his tangential ideas and thinking, many tried to discredit him and others that because of his ideas and thoughts as “paranormal” in nature. As a child Carl Jung “Claimed that one night he saw a faintly luminous and indefinite figure coming  from his mother’s room, with a head detached from the neck and floating in the air in front of the body.”

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One of Carl Jung’s quotes reflects his theories and thoughts on the collective unconscious. “We meet ourselves time and time again in a thousand disguises on the path of life”. Another one of his quotes points out his views on Individuation, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
In conclusion, Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, brilliant thinker and father of analytical psychology. His extensive study of Buddhism, Christianity, Gnosticism, Hinduism, Taoism, as well as many other spiritual traditions, led him to believe that we must all embark on a journey of transformation (individuation), which he stated that is the mystical heart of all religions. “It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Unlike Sigmund Freud, Jung thought spiritual experience was essential to our well being.”