THE DETACHMENT OF CONSCIOUSNESS FROM THE OBJECT

BY UNDERSTANDING the unconscious we free ourselves from its domination.  This is really also the purpose of the instruction in (the Secret of the Golden Flower).  The pupil is taught to concentrate on the light of the inmost region and, while doing so, to free himself from all outer and inner entanglements.  SotGF 122

This detachment is something I am familiar with in my practice; I is the therapeutic effect par excellence, for which I labour with my students and patients, that is, the dissolution of participation mystique.  With a stroke of genius, Lévy-Bruhl has established participation mystique as being the hallmark of primitive mentality.  As described by him it is simply the indefinitely large remnant of non-differentiation between subject and object, still so great among primitives that it cannot fail to strike European man, identified as he is with the conscious standpoint.  In so far as the difference between subject and object does not become conscious, unconscious identity prevails.  The unconscious is then projected into the object, and the object is introjected into the subject, that is, psychologized.  Plants and animals then behave like men; men are at the same time themselves and animals also, and everything is alive with ghosts and gods.  Naturally, civilized man regards himself as immeasurably above these things.  Instead, often he is identified with his parents throughout his life, or his is identified with his affects and prejudices, and shamelessly accuses others of the things he will not see in himself.  In a word, even he is afflicted with a remnant of primal unconsciousness, or non-differentiation between subject and object. 

But if the unconscious can be recognized as a co-determining quantity along with the conscious, and if we can live in such a way that conscious and unconscious, or instinctive demands, are given recognition as far as possible, the centre of gravity of the total personality shifts its position.  It ceases to be in the ego, which is merely the centre of consciousness, and instead is located in a hypothetical point between the conscious and the unconscious, which might be called the self.  If such a transposition succeeds, it results in doing away with participation mystique, and a personality develops that suffers only in the lower stories, so to speak, but in the upper stories is singularly detached from painful as well as joyful events.  SotGF 124

The creation and birth of this superior personality is what is meant by our text when I speaks of the ‘holy fruit’, the ‘diamond body’, or refers in other ways to an indestructible body.  These expressions are psychologically symbolical of an attitude which is out of reach of intense emotional involvement and therefore safe from absolute shock; they symbolize a consciousness detached from the world.   SotGF 124

To the psyche death is just as important as birth and, like it, is an integral part of life.  SotGF 124

… as a physician, I make a great effort to fortify the belief in immortality as far as I can, especially in my older patients, for whom such questions are crucial.  If viewed correctly in the psychological sense, death is not an end but a goal, and therefore life towards death begins as soon as the meridian is passed. 

    The Chinese philosophy of yoga is based upon the fact of this instinctive preparation for death as a goal, and, following the analogy with the goal of the first half of life, namely, begetting and reproduction, the means towards perpetuation of physical life, it takes as the purpose of spiritual existence the symbolic begetting and bringing to birth of a psychic spirit-body (‘subtle body’), which ensures the continuity of the detached consciousness.  It is the pneumatic man, known to the European from antiquity, which he, however, seeks to produce by quite other symbols and magical practices, by faith and a Christian way of life.  SotGF 125

(Behind the book [Secret of the Golden Flower]) is a culture thousands of years old, one which has built organically upon primitive instincts and which, therefore, knows nothing of the arbitrary morality violating the instincts characteristic of us as recently civilized Teutonic barbarians.  For this reason the Chinese are without that impulse towards violent repression of the instincts which hysterically exaggerates and poisons our spirituality.

The man who lives his instincts can also detach from them, and in just as natural a way as he lived them.  SotGF 126

We must never forget our historical premises.  Only a little more than a thousand years ago we stumbled from the crudest beginnings of polytheism into the midst of a highly developed Oriental religion (Christianity?) which lifted the imaginative minds of half-savages to a height that did not correspond to their degree of spiritual development.  In order to maintain this height in some fashion or other, the instinctual sphere inevitably had to be repressed to a great extent.  Thus religious practice and morality took a markedly violent, almost malicious, character.  The repressed elements naturally do not develop, but vegetate further in their original barbarism in the unconscious.   SotGF 126

(equanimity)   Recently I received a letter from a former patient which pictures the necessary transformation in simple but pertinent words.  She writes: ‘Out of evil, much good has come to me.  By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive, and by accepting reality – taking things as they are, and not as I wanted them to be – by doing all this, unusual knowledge has come to me, and unusual powers as well, such as I could never have imagined before.  I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other.  This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them (Dissolution of participation mystique).  So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow that are forever alternating, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides.  Thus everything becomes more alive to me.  What a fool I was!  How I tried to force everything to go according to the way I thought it ought to!’   SotGF 127

Cont’d …

Only on the basis of such an attitude, which renounces none of the values won in the course of Christian development, but which, on the contrary, tries with Christian charity and forbearance to accept even the humblest things in oneself, will a higher level of consciousness and culture be possible.  This attitude is religious in the truest sense, and therefore therapeutic, for all religions are therapies for the sorrows and disorders of the soul.  SotGF 127

Y/Y … But it is only a matter of time until the counter position forces recognition of itself one way or another.  Aping an attitude always produces an unstable situation, which can be overthrown by the unconscious at any time.  A safe foundation is found only when the instinctive premises of the unconscious win the same consideration as the viewpoints of the conscious mind.  SotGF 127

… anyone with a more than superficial desire to understand cannot fail to discover that without the most serious application of the Christian values we have acquired the new integration can never take place.  SotGF 127