The Light Itself

The Light Itself

An Essay on Attainment

Be what is lacking in the World. Create a life worth living.


Mastering the Unconscious

An entire side of the individual lies hidden in the Unconscious depth of the psyche. It is probably bigger and more complex than its conscious counterpart, judging by what psychology has charted so far. That unknown part of us is hindering our progress. It cannot remain hidden. To bring the Unconscious into the light, however, we must be willing to face whatever bubbles up. Our fears, our trauma, our pain, no matter how scary they are, will have to be dealt with for any aspiration of Attainment to be viable. Carl Jung called individuation the work of merging the individual with the True Self. His method tackles the psychological side of our Work. Individuation is how we bring the Unconscious into the light.

Marketing influences the world with psychological tricks in order to commodify humans. The power that be doesn’t see us as individuals, but as attention farms waiting to be leased to the highest bidder. A sound psyche sees the tricks. One is never completely free from influence, but individuation is key to bring us closer to autonomy. Conditioning can be broken. Our addictions to phones, sugar, sex, public attention, social validation and drama can all go away if we so decide. All it takes is commitment. Emancipation from addiction is possible if we take back control over our attention. Indeed humans are animals, easily distracted by shiny things. Those who profit from our attention know it and they abuse it. They promise things we don’t want by convincing us we need them. By the time we can think about it and realize we’ve been duped, they are already waving another shiny thing. And the dog fetches the stick. Our attention is scattered, but, if we collect ourselves and reclaim control of our attention, they lose their influence.

When our psyche isn’t preyed upon, we still have our own demons to handle. We don’t need the power that be to create illusions; we fool ourselves just fine. Our suffering paralyzes us and makes us forget that pain is growth. Failure is only a step towards success. If success could be attained by simply doing it, it wouldn’t be called success. A simple task like finishing a meal isn’t characterized as success. It is something we do. For it to be characterized as success, it takes a challenge. Where there is a challenge there is a potential failure. Seeing those failures as pain is a bias. Mistake made under the weight of emotions leads to fear. However, fear isn’t a weakness either; it is a tool to protect us from pain. It is the mechanism upon which is balanced the survival of the human species. We fear the unknown and the misunderstood. Once we have accepted pain as a part of the human experience, as a part of our life, we free ourselves from fear. Neither pain nor fear will go away, but the individuated psyche treats them as tools for a better living.

A tendency is an Unconscious emotional reaction leading to an unwanted and usually unnoticed behaviour. Tendencies lie under the murky surface of the lake of our Unconscious. They emerge subtly. They don’t like to be seen. Therein lies the key to overcoming them. Tendencies are creatures of darkness that fear the light of the conscious Mind. Once discovered, they weaken and eventually vanish. It follows that all we have to do to break a tendency is becoming aware of it and looking at it without judgment, with absolute honesty. We don’t blame ourselves, but we face our mistake and promise to do better next time. Oh, there will be a next time. The skill of breaking tendencies mastered, we are equipped to combat negative thoughts, anger, envy, pride, avarice, grief… We are capable of fixing our flaws and nothing can hurt us.

One of the most fascinating, yet strangely practical contributions of Carl Jung’s is the concept of the archetypes. In the Unconscious are universal patterns, symbolic personified aspect or themes of human life. These left unchecked govern the individual’s behaviour by way of tendencies such as repression, projection and identification. The Anima or Animus, for example, is the opposite sex idealized that holds our views on love, relationships and sex. Repressing our Anima/Animus is the denial of that archetype, the stubborn refusal to face our idealized views and our impulses related to love. Repression of an archetype leads to identification with it, which can manifest in unrealistic desires, for example. It also leads to projection, which makes us blame others for our own shortcomings, related to the archetype in question. The unfaithful husband or wife being overly jealous is a good example of projection of the Anima or Animus. Just like any tendency, it is by bringing the behaviour triggered by the archetype to light that we overcome its power over us. If we blame the world for our personal shortcomings we remain unconscious our entire life and become the puppet of the world. We do what we are told, vote when we are told and buy a new phone when we are told. Attainment is the way to free ourselves by becoming responsible for our actions. Carl Jung’s Individuation process is nothing more than bringing the archetypes in harmony with the True Self.
The most ubiquitous of the archetypes is undoubtedly the Shadow. It is the unconscious aspect of our personality that is foreign to our ideal self. In other words, the Shadow is the things we are, but wish we weren’t. It is common for individuals to blame others for their own flaws, which is called projecting the Shadow.
In our quest for Attainment and of Enlightenment specifically, one archetype will be essential to tame: the God-Image. The Archetype of the God-Image is our ideas of God and the divine in general; it is the source of our faith. Even the non-religious has a God-Image archetype to come to grip with. Ignoring it, of course, is repression which leads to identification or projection. The GNOSIS we experience in the course of our Work is overwhelming at times. We would be wise to not fancy ourselves a prophet too quickly, nor aggressively blame others for their beliefs.

The Unconscious speaks to us in symbols, mostly through dreams. Therefore, studying dreams comes as a quite reliable way to discover ourselves. We must develop a method to remember our dreams if we want any control. This can be achieved in two phases. First we engage the memory right before sleep. As we prepare to go to bed, we make an effort to remember the day we’ve had. It can help to compare the day as it happened to the day we expected to have. In this way we engage emotionally with the content of our memory while activating it right before sleep. When sleep comes that night, we make the resolve to remember the dreams. It is best stated simply and clearly such as ‘I want to remember my dreams tonight’. The second phase of the exercise comes the next morning. As we wake up, we try to remember. This is where the exercise bears its fruit. At the beginning, we might not remember much, if anything at all, but memories of dreams will eventually appear in our memory. Soon enough they will pop like mushrooms. The content of the dream so recovered from oblivion is symbolic and prone to interpretation. We must prevent ourselves from jumping to conclusions. Not all dreams are messages and not all messages are important. This is where the training of the Mind from the previous chapter saves us from bigotry (a belief rooted in ignorance). Be warned, this simple exercise of analysing dreams can lead to legitimate GNOSIS. By engaging a conversation with the Unconscious, we potentially engage in a conversation with the divine that sleeps within us. As such, the practice should be treated with respect.

The activity of modern life hooks us on doing, speaking, thinking and we forget to simply be. We have seen how to handle tendencies. This one is of particular interest for the Work. Humans are helplessly addicted to doing, speaking and thinking. The essence of life is being. Being alive is existing, nothing more. Doing and thinking make us scattered. We need the ability to focus if we want to be able to do the Work. Between our actions and our thoughts lies the peaceful silence of being, our default state. Breaking addiction to activity teaches stillness. We need it for the coming practice of meditation.

Exercise: Dreams

Dreams are messages from the Unconscious, cloaked in symbols. Studying dreams hone the skill of internal communication and teach the language of symbols by way of immersion.

Let the practitioner follow these instructions:

  1. At night, before bedtime, let one remember one’s day as precisely as possible from the present to the moment one woke up: getting in bed, undressing, entering the bedroom, bathing and so on until waking up. This engages the memory before sleep.
  2. Let one wait for sleep to come.
  3. When the first signs of sleep appear, let one mentally express the following intent in a clear and determined manner: ‘I want to remember all my dreams.’ This tells the Unconscious Mind that a conversation is desired.
  4. Let one allow sleep to happen.
  5. In the morning, let one make a conscious effort to remember all one’s dreams.
  6. After a few days or weeks, the first few dreams should appear clearly in memory.
  7. For the most advanced practitioner, now that a basic level of awareness has been developed while dreaming, just enough to allow memory to operate, lucid dreaming is now accessible. All that is required is for one to change the intent before sleep in the following manner: ‘I want to remember all my dreams and when I dream I know that I dream.’ This practice should allow one to be conscious while dreaming.
  8. Let one attempt to understand the meaning of the dreams remembered through this technique. Let one beware of jumping to conclusion lest one creates for oneself a world of self-delusion. Let one understand the symbols and explore the meaning without attachment or emotional involvement and one will learn the art of having a conversation with the part of oneself that is usually unknown.

Recommended Reading

The concepts of this chapter are coming from the work of Carl C. Jung. “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious” as well as “Aion” are the most relevant.