Five Ways Jung led us to the Inner Life

by

Gary S. Bobroff

 

Lying behind much of the way we talk about the inner life today is the work of the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung. He revolutionized how we discuss dreams and archetypes and gave us our words “introvert,” “extravert” and “synchronicity.” However, what made him a true psychological pioneer was that he looked inside himself in a way that is still unique today.

#1) Dreams

From earliest beginnings of human civilization, we have considered dreams a doorway to the soul. Jung saw that they showed us parts of ourselves that were being rejected by our waking consciousness: strengths unexpressed and shadow figures run amok; qualities that we were missing about ourselves; and desires that we’d rather not acknowledge. The mission of dreams was to balance us, to compensate for our often one-sided attitude toward life and lead us to integrate what we need for health and growth. We know today that dreams can have messages for us that are not only psychologically relevant, but even biologically urgent, relaying information about illness. Jung introduced the term “wholeness” to describe the aim of the unconscious: the further filling out of ourselves; an increasing completeness in the unique being that we are.

#2) Personality Types

Jung saw the differing pathways in our personalities. He observed that some people got energy from interacting with people, while others were drained by it. Introvert or extravert, intuitive or sensate, thinking or feeling; he described these differing forms as Psychological Types and they led to today’s MBTI categories. In normalizing different kinds of personality, Jung helped us to get over our natural biases against other types.

While he recognized variety in human personality, Jung believed that there was no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. He saw each individual as having a unique blueprint for growth, an untold inner story, and he knew – from his own experience – that one man’s medicine is another’s poison.

 “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” – C. G. Jung

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