Essay: Embracing the American Shadow

“Everyone carries a Shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”
~ Carl Jung ~

Challenges

In this essay, I want to talk about the challenges currently facing America, as it is a country I have very fond memories of. I lived and worked there for thirteen years in the 70s and 80s and got an enormous amount out of the experience and was privileged to have encountered some of the wisest people I have ever met anywhere. Like many of my American friends, I have found it very painful to see what has been going on in their country for the last four years, and in these pages I want to suggest a slightly different approach both to viewing and to dealing with the many challenges which America is currently facing. Continue reading

Addressing Evil in the World

My Dear Friends,

While I feel my heart open in appreciating the beauty and magnificence of life, a large part of me continues to feel sad at some of the dreadful things currently going on in the world. Right now, I think of the increasing proliferation of conspiracy theories.

Yes, in no way unintelligent friends of mine, many not unspiritual – I call them “conspiritualists”(!) – are sending me emails telling me that everything Q Anon says is true, that the earth really is flat, that the pandemic is a huge hoax, that Bill Gates is planning to take over the world (twenty years ago, it was Rockefeller that got clobbered), that the Jewish millionaire George Soros is plotting to destroy Hungary through the deliberate importation of migrants, i.e., that he wishes to replace white Christian Europeans with brown-skinned Muslims! I have not the slightest doubt that this is what they believe.

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Looking to the Future: Breakdown or Breakthrough

“Evolution is life-oriented. It is ‘good’ but not kind. It does not care for the feelings of individuals.”

~ Barbara Marx Hubbard ~

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The Big Questions

So what lies ahead for us human beings? Are we well on the way towards extinction – finito – the end of the great experiment of humanity? Or are we going to continue stumbling along – a wounded, bleeding society – going nowhere fast? Conversely, is the crumbling away of our existing world which is certainly happening and is currently being speeded up by this virus, somehow going to lead us to ‘break through’ to something new – to a new, higher-order human being and a hugely improved world which works not just for the few but for the many?

Certainly, human consciousness has been rapidly evolving over the last sixty years where we’ve seen the birth of women’s rights, animal rights and in the 60’s we had the hippy movement followed by the emergence of the Human Potential movement. Today, millions of people all over the world are becoming increasingly interested in evolving their consciousness and in developing their spirituality. Most importantly, we are seeing a powerful shift away from the isolated, highly individuated ego, responsible for so much human suffering, war and patriarchy, with increasing numbers of us realising that the next step of our human evolution is towards thinking and operating much more as a human collective. Today, there are so many important questions which we all need to be asking ourselves. Perhaps one of the most significant is:

Are we as a species capable of extricating ourselves out of this very, very deep hole that we have over the years been digging, and if so, what might be the conditions necessary for this to happen?

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Faith in Oneself, Faith in Others

In his book The Art of Being’, Erich Fromm said this:

Faith in life, in oneself, on others, must be built on the hard rock of realism; that is to say, on the capacity to see evil where it is, to see swindle, destructiveness and selfishness, not only when they are obvious, but in their many disguises and rationalisations.

And we’ve just seen undisguised evil in the premeditated murder of the Saudi reporter Jamal Kashoggi who in his death, has perhaps drawn more attention to everything that is wrong with the Saudi regime – especially with all power now being concentrated in the hands of one man – than ever he could have achieved in his life.
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Gaia’s Wrath

Oh dear, more crazy weather. A typhoon ends in one part of the globe only to be replaced by a tsunami or an earthquake in another. And more innocent people die.

Earth - Our Blue Planet

Our planet is fed up with the way we have been treating her and in the same way that if we treat another person badly, they won’t particularly like us, Gaia is fighting back. She’s pissed off with humanity. And quite damn right. Thank goodness for organisations like Avaaz who are coordinating huge campaigns in this area as not enough of our politicians take climate change seriously enough as always it is the poor people, those least responsible for having f-d up our planet, who pay the price.
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The Resacralisation of the Planet

“The Resacralisation of the Planet” is a video lecture that I made for the 2016 Feeding The Soul World Summit. It addresses the price we pay for the secularisation of our society and how we can again bring sacred meaning back into the world; exploring the current world situation according to the three states of being in Satish Kumar’s book The Spiritual Compass.

The Rescralisation of the Planet

Trump, Clinton & the Dark Side of America

When I work with people in therapy I notice that often, just before they are about to make a big breakthrough – a significant leap to another level – they often have to come face to face with some of the worst things about themselves that are standing in the way. If they can confront and, as it were, embrace or integrate their dark side, then they will move to the next level and if not, they won’t. This process, however, is never easy. It is always painful when one has an image about oneself as being a kind, helpful person only to discover one has a shadow side living inside one that is exactly the opposite! Well, the same thing holds true of the evolution of the larger human collective – humanity as a whole also has a dark side – and so does America and I believe that, as a nation, America is poised on the threshold of making such a leap.

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Heart to Heart on Brexit

QUESTION. ‘Serge, can you comment on the whole Brexit situation?

Well, it ‘s crazy times, isn’t it. This leaving the EU which we’ve been part of for so many years, has resulted in Cameron falling on his sword, a rebellion against Jeremy Corbyn and the possible splitting up of the Labour party, together with our seeing some rather ugly racism rear its head in England. As Lord Hazeltine said on the late-night news: ‘We are facing the greatest constitutional crisis the country has had since the great war.’

For me, who wanted England to stay part of the EU, this break feels such an abrupt one. It’s as if a partner whom you had felt secure with – even though there were always a few ripples of unrest – suddenly tells you that they want a divorce and that life will be much better for you without them. You don’t realise how important and secure-making the relationship was until it is no more. And now everything is up in the air. None of us know, least of all our politicians, where anyone or anything stands and what our ‘exiting’ really involves.

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How do We Deal with Depression?

How do we deal with depression?

Depression is a terribly debilitating condition and in this chaotic world of ours with its topsy-turvy values, lifestyles that have become increasingly inorganic and artificial and a media constantly feeding us doses of gloom and doom, it is, very sadly, on the increase.  How does it affect us? It drains us of our life force. It makes us feel bad about ourselves and dislike ourselves. When depression comes over us, we live in a world where the glass is always half empty. If severe, it can compel us to hide away from life and many depressed people drink or take drugs to try to numb the pain.

We need to know that there are many different kinds of depression and they occupy many different levels on the spectrum. For me, they fall into five main categories:

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Linking Being a Psychotherapist with Being an Activist

A few years ago, I used to feel there was a dichotomy between my roles as psychotherapist and social activist. Increasingly, I am coming to see where they converge, as many of our personal difficulties mirror social problems and many social and economic problems are reflected in our emotional symptoms.

Interestingly, what I have also found with my clients, is that those people heal their emotional wounds much more quickly to the extent that they are willing to stand up for social values they believe in and see their lives not solely from a personal viewpoint – what do I want; what’s in it for me? – but who also experience being part of a larger whole and needing in some way, to live in a way that contributes to this larger whole of life. In other words, if many of our personal problems revolve around our not experiencing enough “meaning” in our lives (as when we subscribe to society’s diminishing description of us as mere “consumers” (Yuk!), I have found that the more we commit ourselves to, as Gandhi would put it, being “the change we want to see happen”, i.e., trying to actually embody the values we believe in in how we live our daily lives, the happier we feel.

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