Embarking on the Spiritual Journey: Mindfulness and Depth Psychology

sunset Carp beach

 

Pema Chodron has written: “Embarking on the spiritual journey is like getting into a very small boat and setting out on the ocean to search for unknown lands.” This quote beckons to how mindfulness and depth psychology serve complimentary journeys, in that both invite us into active agency with our inner landscape and a deeper intimacy in relational engagement.

Borrowing Chodron’s metaphor of sitting in a boat as our inner witness, mindfulness and depth psychology require more of us than simply noticing the waves, the water where it is clear or murky, volatile or calm, or watching islands of earth rising above the shore. Rather, we are asked to get to know the landscapes of the self intimately, to slow down and dive gently into the depths of the water itself, or to what Clarissa Pinkola Estes has called the “river beneath the river.” Mindfulness teachers often instruct meditators to experience “how the breath breathes you” rather than to simply notice the breath, for instance. In a related way, people immersed in the openness of creative processes often share that they feel that the song is singing them or the poem writing them.  In those moments, perception expands beyond ego and into the proverbial web of interconnection.

When we actively include compassion-based meditation into depth psychological work and we face the most profoundly disturbing or injured parts of ourselves, which often emerge in the language of dreams and in the context of relationships, this additional way of working with shadow aspects may result in experiencing suffering in a different way. A wound, through embodied inquiry, may become a generative and flowering tree of creative expression with the soil fed by the many small deaths of fearful ego and anxious clinging along the way. One may gradually release oneself from the shackles of internal fantasy to the contributions of imagination. When falling back into older patterns and complexes, as one always will, since we are human after all and those demons beckon, we know that this is a dip in the spiral and not an eternal state. Thus, without undue judgement, dwelling, or avoidance, we compassionately hold ourselves through this moment and the next, trusting in the non-linearity of moment to moment existence and the paradoxical and impermanent nature of things. When this is extended toward interactions with others and into community, we may surprise ourselves by finding that we are more able to act with fortitude for human rights and justice, while not getting caught up in the “eye for an eye” provocation of revenge, nor collapsing into passivity. As C.G. Jung said, depth psychological process is “an opus, a work.” It sure is.

We have certainly been experiencing all manifestations of human reaction and response in recent times. We have also been seeing the emergence of an exquisite joining of hands in collective agency that arises out of a deep concern for our fellow beings and planet. Underneath our processes of chanting and marching, there may be a silent tectonic shift occurring that only future generations will live to tell about. That is the beauty of the depth and mindful path—that it is ultimately a path of service.

Coming back to the metaphor of the boat, I close with a favorite poem of mine entitled “Oceans.” Juan Ramon Jimenez’s words speak beautifully to the subtle nature of movement in a life devoted to depth psychological processes and the unfolding that may become the foreground to the background of mindfulness:

“ I have a feeling that my boat

has struck, down there in the depths,

against a great thing.

And nothing

Happens!…Silence…Waves…

Nothing happens? Or has everything

happened,

And are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?”

 

Please come to a retreat I am co-facilitating. It begins on the evening of Sunday, April 9th and closes at noon on Wednesday, April 12th! Radhule and I would love to have you with us! Registration is $150 for students, $ $250 for senior citizens, and $295 regular price. For more information and to register, please go to the Pacifica Graduate Institute Retreat website:

http://www.retreat.pacifica.edu

 

 

 

Join Me on April 9-12, 2017 at Pacifica Retreat Program

China red Buddha in caveI will be facilitating a retreat/CE workshop at Pacifica Graduate Institute on April 9 1 12, 2017. Radhule Weininger will join me as co-facilitator. It will be a time of self-care, creativity, contemplation, and sanctuary. We hope to see you there!

 

 

Here is the page to the retreat programs along with a blog post that I wrote. Ours is called The Creative Dance of Mindfulness and Depth Psychology

https://retreat.pacifica.edu

 

 

 

The Creative Dance of Mindfulness and Depth Psychology

Kwan Yin Rain

Please join me at the beautiful campus of Pacifica Graduate Institute on April 9th -12th, 2017 for this retreat! I am co-facilitating this retreat with Radhule Weininger!

I would really love to have you with us! A brief description may be viewed below and if you click on the following link, you will be led to a more detailed description and an opportunity to register:

https://retreat.pacifica.edu/the-creative-dance-of-mindfulness-and-depth-psychology/

The Creative Dance of Mindfulness and Depth Psychology

With Juliet Rohde-Brown and Radhule Weininger

For those new to mindfulness meditation and/or depth psychology as well as those who with personal and clinical experience

This contemplative retreat introduces mindfulness and compassion-based meditation practices in the context of depth psychology. Self-compassion expands one’s capacity to directly face ego-driven tendencies as well as what depth psychology refers to as shadow aspects of the self. These practices also nourish the ability to care for others and to open to forgiveness.

Juliet and Radhule will offer brief dharma talks and experiential exercises to open participants to creative processes of self-discovery. Interactive discussions will also be included on topics that bridge centuries-old practices of mindfulness with depth psychological considerations, such as: the intersubjective field, complexes, archetypes, dreams, and the transcendent function. Further, participants will be invited to consider what mindfulness means and explore concepts of self/Self and no-self in individual and collective contexts.

Join Juliet and Radhule for this contemplative and practice-based retreat.

Critical Psychology

As we enter in to 2017, we continue to hold tensions around uncertainty and what it means to advocate for socially just ways. When I reflect on purposeful work and “right livelihood” I feel it is important for those of us working in the field of psychology to continually examine the reasons we went into this filed in the first place. I know that, in my case, I thought I could perhaps make a difference in people’s lives in such a way that my work could play a part in reducing suffering, particularly of the “second arrow” type. Those of us who find ourselves in the helping/healing professions as well as in educational settings shoulder a great deal of responsibility in regard to how we may nourish budding potential and foster the capacity for creativity, compassion, and right action in our own and others’ personal and professional lives.yin-yang-in-gardenThomas Teo (2015), a faculty member at York University, spoke in the journal, American Psychologist, about challenging those in the field of psychology to critically reflect on our current values and practices. A recent volume of the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology has devoted the entire issue to topics of this nature, in which Teo (2015) has contributed an article entitled Are Psychological “Ethics Codes” Morally Oblique? In addition, a recent volume of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology has several quite fiery pieces exploring distinctions in the framing of psychological practice.  For instance, one of the pieces is a commentary entitled Adversarial Operational Psychology is Unethical Psychology: A Reply to Staal and Greene (2015). Certainly the divisions for psychoanalysis and for humanistic psychology have also been actively engaging in lively discussion about where the field of psychology is going and how we need to critically question the status quo and expand our perceptual bandwidth to include diverse ways of knowing, including, but not limited to, non-linear paradigms. These discussions bring to light some systemic concerns in our field.

The process of individuation may be applied in a collective context. For instance, if we were to view the field of psychology as an entity of sorts that is experiencing its own evolutionary development, then it is conceivable that we may join hands across and between theoretical differences to objectively (and subjectively) explore the idea that we may be experiencing a powerful disequilibrium that is calling for a growth spurt in awareness and spiritual maturity and ultimately, integration.

New Year Blessing

ganges-offering

Center of all centers, core of cores,

almond self-enclosed and growing sweet–

all this universe, to the furthest stars

and beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now  you feel how nothing clings to you;

your vast shell reaches into endless space,

and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.

Illuminated by your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,

blazing high above your head.

But in you is the presence that

will be, when all the stars are dead

Rainer Maria Rilke —
 (From book, The Enlightened Heart, ed. Stephen Mitchell)

Imagery International Conference Oct. 21-23, Villambrosa Retreat Ctr

Enjoy a series of dynamic, educational, expansive workshops that are all about imagery!

Topics include:

Spiritual Imagery of the Shaman
with Hypnotherapist and Counselor, Pamela Albee

Active Imagination
with Professor Nancy Galindo, PhD, Pacifica Graduate Institute

The 5-Elements, Photography
and Contemplative Practice

with photographer Monique Fay and Professor Juliet Rhode-Brown

A Collaboration of Poetry and Imagery
with poet and artist Cecily Markham, RN

Investigating the Trickster Archetype
and Story
with Life Coach Karen Hawkwood

Explore the practice of Spirit Breath Flow
with Reiki Practitioner Janice Baker, M.Ht.

Click Here for Full Flyer

Click Here to Register

II conference 2016 steps in the PR rainforest r

Namaste

China red Buddha in cave

Upcoming Presentations

I just came back from having conducted an experiential workshop on the Image of the Desert at the Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies conference, which was truly a pleasure to attend. Here are a couple of upcoming conferences at which I will be co-presenting.

Yoga Meets Depth Psychology Conference, Pacifica Graduate Institute Public Program, July 15-17, 2016. For questions, please contact the External Affairs office at externalaffairs@pacifica.edu. You may also view a more detailed description of the event at the Public Program tab on the website for Pacifica Graduate Institute at www.pacifica.edu

Imagery International Conference, On the Wings of Expansion, October 21-23, 2016, Vallambrosa Retreat Center, Menlo Park, CA. For more information, visit www.imageryinternational.org

Hope to see you there!

JulietYoga Flyer Final

A Symbol of Remembrance

image

 

On this Memorial Day

Gifts of Life

Front porch

Gift

R.S. Thomas

Some ask the world

and are diminished

in the receiving

of it. You gave me

only this small pool

that the more I drink

from, the more overflows

me with sourceless light.

(From Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation, 2003, Edited by Roger Housden)

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