Bringing the unconscious to light is a perplexing journey, an endless series of shifts, reversals and abrupt changes of direction. It’s like a stock market graph—gradual gains over an extended period interspersed with calamitous crashes as we experience breakdowns and breakthroughs. The last word we’d associate with this journey is balance.

In the midst of this seemingly trackless waste, how do you find a consistent path? When you’re jagging this way and that, buffeted by what Carl Jung calls “that which presses upward from the unconscious,” how do you set a steady course?

The answer is by seeking balance.

Extremes

The world of patriarchy is a world of extremes. Everything is good or bad, right or wrong, in or out. In the words of former American president George W. Bush, “You’re either with us or against us.” I’ve written about how this world came about in A brief history of shame.

The world that most people currently live in resembles a pendulum swinging from side to side. Observe the rise and fall of politicians and political parties, sports teams and stars, the financial affairs of nations and individuals.

People, parties and ideas surge out of nowhere, gathering a following as they express some form of polarised view. This is it—the next big thing—until an opposite groundswell forms and the next big thing becomes the last big thing. The pendulum reverses its swing back towards the opposite pole.

You can see this principle at work in any area of life. Take dieting, for example. How many times have we heard there is a new diet, THE diet to end all diets? And how often has this diet, after a rush of acceptance and endorsement, been discredited or simply fallen by the way?

Constant division creates constant conflict. The result is a high-anxiety society that takes its toll on our wellbeing. By emptying our unconscious we neutralise theses polarities and bring our lives into balance.

Balance

To shift out of polarity, stop seeing the fads—diets, politicians, whatever—and see the underlying pendulum. It swings back and forth. That’s what pendulums do.

We’re mesmerised by its movement, the drama and sense of newness that each sweep of the pendulum brings. We’ve all been mesmerised—even paralysed—by it. It’s fascinating, compelling, like the eyes of the cobra that freeze its prey.

Stop being prey to drama and razzle-dazzle. When you’re caught in the swirling eddies of life, wondering which way to turn, turn towards balance.

Stop being prey to drama and razzle-dazzle. When you’re caught in the swirling eddies of life, wondering which way to turn, turn towards balance. Get down to the water’s edge. Feel the waves lapping at your feet. Each wave is coming in or going out—yet the sea is always in balance.

Ask yourself: what action, internal or external, can I take right now that will lead me towards balance? It may be a direct action—changing your diet, for example, or ending a toxic relationship.

Or it may be an inner decision, like a commitment to change a polarised belief. Your life is unique. Only you can know what constitutes balance in your life.

Emptying your unconscious leads you beyond the hurly-burly of polarised existence into the still waters of balance and unity. When you’re uncertain how to choose, choose balance. Only then will the pendulum cease its age-old swing.

Photo by Jordan Steranka on Unsplash

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MICHAEL H HALLETT

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