Unconditional Care of the Self: Activating the Immune function of the Psyche, Subtle Body, and Body

” For no one who is one himself needs oneness as a medicine- nor, we might add, does anyone who is unconscious of his dissociation, for a conscious situation of distress is needed in order to activate the archetype of unity. ” – C.G. Jung 

” Our capacities toward relationship and openness to the “other” while still remaining tuned to one’s own true self depend on our psychological immune reactions. ” – Edward C. Whitmont

The immune function, essential for sustaining life in a hostile environment, can be activated through the placement of an antigenic substance, an “inoculum,” into the body that will produce or boost immunity to a specific disease. This process is analogous to the alchemical principle of conscious meeting unconscious, creating the “prima materia,” and integration of the shadow, the central theme of Jung’s work.  Our immunity is interdependent on sleep, nourishment and exercise.  All of these interactions of psyche, matter and movement occur through the transfer of energy and is mediated through what the alchemists call the subtle body.

Emotional induction, a kind of mental contagion, can occur through our interaction with people that we are emotionally close to, in groups or in crowds.  This can result in what Jung called  “psychic infection.” “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”  This transformation can metabolize as nourishing or toxic.

Our deepest primal wounds keep flashing back in recurring patterns in our lives and trigger our reactivity.  They meet us at our most vulnerable and dissociated points, where we have the least immunity.  These repeated prompts could create an opportunity for an inoculation of consciousness, but our shame saturated complexes, our humiliated inner children, our secrets, attacks our self esteem and creates dissociative barriers repellant to ego consciousness.  To further numb and dissociate the pain, the psyche develops compensatory defense mechanisms and addictions.  Integrating these deep traumas into consciousness holds the promise of the greatest transformation. Yet paradoxically, invasive illness and healing are aspects of the same dynamic so there is the risk of self attack through an autoimmune response.  In tonight’s program we will explore this complex paradox.

Jung said “The self is not only the center but also the whole circumference which embraces not only the conscious but also the unconscious psyche.” Unconditional care of the Self allows us to embrace ourselves without prejudice throughout the continuum of conscious to unconscious, psyche to subtle body to material body, penetrating and dissolving dissociative defenses and addictions. This acceptance and benevolence supports the immune function by increasing our resilience and tolerance “for a conscious situation of distress in order to activate the archetype of unity” and  revitalize our lives.

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