Issue 53 –
OPENING TO THE INNER WORLD:
by Hal Stone
Zurich – The Process Deepens
From the time I first entered military service to the time of my discharge was a period of six years. In every way it was an outstanding experience. I was planning to return to Los Angeles and our second child was due toward the end of July in 1957. I had applied to the Bollingen Foundation for a grant to study in Zurich for three months and the grant was approved. I took my family to Los Angeles and got them settled and then left for Zurich. I spent the next three months working analytically, attending the Jung Institute, studying, painting and sculpt-ing.
The time in Zurich was very precious to me-three whole months to devote just to myself. I lived to a large extent like a monk, socializing very little. Three days a week I was working analytically and doing an amazing amount of personal work on my dreams and on myself in general. On one level it was anything but a balanced life. On another level, I was literally exploding creatively and personally and my horizons were expanding in so many marvelous ways that my head was spinning. After all, one didn’t go to the Jung Institute in Zurich to lead a balanced life. One went to immerse oneself in the unconscious, and immerse myself is exactly what I did.
During this time in Zurich I had a number of remarkable dreams. The unconscious opened up at a deep level in response to this separation from family and responsibility. The opportunity to work solely on myself and my process was a very special kind of experience. There were few outer distractions and my energies had the chance to express from within, with complete freedom and exuberance. The disadvantage of this kind of experience was the danger of losing touch with the outside world. The re-entry into society from the rarefied atmosphere of Zurich could be quite difficult. That came later, however. Now was the time to soak it up.
My first dream in Zurich was simple and to the point.
Dream of the Powerful Wind
There was a giant wind that blew through Los Angeles. It blew through the campus of UCLA ad leveled it totally.
This was a wonderful initiatory dream for me to have. It meant of course that UCLA, the citadel of rationality, was being destroyed by the winds of spirit. I was obviously going to be experiencing new kinds of energies and I looked forward to my three months with eagerness.
The second dream I want to share concerns my father. My relationship with my father had always been rather problematical. He was European, as I have mentioned, and we had nothing in common. As the years moved along I felt more and more negative toward him. I wanted a strong father, someone who would talk to me, who would be a role model. I wanted someone who would in-spire me, someone whom I could admire. Instead, there was my father-silent and brooding and simple; a coarse man, and a heavy drinker. I realized at a fairly early age that he was an alcoholic. He was an extremely strong man physically and was built like a wrestler. He and my mother had owned a beer garden in Detroit and I remember him carrying hundred pound kegs of beer with the greatest ease. His physical power and earthiness did not impress me at all. He was always disappointing and somewhat alien to me and, as my developmental process became more spiritual, he seemed like someone who should be left behind and forgotten. That is, until I had the following dream during my first weeks in Zurich.
Dream of My Father and Jung
I was on my way to see Dr. Jung for a personal appoint- ment. (I actually had one scheduled a few weeks down the line.) The problem was that my father was with me and I could not get rid of him. I did everything I could think of to make him leave, but he seemed stuck to me like glue. I finally got to the home of Dr. Jung and my father and I were ushered into his waiting room. I was feeling terribly uncomfortable and self-conscious. I was ashamed of my father, and here I was about to meet the great man, himself, and I had so many things I wanted to talk about and ask him about. I heard footsteps coming down the stairs and the door opened and there was Dr. Jung. I stood up to walk over and shake hands with him. To my great surprise-shock would be a better word-he ignored me completely and walked over to my father and they embraced. Then, to my amazement, they started talking animatedly together in Yiddish. Jung put his arm around my father and they walked out of the room together, walking up the stairs toward his office. All this time they were continuing to carry on this remarkable conversation in Yiddish, a language which made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I followed them as they walked up the stairs, realizing that there was something very significant to learn here.
It has always amazed me, and never ceased to delight me, to watch the unconscious in action when it wants to make a real point about something. Whatever this amaz-ing Intelligence is that lies behind the dream, it has an ordering function. It establishes priorities. It oftentimes displays the most amazing sense of humor. When it wants to get our attention, it has the capability of pursuing us with relentless precision. It also does not seem to be in the business of giving rewards for good works accomplished.
As soon as one piece of work is done, it is ready to start on the next piece of work. I once heard a dream of a woman who was walking on a path in a forest and, as she walked, the trees were closing in behind her so there was no turning back-a beautiful image of this inexorable forward move-ment.
These qualities of dreams are not always present for everyone. They seem to come into operation when someone becomes open to dreams, to the unconscious, to the whole transformational process. The unconscious behaves just like you and I do in certain respects. When we are loved and honored and given time by those who are close to us, we blossom and give off wonderful aromas. When we are rejected and ignored, when we are not honored, we become angry and sour and revengeful. The work of consciousness is like digging in a garden, constantly planting new seeds, digging, and watching things grow. The unconscious responds to this process in the most amazing ways. It blossoms when we attend to it.
My father was my disowned self. What is a disowned self? It is a part, or parts, that are negated in our growing up years. They are usually parts of which we are ashamed. We grow up identifying with certain parts of ourselves because of our family and cultural patterns. I had learned to identify with the mind, with achievement and, at a later time, with spirituality. I had disowned my physical power and sexuality. I had almost no relationship to my physical body. I had always been a dreamer, not related to earth. I hadn’t known this for many years, but it was becoming abundantly clear to me at this time. My father was earth. He was totally non-intellectual. His job was to see that his sons got what they needed to make it in America. This may not have been a conscious thought for him, but it is the reality that he lived.
There was another disowned energy that was brought through in this dream and that concerned my relationship to being born Jewish. What I began to realize with this dream was that I had serious issues with what it meant to be a Jew. I was quite accepting of the intellectual, cultural and mystical aspects of Judaism, but there was something about Yiddish itself that bothered me. It was an issue I was to work on for many years to come. Yiddish for me was associated with Europe and earth.
I never knew my grandparents, a rather sad thing really because grandparents help tie us back to our origins. My origins were badly in need of being appreciated. Jung was carrying the energy of the new consciousness that was emerging at that time. This new level of awareness gave me an understanding of the real meaning of my father in my life and the kind of balance that it would give to me when I learned to honor him. The spiritual pull in me was then, and always has been, extremely powerful. My father’s energies were the balance. He was the earth in which a spiritual process could safely blossom.
Jung himself carried that earth. He was physically strong and vital. When I actually saw him I was struck by his earthy peasant quality. When I sat down for my in-terview with him, he was filling his pipe and he asked me what I wanted. I realized that he had probably never read the long letter I had sent in order to secure the interview. So I told him that I didn’t want to work on personal issues with him, that I just wanted to see him. He leaned his pixie face forward, within inches of mine, and said in a loud, booming voice: “Well, take a good look!” He certainly knew how to “talk Yiddish.”
One of the keys to the transformational process is the development of an Awareness level of consciousness that can learn to recognize and honor all the parts. This is not the easiest task in the world. We are identified with some parts and we don’t know that we are identified with them. Other parts, we have disowned with no knowledge that we have disowned them. There are clues, however, that can help us in this process of discovery. The people we don’t like, the people who push our emotional buttons, the people we judge, the people we over-value-these are the direct representations of our disowned selves.
In those years, assuming I knew then what I know now, it would have been clear to me that my father was one of my disowned selves. Fortunately, there was a part of me that recognized this and gave me the opportunity of seeing this heretofore unknown reality. The working through process took many years. I might almost say that it goes on to this very moment in lesser form. It is the age-old problem that all of us have who embark on the trans-formational journey-the need to embrace heaven and earth, the need to embrace both spiritual and instinctual energies.
There was another dream I had in Zurich that came later in my stay there. It was on the same theme, but the approach was from a different direction.
A very profound spiritual opening had begun to take place in me from the very beginning of my analysis. With the religious experience I had in military service, this spiritualization process became much more powerful and much more accelerated. This was compounded during my time in Zurich because of the intense involvement I was experiencing with my dreams and creative process gener-ally. The unconscious, however, was not just bringing me spiritual dreams. The unconscious was bringing me dreams to balance a spirituality that was far too one-sided. The dream of my father was one of these dreams. Another one is described below.
I enter a beautiful church. It has a strong Catholic feel- ing. It is empty of people, but an organ is playing the “Te Deum.” It is magnificent music in a magnificent setting. I walk slowly from the rear to the front, behind the lectern, and there lying on the floor, are two women, a mother and her daughter. As I watch, the daughter slowly sits up and very languidly and very sensually stretches her arms over her head. As she does this, she says as if to herself-“I’m tired of waiting for the Christ experience.”
Once again the unconscious was moving me towards the balance. My father was the carrier of instinctual energies to a certain extent, and there was now awakening in me a new feminine principle that had been sleeping (unconscious). What was it awakening to? We don’t know exactly, but we might surmise that it was awakening to life and to the sensual pleasures of the everyday world.
It is difficult when one has touched deeply into the spiritual reality not to yearn for more of it. It is difficult when one has lived a deeply symbolic reality for long periods of time to come back to what feels like a very mundane world. Personality level issues do not seem very exciting when one has been touched by God in some way.
It is a paradoxical situation. On the one hand we need the reality of spiritual energies. We need to know God, by whatever name we want to use or are comfortable using. Yet, this very experience creates an imbalance on the other side and we are then forever thrown into the conflict between heaven and earth, trying to balance them, trying to honor them appropriately. When we don’t, the unconscious helps us to see the imbalance, if we are willing to listen.
The Zurich experience was pure gold for me. It was made possible by a grant from the Bollingen Foundation and I am most grateful to the people who established that foundation. They helped so many students study in Zurich at a time when the world seemed like a spiritual desert. (The memory of this experience is one of the factors that inspired me to create The Hermes Foundation to help students pursue the study of consciousness, wherever this may take them.)
I have shared just a very small piece of my Zurich experience. It was an opportunity to immerse myself for three months in dreams and the creative process. I began to paint during this time and did my first sculpting. Incidentally, I had shipped at least thirty volumes of books to Zurich and they were waiting there for me on my arrival. After a few abortive attempts at reading, I never opened another book in all the time I was there. My academic, scholarly pusher had gone into hibernation. He didn’t disappear, of that you may be sure, but for those three months he went underground. It was time a time for pure experience.
There are dangers to such incubatory experience. One is working so intensely on the inner plane that it is necessary to have considerable solidity to be able to withstand the powers that are unleashed. I remember one evening when I was painting. I drew a picture of a bird, a huge bird, that was flying upwards. I was focusing on that bird in a meditative way and I began to feel myself ascending with that bird. The energies being released were enormous and I knew that I was in some danger. I stopped the meditative process, put the painting down and went out for a walk. I realized at that moment I could have gone into a space that would have been very destruc-tive for me. I realized that I had no outer life to balance the intense introversion. I simply paid attention after this to any signs that signaled an overloading of the inner circuits.
The other problem with such intense, ongoing, in-cubatory experiences is that the re-entry into ordinary life is very difficult. One’s regular life feels terribly ordinary. I returned to Los Angeles after three months in Zurich to my wife and son and about to be born daughter. I had no money. Within three months time I had two jobs and had started private practice. Both jobs required driving long distances, at least seventy miles a day. In five months I had pneumonia, no doubt a symptomatic reaction to the problem I was having adjusting to the very different realities of my inner and outer worlds. The contrast be-tween the magic of Zurich and the daily requirements of life in Los Angeles was almost too much for the body to bear.