• Good idea about the book list, Tomasz. We could post it to the group The Reading Room! (What a novel idea.) Meanwhile, I'm going to begin reading my copy of Dream and the Underworld. I love Hillman, and I'm embarrassed to say that I got to page 3 in that book. I likely got distracted by some shiny object or another. Thanks for the reminder to pick it up again.
  • Yes, well Dr. Stein is doing a lot with the Jung Institute in Ashville, which must be close to you, eh? I attended two of his teleconferences and loved them. I'm no longer in school, so I rely on seminars and sites like this one to find my peeps. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on this seminar, Laura.
  • Thanks, Dorene. As I mentioned before, mine began at 35. Am 39 now, still in the deconstruction phase. Had two therapies which both were a mixture of the Freudian approach with humanistic psychology and both ended in failure. Then came across The Dream and The Underworld by Hillman and I think it did something similar for me as The Middle Passage did for you. Perhaps we could have a vote on something like a Top Twenty Life-Saving Psychology Books?
  • Doreen - I received The Middle Passage just yesterday! Speaking of Murray Stein and you and I liking the same stuff, this one is coming today:

    In Midlife: A Jungian Perspective (Seminar Series 15) by Murry Stein

    And yes, David Whyte rules! Heard him speak/read waaaaay back in, Lord, 1987?, at the Year End retreat at Asilomar that Brugh Joy and David Spangler would hold. Also heard Brian Swimme, Caroline Myss and Patricia Sun speak there that same year. Those were the days!


  • My mid-life crisis began at age 47 and lasted until age 57. I call them my shedding years, or the deconstruction of Dorene. One author that gave me a sense of something larger and more mysterious taking place than just my loss and grief was James Hollis. His books are tiny little things that are enormously rich. The one that I most love is The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Mid-life. That book kept me sane, and I have turned a number of clients onto it who have also loved it. 117 pages.
  • Edward, I read your comment that goes with the video once again and it actually makes a lot more sense to me than McKenna's piece. As for him, I still believe that rather than undergoing a profound spiritual transformation he is heavily influenced by the Plutonian-Neptunian archetypal complex that fills his imagination with post-apocaliptic landscapes, which, by the way, look rather Christian in origin. Do correct me if I'm wrong.
  • Dorene, I haven't read the book. I'll check it out, big thanks. What you're saying about DT sounds really encouraging. I wonder if I may ask you a bit personal question? How old were you when your own "midlife crisis" started? I was 35. Perfect jungian timing, so to speak :-)
    Dorene, Edward, if we all agree that in most cases all truth is relative, I will dare to offer my subjective "truth" on the video Edward posted. I must admit I only watched about half of it and just couldn't go on any longer. To me it appeared as one hell of an inflated and unrestrained ego trip in the guise of a spiritual journey. It unexpectedly reminded me of what Hillman says about the process of soul transfomation in alchemy, namely that it will always take place in a small container. And the kind of post-apocaliptic imagery that guy used for his video? His tone of voice? Whoa, much too "vast" (and ego-centric) for me. Sorry:-)
  • Thank you for the clarification. I now think that I understand, and I actually think that we're all on the same page (thought I know that is not necessary). There is one thing that I remain curious about, and that is your last sentence in the 2nd paragraph: "The only thing that ends is the spiritual search." By this, do you mean "search" in the sense that there is a destination to be arrived at, or a truth to be found? It may be semantics, but I have come to the belief that it is only the search that matters. That is, that we take aboard all that happens to us and continue to ponder how we will make meaning of it in a way that enhances our daily lives. It is the pondering that is worthy in and of itself. A favorite quote of mine is this one by Rilke: "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves . . . Do not . . . seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will . . . gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. (From Letters to a Young Poet.)

    What do you think--have I fully understood your points? I want to.

  • Okay. So, how do I feel about all this? I think that I essentially agree with the basic premises, however, my interpretation of meaning may be more hopeful. As I reflected on your words and, then, the video, the way I made sense of it was that we're talking about individuation. Our youth is about socializing us. Our parents and environment is about preparing us to lead responsible lives within the context of a larger social system. At some point and on an unconscious level, our beliefs and notions about ourselves and the world around us begin to fall flat because they are not really our own beliefs. Murdoch refers to a period of "spiritual aridity" that overtakes us. This might be the desert that McKenna speaks of. The way we move in the world and make choices stops working for us, and the lives that we've created no longer feel juicy. Deep within us there is a call to greater authenticity that Jung and others speak about. If we have the courage to sit patiently in this disappointing and empty terrain (what Bridges also calls "fertile emptiness"), instead of distracting ourselves with business, etc., we are eventually greeted by a profound humility and the realization that there really are no experts in the world. There really is no one [out there] who has the answers. And this makes sense to me, because the Self is itself an artificial construct. As an archetype, one cannot look at the Self directly; it does not exist in a concrete form, right? In McKenna's video, I took note when he said, "so I went off to take a look around this non-world." I heard that as his courageous willingness to rest in his uncertainty, to get curious about what might emerge if he were to let go of the false-to-fact beliefs that he had accepted since childhood and just sit with his not knowing.

    At the end of the video, he lost me when he said that there really is a truth [out there]; in this arduous dream-state phenomenon it is possible to know what is true and what is false. That is not my experience. This profound humility that has accompanied my mid-life brokenness has given me a sense that I can only know what is true for me. That's not to say that I don't have opinions about how people should behave as part of society (e.g., do unto others, etc.).

    So, this leads me squarely to my "for the sake of what do we even have the discussion" place: I think that it is each person's charge in life to forge meaning to whatever experiences befall us. As a coach, I care little about whether a person's "story" is true or valid and far more about whether it brings the person alive, or deadens them. With this standard, I noticed that the video makes me sad. The images and words bespoke of loss and emptiness. I don't argue that it is not a valid perspective. Only that it does not produce in me passion and generative imagination. All this said, thank you so much for sharing this window into your own journey. It really got me thinking, and has give me greater clarity about my own beliefs. This entire thread would be an ideal discussion thread for the "Threads of Thought" group. There are different members in that group than, perhaps, in The Twilight Zone. If you are interested in involving others in the discussion, you might consider cut and pasting your entries into that group to see what thoughts it evokes. Thank you again, Ed.


  • It's a really interesting technique you've come up with, Edward. I definetely intend to try it out. Still I can't help feeling bothered by your choice of words in the previous entry. Why would you want to, as you said, turn the dream into ash?
This reply was deleted.