Intuitive Spontaneity

There was something tumultuous about what we were doing. Jonathan and I were seated across from each other, in a different physical space than last time, and the paperback that was to be the object of our study wasn’t the book I’d brought with me. When I arrived at his consulting room, as if I were a client ready for another fifty-minute hour of Jungian psychotherapy or analysis, he surprised me by announcing that, if I didn’t mind, we would read from another of Jung’s writings. We’d started to study the theme of active imagination last week by reading the opening paragraphs of Jung’s paper, “The transcendent function.” This time, Jonathan said, why don’t we read a page or two from Memories, Dreams, Reflections, in the chapter, “Confrontation with the Unconscious.” I said it was the first book of Jung’s that I read, over twenty years ago. Jonathan said that the idea to read some paragraphs from this book first, before returning to Jung’s paper on the transcendent function, had come to him a few hours ago while he was driving his car. “I was on my way to work when I remembered reading, in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, about Jung as an adult, creating a miniature village as he’d done as a child. There was something so creative about it.” We’re going to play with words and images, I thought, and then each of us read aloud a couple of sentences. As I listened to Jonathan read a sentence slowly, it came to me that I, like Jung, could be creative in ways that would help me listen to the unconscious. Reading and listening with another was such a way. We read only a handful of sentences. Each word in each sentence became important. This is crazy, I thought, while at the same time I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so alive.

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