As I learn more about individuation, I have more to say and to write about. As I’ve written previously, I consider that evolution is the meaning of life. Evolution is why we are all here and it is ultimately our purpose in our individual lives, and that of course leads to a very broad guide to our lives. And for me it explains a great deal and serves me in my life. I will be writing about the great value of seeing the world and our lives through the lens of evolution.
I believe that individuation, as set out by Carl Gustav Jung, is ultimately a form of personal evolution, so I believe it is intimately related to our purpose in life – to evolve. As I consider individuation more, as I learn more about it, and as I reflect on what I have written and on what I want to convey to the reader, I want to add some very important points to my understanding of individuation. I will be writing a great deal about individuation, as it has become central to my life and as I believe it is central to the evolution of each one of us as individuals and to humanity as a whole.
So here are my bedrock notions of individuation that one should keep in mind:
- Individuation is not easy or simple. You can’t find any concise guides to individuation for two reasons. For one thing, individuation is a complex process for each person who undertakes it. We are all unique and the process of individuation within each one of us is going to be specific to our own psyche and to our own circumstances. The second and more important reason that you won’t find any “Individuation for Dummies” book is the same reason you would never find a book on “Flying an Airliner for Dummies”. Both individuation and flying a large plane are too dangerous to perform without expert instruction and guidance. Taking off a plane is not particularly difficult – you just get up to speed and pull back on the stick and you’re in the air. Now what? Now the serious job of flying has just begun and ultimately you have to land safely. Individuation is very similar. Getting started is not the hard part. The difficulty lies in confronting all the issues and features of your psyche that you must deal with and process. Individuation involves exploring the deepest and darkest parts of yourself and that is not easy or safe to do without professional guidance. Individuation is a challenging journey and process that can cause great pain and worse, if not undertaken with caution and help. Other psychological processes can unearth dangerous and hurtful demons that lie within each of us, but individuation is specifically directed toward confronting those aspects of ourselves and must be treated seriously.
- Individuation is not the only form of personal evolution that is meaningful or important. We are all here to evolve and we can all do that without having to consider the process of individuation. I do think that individuation is the most profound and important form of personal evolution, but that doesn’t mean it is for everyone.
- Individuation is done in the real world within one’s own life. Jung himself said you don’t individuate by going off by yourself to sit up on a mountain top. Individuation is a powerful psychological process that is supremely practical. It is not intended to be a spiritual escape from life, but is really a process to dive deep into oneself to know the Self in a profound way – for the first time. It is all about self knowledge and understanding, and that is accomplished within the context of your own life, not by running away or withdrawing from your life. Time spent alone is critical, but it is not sufficient I don’t think. This just reinforces how demanding the process is. But that also reinforces it’s great value for living better in this world.
I will have many more posts about this process of individuation. I think that even if individuation is not for you, or not for you yet, you will benefit from learning more. And I will be writing about it in the context of evolution, which is the great meaning of life for all of us. When you have fully absorbed this centrality of evolution, it will make your life more enjoyable and understandable. And my most important point to make about all this, is that you are the one to decide how you will live your own life to maximize it’s meaning and evolution. I am not a guru. Each one of us must find the guru that lies within. We each have a guru and guide within us.
For anyone who has had the privilege of teaching, I’ve no doubt that it was a humbling experience. A teacher is forced to confront her or his own ignorance and being forced to explain to others is the best way to learn something for yourself. I am here to learn, at least as much as I am here to teach. We are all here to make this up as we go along. I have an enormous amount to learn here on evolution and individuation, but I think my three points above are critical to begin to understand and appreciate this process.