An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of July 20, 2007
Issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve Headquarters in
Jalpan, Querétaro, MÉXICO

WALKING WITH CARL JUNG

On my walk near Pinal de Amoles last weekend so many people expressed amazement about my preference for walking instead of riding that it got me to thinking about why walking is important to me. It took several miles before I remembered the chain of events that got me to walking, and the insights that have kept me walking all these years.

Part of it is that it helps keep my body toned up, but really that's not the most important reason. More important is that it helps keep me together psychologically and spiritually. I think that without my long walks -- and walking ALONE is what I'm talking about -- either I'd eventually go nuts, or become so grouchy and negative I couldn't live with myself. Last weekend I also remembered how my long walks, alone, are rooted in my youthful studies of Jungian dream analysis.

Carl Jung, who lived from 1875 to 1961, was the Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. He emphasized understanding the psyche by exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religions and philosophy. Back when I was about 20, using Jungian techniques, I trained myself to remember dreams and write them down immediately upon awakening. By interpreting my dreams I learned about my own psyche.

For example, "I" am a projection of any number of smaller personalities who reside inside me. Some of those personalities can more or less stand alone, but others are fragmentary. Some are male, some female, and some have no gender. Each needs to express him/her/itself from time to time, else one or more of these inner selves act up and my psychological ecosystem drifts out of whack.

When I'm walking, that's when these inner voices get to express themselves.

Sweat dripping from my elbows and isolation humming in my ears, the week's unsaid thoughts get said. All the little people and sub-people inside me bring up whatever issues have been bugging them, each of us looks at the issue from the other's perspective, and then the following night, what a fine sleep I have, and what peace there is inside me.

But, also my experience with dream interpretation taught me this: Dream analysis is potent, and can be as dangerous as it is revealing. I quit it for the same reason I've never done drugs: Exploring the mind like that is like opening up your computer and poking your fingers here and there. It's not really something that should be done without great care and guidance. Also, as in quantum mechanics, in the dream world, just observing something changes it. And I don't have enough information to go changing my own building blocks.

There's a good bit about Carl Jung's philosophy at http://www.answers.com/topic/carl-jung?cat=health.

After a few paragraphs of promotional stuff, Jungian dream interpretation is addressed at http://www.dreamanalysis.info/. Facebook Icon.