This is the sixth and final episode of our six-part Psychology of Life Coaching series. Join us as we explore the models of psychology used most in personal development and how they each create change. Uncover the benefits and limitations of each model to reveal which coaching styles create deeper, lasting change. This series will help you understand your options for personal growth and how to choose the right coach training.
In this episode, we end the series with the concepts of Carl Jung and the New Age movement in personal development. We will explore:
- Types of Spiritual Coaching – Yoga, New Age, Christianity, Kabala, Shamanism and more.
- How Jung is balanced between scientific psychologies and the mystical wisdom traditions.
- How Jung provides a creative approach to the mind that allows a person to use the power of their own imagination and trust symbols that arise spontaneously from the unconscious mind instead of the scientific-based psychology that is reductionist.
- How discipline, structure, and a solid theory are necessary for a true transformation.
- A psychology that integrates the best of scientific knowledge and the wisdom traditions of the world.
Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.
Robert Maldonado 00:01
Debra Maldonado 00:18
Yes, we talked about behaviorism, materialism. We talked about cognitive behavior, we talked about family systems. We started off with Jung and Freud, and the psychodynamic model, so we’re making it full circle. And we’re really bringing in the spiritual aspect of psychology that Jung was the father of. So he was known as the father of the New Age movement.
Robert Maldonado 00:44
Yes, so we definitely want to talk about his influence on the New Age and why he’s considered the father of the New Age. But we also want to touch upon the shadow. Does the New Age house [inaudible] shadow, for example?
Debra Maldonado 01:03
And the ego too.
Robert Maldonado 01:05
The persona, ego, how it plays out in this new age. But also, what would Jung say to us if he was still around? Because he started it all, right? So he would have some important contributions to the New Age and guidance, like a good father. He would set some limits and boundaries, give us some direction as to how do we proceed in the New Age, because it’s getting pretty, let’s say, daunting, to say the least, with artificial intelligence coming in, with travel to Mars, and perhaps other planets coming up soon.
Debra Maldonado 01:57
So you’re defining New Age as our new age of life? Or just a new age in spirituality.
Robert Maldonado 02:06
If you notice, it’s infiltrated everything. I mean, New Age thinking. I don’t think you can find any cultural phenomena that hasn’t been influenced by it.
Debra Maldonado 02:22
So can we define new age thinking?
Robert Maldonado 02:25
Yeah, but let’s start with Jung first. So in case people haven’t heard of Jung or don’t know exactly what our approach to Jung is, let’s define his work first. And also, we’re going to be talking about religion and some religious ideas. We hope you take it the way we do — we respect everyone’s beliefs. And we work with people from all over the world. We’re simply speaking in terms of the psychology, what do those ideas say about our psychology? Anyway, what is Jungian psychology?
Debra Maldonado 03:16
You’re looking at me? Well, I always think of Jung, when I describe it, it’s the divergence of— like Freud and Jung, really, were the pioneers in modern psychology. So they both believed in the unconscious mind, which was something very new, that there was this other part of us that we weren’t conscious of that was actually directing our life. And Freud thought of it more from a dysfunctional—, like a programming kind of place of stored repression. And he didn’t think of us as really spiritual beings. He thought of us as individual kind of objects, and we have our conditioning, and then we’re responding from that. And Jung said “Well, wait a minute, I think there’s something else beyond the personal unconscious, which is the collective unconscious, which brings us a unity of connection to all of consciousness, and there’s deeper layers to us.” He said the psyche has these experiences, these dreams, that are always just related to a personal life. They’re related to mythology. When you go to different cultures, he saw that they had similar kind of ideas and beliefs, even though they hadn’t met each other. And where does that come from? Where do these symbols and what he called the archetypes arise? So he saw the mind as more than just your personal life and dealing with your complexes of your childhood and trying to survive. He said that you have to look at that but also there’s a spiritual aspect to ourselves.
Robert Maldonado 04:59
Yeah, that’s a good synopsis of his relationship with Freud and what differentiated Jung’s work from Freudian work. But he was also very much influenced by garota [?]. And if you haven’t read Faust, please read it. See, Goethe pretty much invented the modern idea of art as an expression of individuality. The artist says, somebody’s really being able to contribute to culture in a profound way. So Jung even thought there was a genetic connection to garota [?]. You know, he saw himself as the heir to Goethe’s work. So, definitely German romanticism comes through there. He was very much influenced by Nietzsche as well. And Nietzsche, of course, the idea of the death of God, the death of the old God. And Nietzsche wasn’t celebrating that, he was saying we have to be aware of this because we’re entering into another phase of human development where we’ve never been before. And we’ve always had a god in a sense, to act as a guide.
Debra Maldonado 06:27
And even at that time too, people from the east were coming to the US, Swami Vivekananda, Yoginanda. They were coming in that turn of the century, introducing these other concepts that are non-Christian, Judeo-Christian. And then also this is around the time that this new thought movement of the thinking “Grow Rich” and Wallace Wattles and this idea that your mind can create your life and it’s been around for a while, but spiritualism and, you know, psychic abilities, there was a lot of things outside of the traditional religion that were coming into this century, this last past century. And what did we learn from that? And he was basically right at the forefront of that. And he first saw, you said that the movement of new age in the 60s, eventually that kind of became more popular, more mainstream.
Robert Maldonado 07:33
Yeah, I think that’s why he’s associated with the new age, because that was part of his work. He was looking at how do these religious mythologies arise in human beings? And then how do they translate into cultural movements and different cults and religions and even politics. And so he pretty much foresaw what was happening. He definitely foresaw the rise of the feminine principle. Because I mean, it doesn’t take much work to see that. Most religions have been dominated by men. So there is patriarchy, it’s been kind of dominant in world religions. And he said, this is probably going to be compensated unconsciously, or let’s say, the unconscious is going to give us the symbols that are going to be feminine in response to that, to balance out the overemphasis on the patriarchy.
Debra Maldonado 08:44
And he basically discovered the concept of the Anima, which is the suppressed feminine in men. And that’s what he started to see, this idea. Actually a lot of the people that studied under him were women, they had their own ideas, and a lot of the psychologists that he trained were women, like Tony Wolfe, and Spielrein, and all those— Maria von Franz. And so there are so many— even his wife, Emily Jung, learned the individuation process, and they all brought their element to the work, that feminine element.
Robert Maldonado 09:28
That’s right. And then we visited his house not too long ago, and we got to see his library. Very interested in alchemy. He’s got one of the best collections of European alchemy in the world. Very interested in gnosticism, which is a branch of Christianity, but it’s considered kind of underground or mystical Christianity. Definitely interested in the eastern philosophies.
Debra Maldonado 09:57
We saw the Gita, the Upanishads. So his library looks a lot like our library.
Robert Maldonado 10:03
And that’s another reason why he’s considered the father of the new age, he gave people permission to look at these other religious systems, and use, you know— you see all over the world that it’s not only Christianity that has a monopoly on the divine, people all over the world in many different times were developing ideas of how to relate to the divine in their own way, in their own culture.
Debra Maldonado 10:36
And he was controversial because at that time they thought of the psychology as more of a medical science, you know, that scientific “let’s look at treatment and the medical model.” And he was exploring psychic abilities, and astrology and all these other— ruins and the I Ching he used— and dreams, and a lot of people thought he was kind of out there. But he was always looking at it from a psychological standpoint. You always remind me that psyche actually means soul. And psychology is the study of the soul. And what’s happened in a lot of modern psychology, it’s separate, you know, there’s this medical model of psychology. So he was a little controversial, but he always said “I’m trying to understand why this psyche creates and consciousness creates these images. And why do people have these experiences of synchronicity and intuition.” And so he was trying to understand it, not to get lost in it, but then tie it back and merge science and spirituality in a very powerful way. Which is why I think he is the father of New Age, because that’s what the New Age movement is if you look at it today. I mean, all over the internet, they’re trying to merge that brain science, neuroscience with spiritual principles and consciousness, and they’re trying to find ways to bridge those gaps. And Jung was the first one to.
Robert Maldonado 12:12
Yeah, well, certainly in a multicultural world we need a psychology like his, that can be universal, not just, a Western perspective on the mind and the brain, but that it allows for the understanding of different cultural, mythological, religious ideas and doesn’t see them as or disqualifies them simply because they’re different from Christianity.
Debra Maldonado 12:44
But you know, it’s so funny because when I moved to Colorado, I had a lot of friends that were considered New Age, and we did energy work and went to psychic readings and all this stuff that I explored. And I remember when my friend said to me— you know, I was Catholic, and she said “Oh, my God, that is the most mystical”, and I never thought of it as mystical because inside of it, it just seems that’s the way it is. But if you step back and look at the angels and the incense and all these things that were adopted from it, we just think “Oh, that mystical part is not Christianity.” I just didn’t even see the connection. Until she showed me, I’m like “Wow, that is, I was raised in a mystical tradition.” And actually Jung was raised— he was a Protestant, his father was a Protestant pastor, which kind of whitewashed all the mystical, you know, kind of DADs of the Catholic. You had mentioned that he really loved the Catholic religion because he loved all the archetypes.
Robert Maldonado 13:53
Yeah, he saw that it carried a lot of the ancient pagan world traditions into the modern age, kind of in disguise.
Debra Maldonado 14:02
I know I never thought of myself as a pagan. Because I was worshipping Jesus or the angels, and praying to certain angels, and even having those rituals of eating the body and the blood and all that. And it’s really interesting, it just seems so normal, and then this other stuff seems like out there. But then if you look at it, we all have a mystical element to us. And it’s just almost like when you’re a fish in water, you don’t realize you’re in water and you think “Oh, this is real and that other stuff is weird.” And then this exploration makes us not normalize it but make understand more of our own mystical self.
Robert Maldonado 14:45
Absolutely. And so that’s kind of Jung in a nutshell, he emphasized if you read his writings, which are the Collected Works, he wrote so much, I mean, there’s a lifetime of reading there if you’re interested, but he always emphasized that he was working as a scientist. He was doing empirical work. Now he was saying “Yes, it’s my experience, and it’s my ideas and my direct understanding of these things. But that’s still a valid way of knowing, it doesn’t disqualify just because I’m having the experience.” It does go against the main scientific idea of objectivity meaning that it has to be verified by others and be observable by others.
Debra Maldonado 15:40
But if you think about consciousness, there is no objective reality. You’re kind of thinking, how are you measuring if something’s real or not?
Robert Maldonado 15:49
That’s right. So now let’s try to define the new age, which is probably impossible. We’ll give it a shot.
Debra Maldonado 15:59
I always thought of it as more spiritual, but not religious. And I always felt it was more like anything goes, like there’s no structure to it. And again, I was raised Catholic. And then I had met friends that were more spiritual. And I went on this journey in my 30s, when I moved to Denver, Colorado, and there’s so much spirituality there, and new different people than the people I grew up with. And I went to a lot of incredible, interesting things of ghosts, and psychic abilities, channeling, energy work. I even went— my friend wanted to go to a lecture about alien abduction. I just tried it all because I was just so fascinated, you know, almost like, I felt like a kid in the candy store. Like, I want to unleash and discover. And so I think there’s no structure to it. And I think in a way some people like that because in traditional religion, there’s so many rules and laws, it’s almost like the shadow of religion, it’s like anything goes and you could make it up better, you know. Oh, you don’t like that? Well, everything happens for a reason. And let’s put it in this— And in a way it is the kind of the mirror to religion of structure and then no structure. All the rules and then, you know, within it, there are pockets of people that have belief systems, and I think they incorporate the Eastern philosophy, and it’s very eclectic, taking a lot of different things and making it your own. And convenient in a lot of ways too. For me, anytime I felt uncomfortable, or things weren’t working fast enough for me, I would switch and find something else. It was like always digging shallow holes, and not really getting to the truth, that was really the downside of it for me. But I think it’s wonderful to open your mind up. Everything is not as you assume it is that when you were little and taught in the world, that there are this other part of you that you can explore, and I think to be open-minded enough to take that exploration and get lost in it for a little bit. But you have to find a turnaround and come back. So it’s like astrology, psychic readings, Tarot, energy work, reiki, which is a form of energy work. Even hypnotherapy can be sort of new age-y, it depends on when you go to, tapping and you know—
Robert Maldonado 18:51
Well, I would include therapy or most therapy, because that idea of personal development. Talking about your personal development, your ideas, your ego, your experiences. That’s very new age basically. I guess the Catholic Church had a form of it in confession. You go to the priest, and you confess, and then you’re absolved. And in a sense, you’re cured, or temporarily anyway, until next Sunday.
Debra Maldonado 19:27
Until you screw up again and have to go ask for forgiveness again.
Robert Maldonado 19:30
Yes, yes. So yeah, the whole personal development idea is very much entrenched in the New Age model. Because you do have this idea of let’s use everything we know. And use all the mythologies, all the wisdom of the world to better ourselves. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. Obviously, that’s the positive side of it, that openness. And also that we need to develop our mind, and be able to use whatever tools are available to us to face the big challenges of the global system right now, right? We have climate change, social unrest—
Debra Maldonado 20:24
Robert Maldonado 20:27
— financial inequality, all those things, we’re going to need to be enlightened in a way to face those challenges. I would say that the shadow element of the new age has been that lack of focus, like you were saying, digging those shallow holes, and picking and choosing what’s comfortable. And whenever it gets uncomfortable, or you—
Debra Maldonado 20:52
— feel that construct of religion again, you’re like “Oh, wait, this is becoming too much of a religion, I need—”
Robert Maldonado 20:58
— to move on to the next.
Debra Maldonado 21:01
Yeah, it’s kind of, I see a lot of people say it’s their free spirit, you know, they’re a free spirit, and they don’t want to be limited. And so it’s good, but then also it can play— the ego will play into it. And that’s, I think, what we, when you say the shadow, a lot of people don’t realize that there is an unconscious element to ourselves, and, you know, when I did all this work, I was doing everything for 10 years. And then someone told me about the unconscious mind. And I was like “Oh!” Even though that was an unconscious, it was almost like I didn’t even know. And then it just made me understand more about what’s going on inside of me. And before that, the world to me from an ego standpoint and doing that spiritual work was more of a projection. You know, I was projecting, somewhere out there, there’s positive energy and negative energy, and I got to protect myself. And it was almost like I didn’t know that it was in me already. And you hear those things, but you really don’t know. And it’s very conceptual. And so when I understood that I can go inside myself and start to discover this unconscious element and the collective unconscious element, then everything started to make more sense, it was almost as if those things gave me permission to open up my mind. And now I had to go inward instead of making it external. And I think a lot of people when they do this work, if they don’t do their Shadow Work, they end up projecting a lot of the spiritual concepts externally. The deity, the guru, putting people on pedestals, and then fearful of negative. And then it turns into, you know, cults and things people get carried away with.
Robert Maldonado 23:07
Yeah, and then that phenomena, or those types of phenomena have been around forever. It’s not like the church had it all under control.
Debra Maldonado 23:16
I mean, there’s the extreme Christian—
Robert Maldonado 23:19
Right. And also you see the Inquisition, where the church goes crazy basically, and tries to stomp out anything that opposes them.
Debra Maldonado 23:29
Well, look at the shadow of the Catholic Church with the priests and the abuse. It’s like, no, no spiritual concept is pure.
Robert Maldonado 23:38
That’s right. But that’s what Jung was saying. So here, Jung as the father of the new age would be very stern and correct us in saying this is where you need a psychology of understanding what is spiritual life? What is that spiritual craving that humans have? And how do you manage that? Because he says, if you just let the unconscious do its thing, that’s when it becomes dangerous.
Debra Maldonado 24:09
When you’re not looking inward into the unconscious, you end up being distracted.
Robert Maldonado 24:15
Yes, you think you can control stuff just like the church did by pushing away ideas or suppressing ideas and having power. And that’s an illusion. You’re simply giving the shadow more power, the unconscious is going to have more power over you and it’s going to take revenge. Eventually, he would say, you have to do the internal work, the hard part. He said it requires great moral courage to look at yourself to really accept responsibility.
Debra Maldonado 24:55
Instead of trying to escape. I used this spiritual work as an escape. I would go into my meditation and I would spend all day just escaping from the world. And you know, you go on those retreats and you want to escape, and then you come back to real life. And it’s like, how do you integrate the spiritual life in your everyday life. And so what you’re really saying is, first we have to do our shadow work. And we have to understand our own shadow, from an ego perspective, how the ego is perceiving reality, how it’s misperceiving. And it’s that ignorance that the ego puts over the world that has us just kind of misperceive God in a way and misperceive the world. And if we’re under that misperception, and then we’re doing all these little techniques and things we’re still ignorant to ourselves, and then our personal history or personal psyche will create that filter distortion from what the true meaning is and the true spiritual lessons are.
Robert Maldonado 26:04
That’s right. There’s a very good example in Jung’s writing about this, when he talks about yoga and Eastern philosophy. He says, as Westerners, we should not put on a turban and stand on our head, and you know, think “Oh, that’s spirituality.”
Debra Maldonado 26:22
It’s like costume, right?
Robert Maldonado 26:24
Yes, that’s the persona, right? We would just be, he says, indulging in this idea “Oh, they have the truth. And they have spiritual wisdom. And we need that. And we are bereft of that spiritual wisdom.” He said that that’s not useful psychologically. Because it’s better to look for that wisdom within your own self, within your traditions, within your history. So he was saying, instead of just importing somebody else’s wisdom and applying it, try to find it in your own. Now, he’s not saying obviously, don’t learn from it. He himself studied the Upanishads, and the Gita, and the Quran, and on and on, he was very interested in what they had to teach. But he also emphasized that we should find our own spiritual center.
Debra Maldonado 27:29
And it’s a direct experience, instead of just taking the word of other people. And what I see a lot is that over the years, I have a lot of friends that like different things, and there’s always these fad things that show up, everyone’s into it, and it becomes the biggest thing that everyone needs to do. And then the next fad comes up, and everyone’s doing that. And then the next fad comes up. I mean, there’s some things that are kind of long lasting, such as astrology has been around forever, but there’s some things that just kind of pop up. And then they have really good marketing. And then everyone wants to do it, because it’s like the newest thing, and these bright, shiny objects that we chase, and we think the truth is out there and then we get lost in it. And, you know, one of the things I love what you talked about is that understanding your ego and understanding that your ego will use these spiritual principles for its own gain and to keep you stuck. So it will take and it’ll speak to you in spiritual stuff. I remember, when I first started doing this shadow work, I would just make up stuff in my mind, reframing it to sound spiritual, like “Oh, well, that person will I forgive them.” You’re not really dealing with the anger, whatever upset you have about that person. You’re putting a spiritual light around it, or you’re taking things and putting light around it and getting rid of the negativity. I had one woman say “I get rid of the negativity in people”, and I said “Well, where do you put it when you get rid of it?” And she said “I don’t know.” It’s almost like doing these techniques, but not understanding what you’re actually doing. And there’s a great story. I remember one psychologist, he was a Jungian, and he went to the spiritual community to give a talk. And everyone was all positive, you know, we’ve all been there. You know, we know the positive thinking and keeping good energy. And he said the leader that invited him to talk all of a sudden turned on him and started yelling and being angry about him and pointing to him, and he said, it was just really odd, then everyone turned on him. And he was just like “What is going on?” This beautiful kind community, all of a sudden this anger came out. And he was like, that’s the shadow. It’s all this stuff they haven’t dealt with. And I found that when I was doing a lot of spiritual work, and I’m talking from my own personal experience, I was suppressing a lot of those things, anger, jealousy, because I felt that they weren’t spiritual, you know, and so you end up repressing more, and you’re not really fully integrated. And the ego loves that because it’s like “Oh, my persona is spiritual.” But then inside, a lot of our clients will say “There’s this raging bitch inside of me that I didn’t know.” And they come out in dreams and other people. And then we think “Oh, that angry person out there, they’re not me, I’m spiritual, and I keep getting these angry people.” But in Jung’s work, it’s understanding that that’s a projection of your shadow, so it’s changes the whole dynamic of how you approach. You can use all this intuitive work but it’s understanding where are you going with it? And what are you really perceiving? And are you perceiving it from the right place? Or are you perceiving it from your ego and making up a nice story about it, “I’m a good person, and they’re a bad person, and I’m going to be in my little cocoon of happy people.” And freedom is not to be afraid of what the projection is, because human beings are capable of anger, and jealousy, and sadness, and depression, and all these things that we have. And we have to be whole with ourselves. We can’t just put everything in a positive bucket. That’s what I see. From my personal experience, it was revealing for me to see I have this other side of me.
Robert Maldonado 31:47
Yeah, I think that would be Jung’s best advice to the new age. You should explore and you should struggle with your spiritual life, meaning you should sacrifice for it and really take it seriously because it is part of our purpose as human beings to find a way to transform and to live in peace with each other. But he would say it starts by looking within, by really considering, this aggression that I see out there or the fault that I find in others, what is it saying about me?
Debra Maldonado 32:33
That’s projection, there’s so much projection, I think a lot of times people don’t take responsibility for what they experience.
Robert Maldonado 32:40
Yeah, Paul, when he writes some of his letters to the different churches he was writing to, when he mentioned sinners, he would say “of whom I am the chief”, right, I am the chief of the sinners, meaning I’m not pointing fingers, I know people are in ignorance, and creating these problems. But it starts with me, I have to accept responsibility for these things. That’s the real spiritual work, not just glossing it over. I think Jung has this verse or something. We don’t create new visions or new worlds by imagining beams of light but by doing that shadow work—
Debra Maldonado 33:23
Coming to terms with our own darkness. And when we say darkness, it’s really when we look at it from even that Eastern perspective, is that there is an aspect of us that’s never been harmed, that’s never been hurt, that’s never been damaged. That’s our pure self. And that’s already here with us. And this world that we’re in, this consciousness that we’re experiencing in the Maya of life is in play, it’s a grand play. And I think we get it. I know, for me, I got lost in the play of the good and evil and that kind of balance of “I got to be positive”. And there’s these negative entities that are clinging on to me, and I have to get rid of them and all those things, to live in so much fear has caused a lot of people— I mean, look what happened with the QAnon movement. It’s so much fear and projection of terror, and even politics itself is just one big projection. But I mean, these people that are really good spiritual people kind of are misunderstanding that what they’re seeing is their own shadow and if they can know that, then they can wake up. And that’s what’s going to heal the world. It’s not hating the haters and the bad people. It’s saying “Why do I have this trigger response to this experience? And how do I come to terms?” I mean, I had to come to terms with politically— things that triggered me about what was happening in the world. And I had to say “Why am I getting so triggered by this?” And I had to own my own projection of what I was seeing and I think if everyone did that we would have a different world, we would have the peace. It’s not make those people change. It’s like, why am I so triggered by that person? And why do I need them to change? That and knowing that we’re one with everything, we’re all connected, that everyone we meet, every experience we have is a mirror of our own inner self. And so we’re just seeing a reflection, it’s not a materialistic view. And I got caught up in the materialism and moving my energy around. And if I had positive energy or a higher vibration, I would manifest different things. And those things are really nice. But then you’re missing the point, I always felt like I wasn’t spiritual enough because I wasn’t manifesting what I wanted. I didn’t have a boyfriend, I couldn’t have a relationship. So I’m wrong, and there’s something broken in me, and I have to heal myself. And it got to the point where I was so exhausted from it all. And I really didn’t know, I was just grasping at things. And I know, I made a lot of my clients, that’s the same experience they have, they’re trying to grasp at different things and hopefully get that love that they want or the money they want, or you know, the life they want. And we need that understanding of the psyche, so we can know, have a foundation of “Okay, what are we dealing with here? What’s the foundation?” Then we can really make better decisions.
Robert Maldonado 36:25
Yeah, so Jung would certainly say to the new age, use everything what you’re learning about shamanism, what you’re learning about medicinal plants. I know a lot of people now — including some of our clients that we love — want to go on these journeys of ayahuasca and peyote, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with those things. But keep in mind, Jung would say, that the wisdom is going to be found within you, not in appropriating other culture’s wisdom, or simply taking rituals out of context and using them somehow in a magical way. The work is really that Shadow Work, that taking responsibility for your life in your mind, and accepting full responsibility, which he says is not an easy psychological feat to employ, because our ego, its whole objective is to keep us in the status quo. There’s a lot of resistance in our mind against change, against real change. It’s easier to project, it’s easier to say “No, the evil is out there.”
Debra Maldonado 37:53
I’m good. They’re bad.
Robert Maldonado 37:54
Yes, the devil made me do it. And Jung talks about this. He says, many people would rather say the devil made me do it than accept responsibility for this. It’s kind of almost a childish way of seeing the universe, that there are these evil forces, but they’re outside of me. And I have nothing to do with them, I’m a good kid. But the evil one is the one that’s tripping me up.
Debra Maldonado 38:25
Or the worst is that I did evil in my past life and now I’m paying the karma for that. I felt like, for myself, that I was doing therapy myself with the spiritual work, it was just mixed together, that my soul was somehow wounded or damaged, or someone said I had torn chakras and had to heal them all. And, you know, there’s all this stuff that seems like “Oh, that makes sense.” If you go to a shaman and you want to get fixed and healed, but it was like too much. I felt that I was never going to be okay. Every time I would go to a workshop, I would think “Oh my God, I’m gonna find something else out, something that was wounded in me that I have to heal.” I got to the point where I just didn’t want to go there anymore. So we have to look at what is the concept of healing, and healing to me now is that I realized who I really am, and I realized that ignorance. The only thing that can harm us and make us suffer is the ignorance of who we are. That I say we only have one problem. And that problem is we believe we’re the ego. And as long as we believe that, the ego will wrap itself around our spiritual beliefs and make it distort what is real and separate and good and bad and dual. And then we end up chasing something out there or within ourselves, like trying to rearrange the furniture when it can be so simple. It’s so elegant and so simple but hard to do is realize we’re not the ego. And it’s because it’s so invasive in our culture and our mind and the world and our bodies, that we’re this individual, and that we’re separate from everyone. But Jung’s work really gives us that map to go inward, using the mind, visualization, dreams, working with the shadow, working with the emotions. We start to say “Wait a minute, you have that direct experience.” And that is, no one can take that away from you. And once you get that wisdom on that deep level, then playing with intuition and doing all these fun rituals makes sense, it makes better sense, but it’s really coming from what is the foundation of what I believe, what’s my philosophy of what I believe?
Robert Maldonado 40:47
So we get to this point where we’ve gotten to in society where I say, the institutions— I wouldn’t say the ideas, because Christianity, of course, is still very much alive, all the Abrahamic traditions are still alive. But the institutions no longer have the power over the spiritual life of people, meaning the genie has been let out of the bottle. And now it’s up to us to carry that forward into the future. And Jung would say, you’re not going to get rid of the spiritual need of human beings. You can deny it like some of the— Hawking— I mean, what’s the name of this guy, The Selfish Gene— Dawkins, and Sam Harris, and people like that kind of saying, well, we don’t need religion, or we don’t need spirituality anymore, we’ve reached a scientific understanding of the world. I would say that that’s the wrong attitude. And Jung would say, you can’t get rid of the collective unconscious, it is the ground of our human mind. And it is the source of those deep religious, numinous symbols that arise, that become our religious symbols. And he says, that mechanism is going to continue to operate, the collective unconscious is going to continue to play into human affairs. And if you neglect it, if you say, well, let’s focus on science, focus on the conscious mind what we know and what we’re able to do, then that’s when it becomes dangerous. He says, what if a symbol arises that is completely misunderstood by people and is used by political machinery?
Debra Maldonado 43:03
Like swastika? That was a Buddhist symbol. A very ancient symbol, then it was used to create hate.
Robert Maldonado 43:12
That’s right. There’s a great interview on YouTube. One of the last interviews the BBC did with Jung himself, and he says “What if something goes wrong with the psyche? We know very little about the unconscious mind.” And his whole mission was to create a psychology that gives us access to the collective unconscious.
Debra Maldonado 43:40
So can I ask you a question, this is kind of coming maybe a little— So if we look at the world, and we see the world has all these problems. And we have to see that the world psyche is a reflective of each of our individual psyches. So the lack of money or the poverty, the wars, the persecution, the abuse, all that stuff is part of us. And I think most people — not that we are that personally, but as a human psyche has these forces, and then also the good, and the beautiful, and the nature, and that’s all part of us too. And to understand that we like to have wholeness, we have to see that in order to fight the wars out there, or the poverty out there, we have to work with our own mind, and our own judgment on that or our own experience of lack. And that’s how we change versus I gotta go out and pave the pavement and fight. We can do those things too. But the real change happens when we stop judging what’s happening in the world and making it us against them. Really see what part of me is creating this experience, even on a collective level, a deeper collective level is how do I come to terms with that. The Yogis, the very evolved Yogis of our time, that’s what they really work on, they go in and they go into the Himalayas, and they’re kind of holding the planet together in a way, they’re kind of holding that balance. But we can do that ourselves. We have the power just like them to do that ourselves.
Robert Maldonado 45:29
Yeah, and his solution is individuation. So individuation would mean that you’re individuating from the herd mentality, you’re no longer just following the group, this kind of mob mentality that we saw recently in Washington, in the storming Capitol, if you’re individuated, you understand that you don’t have to be caught up in those collective projections.
Debra Maldonado 46:02
We’re being that kind of herd mentality of believing something and projecting that onto a leader, that you’re believing everything they say, and you’re not even having any critical thinking around it.
Robert Maldonado 46:15
That’s right. So that was his big warning for people — if you don’t do your own shadow work, if you don’t take responsibility for your life, then you’re very susceptible to the mob mentality, to those ideas floating around out there in the culture. And now with the internet, of course, it’s very easy for people to fall prey to those kind of ideas. We see, like you mentioned, the QAnon people kind of falling into these conspiracy theories very easily. And now the research shows, these are not ignorant people, these are smart people with degrees and education, but because they’re susceptible, in other words, they haven’t done that shadow work, they haven’t been given access to a psychology where they can understand their own mind, and understand projection, then they fall into those projections, those mass hallucinations very easily.
Debra Maldonado 47:16
And then, you know, when I was looking at that, I was triggered. Like, why are they believing all this stuff? And then, instead of making them versus me, I would go in and say “Well, what is that about me? What is that teaching me about myself? And why does that make me feel uncomfortable?” And I think it’s my own tendency to follow the herd and be lost in that. And it’s a real danger to a person, not that anything bad can happen, because we’re all in this Maya that eventually will be one again, in their use of oneness. But that kind of idea that we’re missing out, we’re going to miss out on our development or experience of life and get out of suffering. A good rule of thumb is anything that’s driven by fear is not a spiritual concept. If you’re coming from fear, then that’s an ego. So confusing spirituality with the ego is kind of hijacking your spiritual work if there’s any fear around it. And so that would be a rule of thumb, if you’re afraid or paranoid, it’s not spiritual, your ego definitely is running the show here. And it’s clouding that cognitive bias that you see. People can’t even see it. You can’t even talk to people. And that’s what happens. People don’t talk to each other. They’re not open. They are projecting.
Robert Maldonado 48:47
Yeah, the other big problem is the climate change. Now, Jung would say that if you really want to address this problem, it’s not going to come from trying to persuade people. Because rationality is not enough. Rationality simply is the ego mind and it simply says “Take care of yourself. As long as you’re doing okay, don’t worry about the planet.”
Debra Maldonado 49:13
And it’s inconvenient. Like Gore says, it’s the inconvenient truth. It’s inconvenient to think, okay, we have to conserve, we can’t just throw garbage out and we can’t just leave the lights on all the time. It’s inconvenient and the ego does not like to change.
Robert Maldonado 49:29
It does not like that. So he says the answer has to come from a real internal transformation, meaning getting at the collective unconscious and finding that connection to nature from within.
Debra Maldonado 49:45
Yes. I was thinking that too, that connection to nature, that connection to others, you know, we’re all one, that oneness that we experience. It’s in those things that you’re caring. It’s like caring and compassion. What Buddhists teach is that compassion for others. Very beautiful practice. But I think the most problem is that we don’t have compassion for ourselves, we don’t give ourselves a break. But that connection to nature and really going back to instead of always putting up celebrities and money and wealth as the prize of the world, there’s inner treasure that we can have. Not that you can’t have money and success as well, because we don’t mind that. But it can’t be the only thing. It can’t be the leading thing that you have. And then in pursuing that, is that destroying nature? Is that hurting others? And asking those questions.
Robert Maldonado 50:52
Yes. And then the third one is the question of technology. We see it already in the internet, of course, that it amplified all our human foibles. Our tendency, I mean, the internet, any technology is neutral. It’s like money, you can use it to build a hospital, you can use it to create bonds. The internet, or the technology in general, it’s the same principle. You can use it to divide people, to rule people, to control people. Or you can use it to unite, like we saw in the Arab Spring phenomena. People really just using it to create social change. The question is, or let’s say, the answer is up to us. If we’re not conscious, if we don’t take the time to think things through and examine our own mind, what does this mean for us, how are we going to deal with this, how are we going to use these things, then that’s the danger. Then Jung would say, if you neglect something, if you push it away, if you ignore it, then it has the danger of coming back to bite you in the butt. But if you’re willing to take responsibility for it, then there’s a pretty good chance you can use it creatively.
Debra Maldonado 52:24
I always say that the best way to see your shadow is just go on Facebook or social media and watch where you’re getting triggered, because that’s exactly pointing to something in you. And there’s a lot of people that are like— I would see people post how triggered they are with someone else, and I know the shadow. And I’m just like, I can totally see why you’re triggered by that. And even if I try to help them, they still can’t get it. It’s always pushing it out. Like not willing to take responsibility or looking within. The ego has such defenses around it. And that’s why you said Jung says it takes great moral courage. Because the ego will defend and will project, and it’s like me versus them. I’m good, they’re bad. Or worse, I’m so terrible and everyone else is great, you know, I’m not good enough. Everyone else is so much better than me. And it plays out that way too. And we’re not seeing that, actually, the people that we admire, the people that are doing great things that we aspire to be, are in us as well. So it works both ways, not just the annoying people, but the people that we admire and we look up to. If we understand that we’re seeing that projection, that will stop people from— we watch Netflix, and there’s so many crazy stories of cults and people losing themselves, smart people losing themselves to this charismatic leader. And then kind of projecting all their own divine self onto this person, this human being, and then losing themselves and not recognizing the power they have within, this is like handing over your power to someone else. And so that’s what Jung was all about, about reclaiming that power, going within, turning inward to find yourself.
Robert Maldonado 54:22
Yeah, I’d say the bottom line is if we want to survive this coming age, technological change, and face all the challenges ahead of us, philosophy and psychology are going to be the key. Understanding our own psychology and using a philosophical model, which means that we’re open to other ideas. We’re not just saying “No, you have to believe what we believe.” Because it’s a multicultural world, whether we like it or not. We have to deal with people that have very different points of view. And a philosophy gives us that flexibility, the ability to say “Oh, I see, you have your own worldview that is different from mine. But let’s try to find a common ground, something that connects us, our humanity or our need to be in touch with the earth.” And just being human beings, right, that’s enough connection for most of us.
Debra Maldonado 55:26
I find that the shadow work that we do with clients, we call it the lucid shadow process, it’s not the therapy model, it’s the coaching model. The way we do it, it solves so many conflicts and relationships, because there’s so much projection going on in family relationships, romantic relationships, work relationships, and they find that the relationship itself resolves. So if we can do that on a personal level, imagine if we all would— we should just have everyone, every country have a shadow session — we will have more peace in the world, because what we’re really seeing is that projection, you see it play out in politics and religion and different cultures and, you know, genocide. I mean, it’s all shadow. It’s all this “they’re bad, I’m good.” I’m just saying in the past, but what if we can have that? I don’t think it’s pessimistic to say that if we do our own shadow work and understand, it’ll help us heal the world, heal relationships. And collectively, everybody has to start with ourselves first. Instead of changing the minds of everyone, change your own mind first, and then that will create that ripple effect.
Robert Maldonado 56:45
Yeah, I mean, I definitely believe most people are good. If you look at the statistics, most people do not go out of their way to be bad to other people.
Debra Maldonado 56:57
It’s the extremes that kind of get all the noise.
Robert Maldonado 57:00
That’s right. So especially in the media, the emphasis is on the bad. So when you look at the Internet and the media, it appears that the world’s going to hell, you know.
Debra Maldonado 57:13
Meanwhile, everyone’s just getting along.
Robert Maldonado 57:16
There’s so many opportunities, so much life and opportunity going on.
Debra Maldonado 57:23
Yeah, and I think that if you’re drawn to look at certain things, or you’re triggered about a certain world issue, then look within yourself, that’s what I’m saying. We can look within ourselves, and then it’ll appear differently, we’ll start to see things differently. And that’s the best thing we can do is work on ourselves first, it’s like, put the oxygen mask on first before you save the child. It’s the same thing, let me look within, the disturbance out there is reflecting a disturbance in here that I see. And the divine out there is reflecting the divine in me.
Robert Maldonado 58:00
Debra Maldonado 58:01
So that was a great, great— So the bottom line is discipline. You know, Jung really gave us a great model of the psyche to take us through that pattern of individuation, that includes all the cool visualizations and all this tapping into our intuition and all these wonderful fun stuff that we do with personal development, but at least we know where we’re going. And before I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just kind of putting band aids on symptoms with a lot of things, and approaching myself as an ego that needs to be healed versus I’m already whole and let me work on integrating the other aspects of myself that aren’t, that I pushed away.
Robert Maldonado 58:54
Yeah, and this is a good segue into the next series that we want to do, which is spiritual influences and coaching. We want to look at the different spiritual traditions around the world, and how they played into what we call coaching now.
Debra Maldonado 59:16
So there’s a question here: my mother archetype visualizations have shifted from the mother Mary and other spiritual beings as the mother archetype to me being my own mother archetype. Yep. That’s what that is. You’re realizing that you’re seeing yourself, that you are mother Mary, that you are a spiritual being, that all these are just projections, and you’re kind of integrating it into yourself and that feminine material, the — Shiva energy? — the Shakti energy. About ayahuasca, it’s not in the right context in an Amazon forest. My best friend went on a retreat and hoped she’ll be free from her epilepsy. She died a week later. Yeah, that’s the problem with these things, people that don’t understand psychology and are opening people up like that. And like you said, she suffered recurring visions for a week, which caused her have a major seizure, then she died. It’s not harmless. Some people die from after effects. We’ve seen people in Colorado, the women that were doing this kind of rebirthing technique and they basically suffocated a little girl, she was, what 10 years old or 11 years old? They were putting blankets on her and pillows, and they were mimicking this rebirthing process. And then she ended up dying. So yeah, there is real danger to not having that structure or that accountability. She’s very spiritual believers who would help her. We got to be careful [whole phrase inaudible and incomprehensible].
Robert Maldonado 1:00:58
Debra Maldonado 1:00:59
Especially around shamanism and potions and drugs. Yeah, totally relate to that.
Robert Maldonado 1:01:05
And with the wisdom that we have available to us through the Upanishads, through philosophy, through psychology as well. There’s no need for that. Our mind is capable of all those things.
Debra Maldonado 1:01:19
We don’t need drugs to have those experiences.
Robert Maldonado 1:01:24
There’s nothing wrong with studying and respecting those practices and those cultures. But we do have to take into consideration their dangers like you mentioned. Thank you for bringing that up.
Debra Maldonado 1:01:43
Yeah. This is a great conversation, actually reveals some of my closet roots, but I love all that stuff. I love intuition, I love using my imagination, my dreams are very intuitive, I’ve had a lot of spiritual experiences that I can’t explain by Western model. So I want to learn and open myself up to understanding but also having this structure of where I’m going with it and understanding the ego in a stronger way because I don’t know if people really understand the power the ego has over our own life. And if we’re not conscious of it, how it can really mislead us into seeing things that are truthful that are not and so, the first step is to face your own shadow. And then you can go deeper into these realms of the collective and see them for their purity versus a projection of your own. Like, what you meant what you feel like, for me it was kind of my misunderstood— I don’t know how to say this, like my lower ego, insecurity, and then having this deity be like a hero to me. That kind of separation that somethings had taught me early on. And no, there’s no idealization. You’re your own idol. You know, that’s who you are.
Robert Maldonado 1:03:19
Yeah, I think we’ve come to a place in human evolution where we just need to grow up, we just need to accept responsibility for our destiny and take the reins, because as far as we know, there’s no God coming to save us. And we’re going to have to save ourselves.
Debra Maldonado 1:03:42
Well, great. Well, thank you for joining us, everyone. Thank you for your questions and comments. And we’ll see you next week, where we begin our series on spiritual traditions in coaching, and we finished our psychology. And please join us in our Facebook group, Jungian life coaching with Creative Mind university to interact with us and our coaching team more, and we’ll see you soon.
Robert Maldonado 1:04:07
Thanks for watching.
Debra Maldonado 1:04:08
Take care, everyone.
Robert Maldonado 1:04:09
Take care, stay well.
Debra Maldonado 1:04:11