08 April 2017
What Would C.G. Jung Say about Donald Trump?
The great doctor of the soul and modern day alchemist C. G.Jung was so far ahead of his time that, more than half a century after his death, he is still barely appreciated. Jung was a genius who had incredibly deep insight into the nature of the psyche, particularly how it informs and gives shape to what plays out in our world. I find myself wondering, what would Jung say about the madness currently playing out in our world if he were alive today? I can only imagine. Jung was of the opinion that “Active Imagination,” a process in which we actively dialogue and have it out with the figures of our unconscious, was the most powerful practice he had ever come across for working with—and integrating—the unconscious. I find myself wondering, what if I were to do active imagination with Jung himself?…[more]
Illuminating Dark Times
We are truly living in dark times. More accurately, we are living in times where the darkness is emerging from hiding in the shadows and is becoming visible. It is easy and very seductive to become overwhelmed with pessimism, despair and depression during these times of darkness, which would sadly be to unwittingly feed and collude with the darkness. And yet, to quote a popular saying on the French left, “the hour calls for optimism; we’ll save pessimism for better times”… [more]
Drawing by Paul Levy
Healing Our Collective Sickness
In these uncertain, crazy, polarizing and scary times we live in, one thing I think everyone can agree on is this: if viewed as a single macro-organism, humanity has fallen ill. With the ascension of Donald Trump onto the highest throne of political power on planet earth, some of us might feel that the sickness is finally going to be called out, illumined and healed, while others feel that Trump and his administration are themselves the current purveyors, lineage holders and embodiments of the sickness. Either way, the fact that humanity is not well—afflicted with some sort of disorder—is something that I think we can all agree upon; this might be a good starting point for our inquiry. The obvious question: What is the nature of this deeper sickness that is pulsing through the veins of humanity? In contemplating this very question, philosopher John McMurtry, author of the brilliant book The Cancer Stage of Capitalism, refers to the “Great Sickness” that pervades our modern day capitalist system as having all of the hallmark qualities of cancer. Using a whole systems approach, he is pointing out that the diagnosis of cancer precisely maps onto a macro-analysis of our current body politic, which is to say that what is happening collectively in our world can be recognized to be a form of cancer.
Are We Humans Terminally Insane or Just Waking Up?
How does anyone possibly express in words the state of collective madness that humanity has fallen into at this time in our history? As if in a hypnotic trance, our species is enacting a mass ritual suicide on a global scale, rushing as fast as we can towards our own self-destruction. We are destroying the biospheric life-support systems of the planet in so many different ways that it is as if we are determined to make this suicide attempt work—using a variety of methods as a perverse insurance policy, in case a couple of them don’t do the job. What modern-day humanity is confronted with, to quote the author and Trappist monk Thomas Merton, is “a crisis of sanity first of all.” In trying to find a way to write about this state of affairs, I find myself going “off-planet,” imagining what it would look like if some enlightened aliens, in their travels throughout the universe, came upon our planet. Observing from a distance, they would naturally see all the various living beings who call planet earth home as related members of one larger organism—a single eco-system—who literally depend upon each other for survival. From this vantage point, I imagine, they would be utterly baffled at why human beings—the seemingly most intelligent species ever to appear on planet earth—are acting out their destructive impulses practically without restraint in every corner of the globe. Contemplating the state of humanity, I imagine these awakened beings wondering, “What in the world has gotten into them?”…[more]
Born in 1956, Paul Levy grew up in Yonkers, New York. In the mid-seventies he went to college at what was then called the State University of New York at Binghamton (now called Binghamton University), receiving degrees in both economics and studio art. While an undergraduate at Binghamton, he was hired by Princeton University to do research in economics. When he graduated college, he stopped his studies in economics and pursued his career in art, moving out to the Bay Area, where he was both making, and teaching art. In 1981, due to an intense personal trauma, he had a life-changing spiritual awakening in which he began to recognize the dreamlike nature of reality. During the first year of his spiritual emergence, Paul was hospitalized a number of times, and was told he was having a severe psychotic break from reality. Much to his surprise, he was diagnosed as having a chemical imbalance and was informed that he had manic-depressive (bi-polar) illness, and that he would have to live with his illness for the rest of his life. Little did the doctors realize, however, that he was taking part in a mystical awakening/shamanic initiation process, which at times mimicked psychosis but in actuality was a spiritual experience of a far different order, completely off the map of the psychiatric system. Fortunately, he was able to extricate himself from the medical and psychiatric establishment so that he could continue his process of self-discovery. Thankfully, as Paul freed himself from the shackles of psychiatry, he found his spiritual teachers, who instead of seeing Paul as crazy, recognized that he was beginning to spiritually awaken.
An artist, after the trauma of his shamanic break-down/through, he became a certified art teacher. Due to his intense interest in the work of C. G. Jung, by the end of the decade he found himself the manager of the C. G. Jung Foundation Book Service in New York. In 1993, after many years of struggling to contain and integrate his non-ordinary experiences, Paul started to openly share his insights about the dreamlike nature of reality. He began giving talks and facilitating groups based on how life is a shared waking dream that we are all co-creating and co-dreaming together. Paul has developed a unique and creative vehicle to introduce people to the dream-like nature of reality that he calls “The Dreaming Up Process,” which is based on the realization that the same dreaming mind that dreams our dreams at night is dreaming our life. He teaches this dreaming up process in “Awakening in the Dream Groups” where people who are awakening to the dream-like nature of reality come together and collaboratively help each other to wake up in the dream together. A wounded healer in private practice, he assists others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality.
Paul is a pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, as well as an innovator in the field of dreaming (both night dreams as well as waking dreams). A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over 30 years, he has intimately studied with some of the greatest spiritual masters of Tibet and Burma. He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis, as well as Wetiko: The Greatest Epidemic Sickness Known to Humanity.