Some of you went on, however, to wonder how dreamwork might look in analysis. Is it different? And my answer is yes and no. When we come into the process of analysis, we generally commit ourselves to the work of examining our personality in depth. That in itself influences the kind of dreams that may come, you see? In other words, the psyche responds to the work at hand. And if there is a specific focus of Jungian analysis, we will be led through the portals that enable us to journey with some intentionality toward "individuation," and from a perspective that is synthetic, prospective, and teleological.
Consider these three words: synthetic (uniting the opposites that are unresolved in our lives), prospective (considering the potential that lies hidden within the unconscious), and teleological (pointing toward an "end" that represents a culmination of one's life in its physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions). This Jungian perspective that is synthetic, prospective, and teleological emerges from a study of the human personality that reveals its purposiveness and creativity prompted by the unconscious that appears to nudge us with a kind of goal-directedness. Analysis thus becomes a "waking up" to the process within that is striving toward an actualization of our wholeness, the telos of which Jung chose the word individuation, to be distinguished from individualism and individuality -- terms that catch the nuances of ego-directed activity and identity.
A person may thus be very charming, intellectual, nice, kind, cooperative, likeable, religious, and accomplished in some facet of life, but still not "be awake." Jung compared the path toward individuation as having similar demands upon the human personality as the process of becoming a Zen adept under the tutelage of a Zen master. Jung says this,
... let a Master set us to a hard task, which requires more than mere
parrot-talk, and the European begins to have doubts, for the steep
path of self-development is to him as mournful and gloomy as the path
to hell. (CW 11, para. 902)
Or, as Jesus of Nazareth said,
How hard it is for those who have riches to make their way into the
kingdom of God. Yes, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye
of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of God. Those
who were listening said, "In that case, who can be saved?" [Meaning,
If money, power, influence, and position don't get us in, what hope is
there, for these are the most important things in life and the rewards
of all our striving.] Jesus replied, "Things that are impossible by human
resources, are possible by God." (Luke 18: 24-27)
Obviously, Jesus is not just picking on the wealthy in this saying that appears in all the Synoptic Gospels and has reliability and authenticity. Like Jung describing each of us who shies away from the work when it gets hard, Jesus is saying there is something in human nature that can be intimidated by fear, uncertainty, and great effort when it involves risk. However, like the child who fears taking that very first step, that very first time of taking the training wheels off the bicycle, we will continue to face the risk of all new steps until the day we die.
However, the "risk" of individuation is a new kind of risk, not just an exercise in bravery. Bravery is not really the quality that we most need, although courage is important on our journey. However, even more important is a trust and commitment to follow our star that guides us on the night-sea journey toward wholeness or individuation. And in our dreams we find our star.
More on dreams and individuation next time.