BELONGING: the eternal search for home

Mar 11, 2021

Photo Credit: Eirik Olsen via Unsplash

Horses herd, birds flock, whales pod, and people tribe. The need to belong is as intrinsic to human nature as the need for food, touch, clothing, and shelter. We belong to families, communities, ideas, and ideals, yet must also separate from them in service to our own individuation.

As we grow, we belong to teams and clubs and find new homes in school and at work. Is the price of belonging rigid conformity and sameness, or is uniqueness valued and difference supported? We later express attitude and attachment to home in the houses we inhabit: photos and mementos honor connections within a framework of personal expression. Jung built Bollingen, the unique home in which he was “in the midst of my true life [and] most deeply myself.” To be at home in the world and belong to ourselves is the mature manifestation of affiliation, differentiation, and creative endeavor.

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I see our home landscape from the air some distance away from the home, as though I’m seeing it while hovering/flying in the air – a birds-eye view. I see that the bungalow, that’s our home, is in a ruined condition. The building appears deserted, a destroyed habitat in time of apocalypse with its bare skeleton remaining – the base and some misshapen columns, like the one in destroyed cities of war-torn Syria, except there are no large number of buildings in the vicinity. It’s the only building in the area. During one time that I dreamt this recurring dream, I saw my paternal grandfather walking around the building and when I approached him, he kind of said with his body language, “What do you want? I got nothing!” and the dream ended. His hands were out in front at hip height as if showing he had nothing.”


John Hill. https://www.amazon.com/Home-World-Symmetries-Analytical-Psychology/dp/1935528009/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=John+Hill+and+home&qid=1614705546&s=books&sr=1-1


Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/


  1. Jillian marie boone

    Are you home if you don’t have anything you value?

    The dreamer seems to have nothing to value and is in common with his grandfather..not appreciated what he has.

  2. Mamie Krupczak Allegretti

    Interesting topic and so many things came to mind while listening. Regarding the dream…I thought that it might be interesting for the dreamer to use this image for an active imagination. I was thinking that I might just kind of sit there in the ruins of the house and see what comes next. Perhaps an image will appear as to a way of saying goodbye and new path to take. Also, it reminded me of Robert Johnson’s book Inner Work where he says that you have to create some kind of ritual or enactment or expansion of what the dream means to you. Maybe this dreamer needs to do something like that. I would also try to think about what my home was like in the past and what about that is now missing in my life. After doing that, this could be an exciting and fun time for the dreamer to think about what he would like in a home and try to bring some of those things to his own life. Thanks again for your work.

  3. Larry W.

    I was struck by the discussion of belongings and their importance to our sense of identity and memory. I have a history of acquiring and discarding belongings in a repetitive pattern. It resembles the ‘binging and purging’ associated with eating disorders. I feel great when I ‘clean house’ of ‘no-longer-wanted’ possessions, including irreplaceable and highly personal/sentimental items as well as books, CDs, clothing, etc. There is a brief illusion of ‘starting fresh’ or anew. However, that is almost always followed by intense regret later. This podcast has helped me to consider whether this repetitive practice reflects a larger discomfort with my identity and personal history and why that might be. It certainly seems to relate to my difficulties in relationships of all kinds. Thanks for providing fresh insight on a long-standing problem.

  4. Simcha

    Thanks for another enriching talk – so helpful for the current Corona crisis.

    At about 26:00, JL mentions a “Contact and Belonging” connection, which was described in last week’s podcast, too (but in reference to a disconnect between “Contact and Pleasure” for a baby).

    Is this dis/connection described in Jung’s writings? Where could one read more about it?


  5. Mamie Krupczak Allegretti

    My husband reads about Buddhism quite a bit, so we discuss possessions a lot. It’s become kind of a joke with us, too. When we get rid of something, we joke about getting rid of it if it’s something rather mundane. Who would we be without this bag of old magazines? Who would we be without our possessions? Who would I be without my trophies, my family photos, my house, my pots and pans? What happens when I lose those things? Does it change who I am? Why am I attached to them? It reminds me of a story Eckhart Tolle once told of a woman who lost her wedding ring. He told her that someday she would have to leave it behind. Interestingly, I often think about getting rid of things that mean a lot to me in order to break myself of this attachment. I’m working on it! I’ve gotten rid of lots of things that meant something to me at one time and sometimes I wish having them back. Overall, I find I actually can live without them. I also think that as I get older, I no longer want to be responsible for all this stuff – cleaning it, maintaining it, paying for it. Sometimes I just want to be rid of it all! Spring cleaning here I come!


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