SELF-REFLECTION: What Was I Thinking?

Sep 23, 2021

a blond man wearing tortoiseshell glasses stares out the window. His reflection stares back, illustrating the topic of self-reflection.
Photo Credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via Unsplash

Jung says, “There is another instinct, different from the drive to activity and so far as we know specifically human, which might be called the reflective instinct.” Self-reflection is correlated with consciousness and is arguably humankind’s unique and essential competency: a meta-cognitive capacity that is aware of its own awareness.

If this is lacking, we may share the fate of Narcissus, who fell in love with his image, mirrored in silvery water–but every time he sought an embrace, his loved one retreated. Because he was unable to reflect on his reflection, Narcissus wasted away from psychic starvation. Many of today’s cultural forces make image supreme and tempt us to identify with reflections and appearances. Instead, we can choose to turn inward and observe ourselves, using consciousness to unite outer and inner worlds, feeling, and thinking. Only seeing into ourselves can clarify motivation, make meaning conscious, and bring our scattered parts into harmony and wholeness. 


“I had a dream that I was in a half-abandoned house; it looked old and needed to be renovated. It was spacious with many rooms and corridors. My younger son, four years old, was by my side. He was occupied with something, and I was getting frustrated as I needed to go to the toilet to relieve myself (to do #2). I was getting frustrated as he wasn’t listening, and my urge was becoming greater. I left him behind and started looking for a toilet. I was entering some rooms, and they looked like abandoned, old, destroyed, non-functioning toilets. I realized that I can’t take it any longer, so I decided that the next door I open, I will relieve myself. I opened the door and the room looked disgusting: some feces were just on the floor. I don’t remember seeing an actual toilet; everything looked as if it was abandoned many years ago (e.g., paint peeled off the walls, dust). I stepped into some shit, and somehow it landed on my cheek (I didn’t feel too disgusted but more annoyed, as I just needed to receive myself.  I felt “I can’t hold it any longer,” as I started to squat, about to relieve myself. The floor collapsed, and I started to fall down. I had to grab onto something with my hands and to pull myself…and woke up (feeling a bit scared).” 


Classical Tales of Mythology: Heroes, Gods and Monsters of Ancient Rome and Greece by Thomas Bulfinch https://www.amazon.com/dp/1839406631/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PJKRPY1X5QCMHDNHZQJ8


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

Lisa will be giving a zoom presentation on dreams for Oregon Friends of Jung on October 15. Here’s the link to sign up: https://ofj.org/event/another-whom-we-do-not-know-dreams-as-the-voice-of-the-inner-companion/


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