Matter of Heart, A documentary on CG Jung


I recently watched a documentary about Carl Jung on youtube called Matter of Heart (1986). It is a good primer on Jung’s Analytical Psychology.

I urge you to click the link to this video and take the time to watch this 1 hour and 45 minute video on what I believe to be the most important message on psychological and spiritual growth of our time.

Perhaps his most important message is that psyche is really real. In fact, psyche is the only real thing in this world; everything else is an illusion. In this idea Jung began the marriage between the eastern and western philosophy of psyche.

These Jungian analysts have a urgent message about saving the planet from ultimate catastrophe. coppia cerca donna Livorno Confront your shadow, reconcile the opposites within, and wrestle like Jacob with god itself. (This is what Jung called the individuation journey.) And then, and only then, do we have a chance to skirt by the looming world wars threatening all life on this planet.

How Deep Do Dreams Go?

Here is a talk I gave on March 15, 2014 to the All Reality group in Santa Monica.
I speak about the split between ego and soul, how this shows up in dreams, and then move into the inner world by talking about lucid dreaming and astral projection.

Putting the Star Woman in a Jungian Context


In this post I will ground the Star Woman in Jungian psychology as a guiding archetype for the Aquarian Age.

There are eight critical archetypes in Jung’s individuation process. Four are part of the personal world (microcosm / earth) and four are part of the collective world (macrocosm / heaven).

The four personal archetypes are: persona, ego, shadow and the trickster. The four collective archetypes: are animus (or anima for men), Self, serpent, and Sophia. (If you click on the figure it gets bigger.)

The Personal Archetypes

The persona is the face we show to the world; it can also be understood as the roles we play in society. The ego is our identity/personality, the “I” that we think we are. The shadow, is our alter-personality; it is composed of all that we think we are not. The trickster is the first inner male character a woman meets on her individuation journey. Previously Jungians have simply classified this figure as the animus in compliment to the man’s anima. However, in my research by female authors, e.g. Helen Luke, and my personal experience, a woman meets the trickster first. Clarissa Pinkola Estes in Women who Run with the Wolves names the trickster the predator in her second chapter. This character appears to initiate women into her inner creative world and higher levels of consciousness. (I will write more about the trickster in another blog post.)

The Collective Archetypes

The Self represents heaven, and the serpent represents earth. They are the first opposites created, light and dark, spirit and matter, etc. The animus is the women’s inner world personality, and Sophia (Star Woman) is the personality of the higher self of the earthly collective.

Most spiritual traditions regard ascension (serpent to Self/God) as the very essence of the soul’s journey. This is why I, tongue in check, call Jung’s individuation process the resurrection of the serpent in alignment with Gnostic beliefs. uomo cerca donna Cosenza The spiritual and collective evolutionary task presenting earthlings at this time is to sacrifice the hubristic ego to the guidance of the Star Woman.

I could write a book on these first few paragraphs. (Oh yeah, I did! It’s called my dissertation.) Many volumes have been written about the archetypes of Jung’s individuation process, one of my favorites is Murray Stein’s Jung’s Map of the Soul. This blog post is only about one of these archetypes — uomo cerca trans Sophia/The Star Woman.

Why the Tarot

Before I launch into explaining the Star Woman, many may be wondering why the Tarot? In fact, Jung was interested in several divination practices like the I Ching and the Tarot. Both of these systems are signposts for one’s individuation journey. The I Ching also known as the Book of Changes documents 64 different changes in the cycle of life. The Tarot documents 22 stations the fool makes on his way to universal consciousness. I have in a previous post been discussing earth’s individuation from the Tower card to the Star card in the Tarot.

uomo cerca donna Caltanissetta I said all this to put the Star Woman in context so that I could say a few words about her importance in the Aquarian age, the entering millennium.

The Star cards in the Tarot


The card on the left is from Aliester Crowley’s Thoth deck; and the card on the right is from the very popular Rider Waite deck. It is not my intention to talk about the differences, however, the guiding card for me is the card on the left, Lady Freida Harris’ surrealist’s depiction of the Star Woman for our times.

A woman, naked and kneeling on her left knee, pours from a vase in her right hand silver waters into a river, by which grow roses, the haunts of coloured butterflies. With her left hand, she pours golden waters over her head, which are lost in her long hair. Her attitude suggests the Swastika. Above flames a great star of seven rays. (Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot: An Authoritative Examination of the World’s Most Fascinating and Magical Tarot Card by Lon Milo DuQuette, p. 143)

The Star Woman as Guide for our Chaotic Times

The Star Woman is the medium connecting the collective with the personal, heaven with earth. “She is concerned with both, and through her ministrations the two interact creatively” (Nichols, p. 295). This is a critical statement because it puts earth and heaven on equal footing. This brings to mind Jung’s essay called “Answer to Job,” where he posits the necessary incarnation of Jesus Christ to learn what man knows that god does not. The ancient Emerald Tablet, the touchstone of alchemical texts and Egyptian/Hermetic philosophy, states “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.” In this statement we see, again, the mutuality of heaven (Above) and earth (Below) in the creation of the Unus Mundi (One Thing). (Let me note here that Jung’s work on the Anima Mundi, the soul of the world, is the Star Woman.)

Personally, this means your inner soul figure (animus for women) mediates between the Star Woman and your ego.

The Aquarian age is a time when the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is very thin giving anyone and everyone access to their higher psychic faculties. This is the goal of Jungian psychology. “Jung contends that man’s salvation lies within the depths of his psyche, and that each of us must labor in his own individual way to discover and free the golden essence which lies buried within our psycho-physical nature” *Nichols, p. 297).

From where I sit it looks like we are being prepared for another war in the Middle East which has the potential to irrupt into World War 3 with Russia. This may be the final fall of the old structures represented by the Tower card in the Tarot. While the desert religions believe this is the harbinger for their Messiah(s), I believe, as Jung did and many post-religious people do, that the savior is within.

Eastern Spirituality and Western Egos

I’ve been asked many times about the differences between what Carl Jung taught and the lessons in Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge. So I thought I would get out a quick blog post explaining the differences as I see it.

Perhaps the most important difference concerns the development of ego in the west as rugged individual versus in the east as one part of a greater whole, be it family, society, or universe.

This difference is why Jung said almost a century ago that donna cerca uomo Anzio westerners cannot slap eastern spirituality on top of a western ego and expect enlightenment.

I make a strong distinction in my teachings about the ego and the soul as two distinct and different entities in the psyche. (See previous blog post about Ego and Soul.)

In the east transcending the ego is part and parcel of their cultural development; in the west we are our egos. Therefore, it makes sense to heal the ego and bring it into relationship with our souls; this is the path of Jungian individuation. As earthlings we need both, ego which is responsible for our physical being and soul which is responsible for our spiritual being.

In Jungian circles we call this dialectic relationship the ego-soul axis. Everything Chopra is talking about refers to the soul part of this equation.

As I’m sure you have experienced in your meditation ego is bouncing around all over the place with plans for the future, or ruminating on past events. Your experience of the eternal soul and its connection to Source occurs in those fleeting spaces between ego’s obsessions.

Meditation is a practice to increase the spaces in your psyche where soul can enter your life.

There is one last distinction between Jungian thought and Chopra’s teachings related to Source. In Jungian Psychology the Self or Source has intentions for our soul on earth which becomes our purpose in life to fulfill. Chopra’s teachings has ego intentions asking Source for fulfillment. I believe the truth lies between these two extremes. We have a distinct purpose to fulfill on earth, and if our intentions align with this purpose then Source will fulfill wishes.

Inquiry Practice

Inquiry is a powerful soul practice, a path to self-realization or what Jung called individuation. While, ego wants the answers now, and well, most of the time it thinks it has all the answers, soul is activated in the inquiry practice. Soul lives questions, where ego lives answers. (From a quantum physics perspective, think of ego as a particle and soul as a wave.) In fact, we need ego to live answers, for it focuses mostly on our physical survival and operates reflexively, most of the time. However, ego’s life is lived mostly unconsciously, responding to stimulus faster than the speed of light.

Consciousness is a soulful affair. Until we have chosen each and every one of our responses to stimulus we are living a mostly unconscious life, from an ego that was developed in childhood. What was feared in childhood is not as scary as an adult, but until we have the capacity to stop our reflexive responses we have not truly grown up.

An inquiry practice begins with true curiosity into the functioning of ego. The key components of an inquiry practice are: experience, observation and distinctions.

Experience is composed of three parts: the event, your perception, and your judgment. For example, your boyfriend comes home and slams the front door. You believe he is angry and think it is about this morning’s argument. The event is your boyfriend coming home from work. You perceive that he is angry because the door slammed and you judge that it is about this morning’s argument. If you don’t separate your experience into these components, then you are apt to react as if the morning’s argument is still going on and fore go a new experience with your boyfriend.

Observation is composed of two parts: the observer and the observed. The work of consciousness is to continually improve the observers skills to see what is there in great depth, tone and color. However, observation is only one of our six perceptual organs. By far it is the most used. We see, we hear, we smell, we feel, and less so taste the world. And for some we intuit the world. It is important to make distinctions between these six perceptual ways of becoming aware of the observed.

And finally, distinctions give depth and breadth to what is observed. This is where knowledge comes in. The more you know about your psyche and the world, the better you are at sensing and judging what you are experiencing and choosing the appropriate response in the moment, not from your canned patterns of responses.

The mystery of life reveals itself when you stay in the inquiry as long as you can without foreclosing with answers. Too often we get trapped in the questions starting with why and never venture into asking questions beginning with who, what, where, when, and how. Challenge yourself to learn the distinctions of inquiry practice, and then challenge yourself with asking better questions about your psyche and the world.

A PATH WITH HEART: Stopping the War

In this chapter (chapter two) Kornfield likens the war in our head between all the ego voices to the wars in the world. He suggests the way to have peace in the world is to stop the war inside. He suggests that adapting to our society leads one into denial and addiction saying

We use addictions to support out denials.

To wake up to these voices can be overwhelming and depressing, but if you persist you will eventually find peace inside. The most important thing to remember when you begin to pay attention to the voices inside is to simply notice without judging. It’s important to NOTstart a war with these voices for that only exacerbates the war.

In Jungian terms the process of paying attention and accepting “what is” is called taking back one’s shadow because what gets denied gets repressed into our unconscious. It distorts reality. So to take back one’s shadow is to see wholly.

Another important point in this process of “stopping the war” is to NOT identify with the voices. You are the observer of the voices; that is your true self. The voices have created the false self or what Jung called the persona.

Here is the audio portion for chapter two.


In the next several blog posts I am adding an audio note. My intention is to take you through a book I consider to be fundamental to spiritual development. Each blog post will cover one chapter in the journey. I encourage you to read or re-read my blog post called Reading with Soul in Mind before getting started with this series of blog lessons.

The first book in this series of In Depth with DR BREN: Lessons from her Soul Journey is Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life. I chose this book because it teaches the fundamentals of getting to know oneself, both ego and soul.

This first audio blog post is on Chapter One: Did I Love Well?

Dreams direct us towards wholeness

Dreams are like the white blood cells of our immune system they protect us from foreign bodies and carry the healing potions for health and well-being. Every single night we dream. Whether we recall and interpret these dreams or not they work on improving our psychological adaptive system just as the white blood cells work on improving our biological adaptive system. So, what is the advantage of dream recall and interpretation?


To recall and interpret dreams we work to make that which is unconscious conscious. In so doing we begin to rise above our fellow primates separating ourselves by our magnificent human capacity for consciousness. Left alone our biological and psychological immune systems focus on survival. By bringing our dreams to consciousness we can work towards self actualization, the pinnacle of our unique purpose and fulfillment.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


  1. Keep your dream journal by your bed.
  2. Write down three or four lines regarding your day’s events, thoughts, feelings, conflicts etc. before going to sleep.
  3. Begin to think backwards as soon as you wake up. What was just going through your mind?
  4. Write down everything you can recall even if it does not make sense.
  5. Try not to allow your ego to edit the dream recall. It is best to let the dream flow through you as you write it down.


1. Making associations.

Go back through the dream identifying each image, symbol and/or dynamic and its associations in your life. For instance, let’s say you dreamed about playing tennis with your father in Florida. Associate your thoughts and feelings about playing tennis (dynamic), your father (image) and Florida (image). If by chance you played with a particular tennis racket in the dream this may be the critical symbol in your dream. Pay particular attention to the symbols for they hold the transformational power.

2. Connecting dream images to inner dynamics.

Inner dynamics are the internal processes that go on in your head and body. It is your energy system, your attitude, your emotions, your moods, your pattern of thinking and relating to others. Go back through your work in the first step and identify the connections between your associations and your inner processes. For instance, let’s say the action in the dream has your father lobbing a high ball to you and you swing and completely miss it. Where in your life are you looking up to hit? And have you already swung and missed or are you about to? What does the HEAD FLEXPOINT RADICAL RACQUET symbolize?

3. Interpreting.

By this point you may already have an idea of what this dream means. At In this step you should tie together all the work in step one and two, looking for a central theme. Dreams always reveal something you do not know. Now let’s say with the above dream your dear friend (reminds you of your father) gave you a lead for a job interview in Florida that you think is way above your head. You fear you will swing and miss thereby disappointing your friend. Now the particular tennis racquet the transformational symbol in the dream makes great sense. It suggests you should use your head, be flexible and dare to be radical on this job interview.

4. Walking around with your dream.

To really know if this interpretation makes sense you must live with it. Hold it in the back of your mind as you go through the day to see what occurs during the day to support or add to your interpretation.

Now if this dream went unanalyzed it is very possible you would swing and miss falling into your childhood pattern of missing lobs from your father. However, by bringing the dream to light you can consciously interrupt this pattern by using your head, being flexible, staying focused on the ball and strategically planning your radical shot leading to game, set, match.

[1] Adapted from Gayle Delaney’s Living Your Dreams: The Classic Bestseller on Becoming Your Own Dream Expert

[2] Adapted from Robert Johnson’s Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth

Ego and Soul, Jung and Wilber, side-by-side

Figure 1

I’ve been meditating on Ken Wilber’s four quadrants and Jung’s model of psyche for years unable to reconcile the two, that is, until this morning when it occurred to me that I needed to separate Jung’s model of psyche into the inside and outside perspective of the upper left quadrant, the subjective quadrant (See Figure 1). The inside of the subjective accords with Jung’s idea of the soul, timeless and present. The outside of the subjective accords with the ego, embodied in time and space.

The core of the problem in reconciling the two models is that Jung’s model is topographical, a representation of the landscape of psyche at any point in time. Whereas, Wilber’s model is progressive, a representation of psyche in stages of development. The majority of Jung’s work dealt with bringing the ego into relationship with the self, or soul. So it makes good sense to break his model into two parts, one relating to the ego and the other relating to the soul or self.

Figure 2

Typically Jung’s model of the psyche is shown stacked with the lowest level being the collective unconscious and the highest level being consciousness. However, when I break Jung’s model into two parts it not only accords with Wilber’s work it begins to align with the bilobed brain (See Figure 2). The left hemisphere of the brain relates more to ego and the right hemisphere relates more to the soul.

In making this adjustment we see Jung’s concepts of persona and shadow as creations of a developing ego. Both of which are components of Jung’s personal unconscious. On the right side we see Jung’s concepts of Self and Anima/Animus as components of the collective unconscious in relations to the soul.

Why is it important to make these distinctions? Besides integrating Wilber’s great body of work with Jung’s, there is value in understanding the developmental stages of Jung’s concepts. What I mean to say is there are aspects of persona and shadow that relate directly to ego at specific stages of development. The persona we showed in 2nd grade is not the same persona we show as an adult. This applies to the shadow as well. In fact, all three concepts — ego, persona and shadow — relate to material world. Whereas, the three components of the collective unconscious — soul, Anima/Animus, and Self — relate to the spiritual world. The spiritual world is eternal in space where soul ascends states of consciousness to the highest step, the nondual. On the other hand, ego , trapped in the material world, is left to evolve in time through various levels of development.

Making these connections between the two models of psyche helps to reconcile Wilber’s idea of enlightenment and Jung’s idea of individuation. For Wilber enlightenment occurs for those who have mastered the highest level of development at this time and mastered the highest state of consciousness, the nondual. For Jung individuation occurs when one has mastered the personal unconscious and has ascended through the layers of the collective unconscious to the Self. There is an important distinction between the two. For Wilber enlightenment is I AM GOD. For Jung individuation is I AM IN RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. This is where Wilber’s idea of the 1st person and 2nd person perspective of God helps situate the two. Behind both the material world collapses.

Self Mastery as a Way of Life


Life Coaching is about self-mastery or psyche mastery. Where Psychotherapy is about healing psychological dysfunctions with an emphasis on pathology, Life Coaching is about teachings and practices related to understanding how the psyche works: how the mind, heart and soul function in the world. Jungian Psychology is perfectly suited for life coaching since it steers clear of diagnoses and focuses on how the psyche functions.

What is Self-mastery?

Mastery is a way of life, not a goal. It is the path of committed practice and dedication without regard to destination. Anyone can become a master if they are willing to stay on the path and stick with it through the inevitable pitfalls and plateaus of learning.

Perhaps, the most important topic of mastery, in my opinion, is the self. If we don’t know how our “self” functions then how can we master anything? Everything in the world presents itself to and through our psyche which means everything is psychological. So it follows that understanding psyche should be a pre-requisite for all those working towards excellence in their life. Here is a link to the life practices I recommend.

The Pitfalls of Mastery

George Leonard, the author of Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-term Fulfillment, identifies three character types that fail to become Masters: the Dabbler, the Obsessive, and the Hacker.

The Dabbler starts every new skill with enormous enthusiasm. He loves the newness of it all reveling in the first spurts of progress. However, at the first falloff his enthusiasm fades, boredom ensues and he begins to rationalize why this new skill is not for him.

The Obsessive is focused on bottom-line results, She will not settle for second best. She wants to get it right in the first lesson, staying after class to talk to the instructor, and buying every book she can on how to master this skill. Her first spurt of progress is expected; and she expects to continue in this fashion until she is number one. She pushes herself mercilessly. However, the higher she pushes herself, the bigger the fall and eventually she gets hurt.

The Hacker is altogether different from the Dabbler and the Obsessive in that he is willing to be mediocre forever. He is the tennis player that never learned the strokes, just whacking at the ball any which way. He knows a few things and thinks he knows it all. He is not willing to change, instead clinging to security and safety at the expense of mastery.

Keys to Success

5 Keys to Mastery

Leonard identifies five keys to mastery: instruction, practice, surrender, intentionality and the edge. No matter what skill you apply these keys to, if you follow this wisdom and sustain your practice even when you think you are going nowhere, you will eventual become a master.


If you want to become a master find a master teacher. To find the right teacher, look at their credentials, lineage, and experience. In addition and perhaps more important, look at the teacher’s pedagogical style and philosophy. Unlike other coaches and therapists I share these important details about myself on my website.


Mastery is practice, and practice is mastery. The key to getting to the place of where practice is a treasured part of your life is enduring the inevitable plateaus of practice. We are so societally trained to achieve that when learning goes flat we tend to abandon our practices. But the true master has learned to observe the subtleties in the moment and commits to her practice without the hoping for future rewards.


The true master not only surrenders to his teacher and his practice, he surrenders his rigid ideas of himself. In order to learn one has to give up knowing. Seems ironic but it is critical for mastery. A true master never knows because he is always learning, and everyone is his teacher. He is always willing to surrender something known for the unknown. To continue on the path of mastery often means skills learned must also be unlearned in order to move to the next level of mastery. If the plateau has been reached, then most likely a skill needs to be broken down in order to be built up again.


All the great athletes rely heavily on visualizations. For them the mind is as important as the body. In life coaching I am often trying to help people bring their bodies back in sync with their minds. The goals of their life must have an experiential reference, a feeling or being state associated with the mind state they are trying to achieve. Furthermore, often I recognize unconscious ego intentions that are disrupting their conscious desires. The key to mastery is to know both your conscious and unconscious intentions and focus them on the goals of practice.

The Edge

The edge is the collective limits of your skill. A true master does not stop at the collective limits but continues setting new goals for others to follow. This is when you know that mastery has no end, it is a bottomless chasm of possibilities.

I send many blessings on your path to self-mastery.