Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Tao of Psychology

October 17, 2016

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self. Harper Row, 1979/1982.


Jean Bolen has been a favourite writer since I first encountered her Goddesses In Everywoman a quarter century ago. This little book, The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self, links the ideas of Logos, Tao, and Jung's Collective Unconscious/Self. She defines "synchronicity" as "meaningful coincidence, a subjective experience in which the person gives meaning to the coincidence." [p.15] Which is why, I suspect, she and Jung seem to appeal to writers. Because what they are describing seems to me to be connected to how metaphor functions. How we tend to try to define the unknown in terms of the known & familiar. How do we explain "mystery"?


We are part of a larger whole -- Jung's collective unconscious. "When we feel synchronicity, we feel ourselves as part of a cosmic matrix, as participants in the Tao. It gives us a glimpse into the reality that there is indeed a link between us all, between us and all living things, between us and the universe." This is why synchronicity, she says, breaks through our modern isolation and loneliness and we feel we have had a numinous, religious, spiritual experience. [p.103]

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