Jane Smith Memorial Lecture:
On Facing Reality
Presented by Elizabeth Strahan
Friday, May 7, 1999, 8:00 pm
"The whole laborious achievement of our lives is adaptation to reality."
~C. G. Jung
As human beings, we live continuously between at least two realities: inner/outer, spiritual/material, subjective/objective, seen/unseen. Adaptation to reality involves learning to live with change, with limits, with otherness, and with the unknown. Maturing, that is, the gradual growth of consciousness, enables us to move toward keener and keener perceptions of reality, and to make creative choices in terms of that perception. The daily, moment-by-moment process of sorting and checking and revisiting our experiences in terms of our relationship to reality is the everyday practice of conscious living.
We have intricate defense systems against the harshness of reality. Psychological defense systems range from denial to addiction. Facing these defensive patterns and allowing oneself to experience anxiety and pain in increasingly tolerable increments can free one from a too rigid or avoiding posture against reality toward greater participation in life. This process is often the goal of psychotherapy. Jung's emphasis on archetypal reality adds the dimension of awareness of the wholeness of reality and of the individual in which the marvelous capacity to create one's reality through imagination is held.
Is facing reality a desirable and viable goal? If so, what are some tools of consciousness toward that goal? How does one identify defenses against reality? When does one dare sacrifice the defense? How does imagination shape reality?
Elizabeth will lead our circumambulation of these issues, hoping to deepen our connection to life and to inspire respect and compassion for life-as-it-is, including each suffering individual.
Elizabeth Strahan is a Jungian Analyst practicing in Fullerton for the past 20 years. She has served the C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles as president, chair of the Certifying Board, member of the faculty, and is currently their representative on the Executive Board of the International Association of Analytical Psychologists. Some may be familiar with her work as lecturer, seminar leader, writer, and publisher of the video series, The Language of Dreams, available in the club library or at www.dreamweavers.org