Jung and the Unconscious: Our life Experiences

Rate this Entry
I'm doing research in the area of experiences that are classified as EHE or Extraordinarily Human Experiences. Such experiences can be hard to describe and may take many years to integrate into their life experience for those that have them.

Jung wrote; "What happens within oneself when one integrates previously unconscious contents with consciousness is something which can scarcely be described in words. It can only be experienced. It is a subjective affair quite beyond discussion; we have a particular feeling about ourselves, about the way we are, and that is a fact which is neither possible nor meaningful to doubt" (1963).

What Jung says is that some experiences change us in ways not related to thought. Not just our thinking is important but how we feel about our self and life. How we are different in our relationship to life. Often people seek such change if they feel it would be positive. Many people that I work with are doing just that - seeking positive change. This change in how we are is often referred to as an "ontological shift". Ontology is the study of "being". The "ontological shift" is a change is our relation to "being" in the world or we can say our relationship to life.

Being and our personal paradigm are related. One example is: say you are well to do and are thankful for your privileged position and another person is well to do and feels he is not so privileged because others have more. Both have a similar "context" surrounding them in life. But the second has a different way of "being" with the same or similar context. So these two hypothetical people live in two different paradigms. The first person live in one of gratitude and the second in one of need.

The important thing to note is that it is not just a way of looking or thinking about life that is important. It is the feeling of how we are. Or put into another way of saying it; how we are "being". Insights and practical advice only has so much effectiveness. We need to get better at shifting our paradigm.

Updated 04-24-2011 at 11:46 PM by shinton



  1. Todd's Avatar
    Hi Sean,
    I so appreciate what you are saying here. The more we cultivate consciousness of how we are being the more empowered we are to choose how we want to be and then exercise the muscles that will enable us to be that!
    Rosie Kuhn,
    Self-Empowerment 101
  2. Joy's Avatar
    >>What Jung says is that some experiences change us in ways not related to thought<<
    I found myself pondering this line. What came up for me interestingly was the act of crying. There is nothing like a really really good cry to shift how one feels about something. For me, crying brings me to a deeper connection with another part of myself, my spirit.
    ~ Joy
  3. shinton's Avatar
    Thanks Rosie and Joy
    Rosie your right about cultivating consciousness, often that in itself will change things. Sometime just being aware of how we feel as we walk into a room or into a forest, can awaken us. Or how crying can clear our soul. Such mindfulness is powerful in shifting our awareness and brings more of our experiences into consciousness. ~ Sean