Jung’s Red Book

A new biography, Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung’s Life and Teachings, highlights Jung’s a life-long fascination with the otherworldly and transcendent aspects of human experience. It rightly places Jung in the context of other major mystical seekers and teachers, such as Rudolf Steiner, G. I. Gurdjieff, and Emanuel Swedenborg.

Gary Lachman
The book’s author is Gary Lachman, a widely respected writer on esoteric themes (as well as a founding member of the 80s rock band Blondie!). Lachman explores how, as a professional adult, Jung tended to hide and even deny this spiritual/esoteric/occult aspect of his life. Two dramatic personal experiences, thirty years apart, were to finally transform Jung into an openly mystical psychologist and an inspiration for today’s transpersonal movement. And between those two experiences came the creation of his great masterpiece, a hand-written book which for decades was virtually unknown outside his immediate family: The Red Book. In 2009, the Red Book was finally allowed to be published for the first time, an event which continues to generate a lot of buzz. Some see it as a work of literary genius, others see it as evidence of a psychotic breakdown. I’m with Lachman — I think it is a good idea to see The Red Book in the context of the current of mysticism and other-worldly weirdness running throughout Jung’s life. Lachman shows that even as a child, Jung was immersed in a world in which spirituality and the paranormal were the norm.

Doing and Being

Doing and Being: Mindfulness, Health, and Quiet Ego Characteristics Among Buddhist Practitioners
September 16, 2010 — barry
H. A. Wayment, B. Wiist, B. M. Sullivan, M. A. Warren (2010) Doing and Being: Mindfulness, Health, and Quiet Ego Characteristics Among Buddhist Practitioners. Journal of Happiness Studies , Online first , 11 Sept 2010.

ABSTRACT: We examined the relationship between meditation experience, psychological mindfulness, quiet ego characteristics, and self-reported physical health in a diverse sample of adults with a range of Buddhist experience (N = 117) gathered from a web-based survey administered to Buddhist practitioners around the world between August 1, 2007 and January 31, 2008.

Practicing meditation on a regular basis and greater experience with Buddhism was related to higher psychological mindfulness scores. Psychological mindfulness was correlated with a latent variable called “quiet ego characteristics” that reflected measures based on Bauer and Wayment’s (Transcending self-interest: psychological explorations of the quiet ego. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp 7–19, 2008) conceptual and multidimensional definition of a “quiet ego”: wisdom, altruism, sense of interdependence with all living things, need for structure (reversed), anger/verbal aggression (reversed), and negative affectivity (reversed). In turn, quiet ego characteristics were positively related to self-reported health.

Our findings provide continuing support for the key role psychological mindfulness may play in psychological and physical well-being.