Digesting Jung : Food for the Journey

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Daryl Sharp, M.A. Jungian Analyst


A course meeting the qualifications for 6 hours of continuing education credit

"Analysis is about becoming conscious of who you are, including your strengths and weaknesses."
Daryl Sharp, in Jungian Psychology Unplugged


www.psychceu.com is pleased to introduce a series of courses on Jungian Theory by noted Jungian Analyst Daryl Sharp.

Digesting Jung : Food for the Journey

This book evolved out of the author's desire to pinpoint key passages in Jung's writings that have nourished him for many years. It provides readers new to analytical psychology with the main ingredients of Jung's work and shows how they might flavor a life in search of meaning. Those already familiar with Jung's ideas will savor again the continuing relevance of his holistic approach to psychological issues.

To receive credit students must

ISBN 0-919123-96-1. 128 pp. Index. Sewn
$16 +
shipping & handling
(Please go to amazon.com to see excepts from this book.)

  • Pass the post-test and evaluate the course.
  • Upon passing the test, you will receive a certificate of completion


Learning Objectives:

1. To understand the basic concepts of shadow, complex and archetype.
2. To understand the four characteristics of the Analytic Process (confession, elucidation, education and transformation).
3. To become more familiar with some of the key elements in Jung's work.
4. To know how to recognize the concept of archetypes and unconscious processes appearing in clinical practice.
This course consists of a post-test based upon reading the text. The online portions include a Forum for discussion and the post-test. There is no online material to read. After you pass the post-test, you may print out your own certificate.


A course meeting the qualifications for 6 hours of continuing education credit

is approved by the:

American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists - www.psychceu.com maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
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National Association of Social Workers (#886382116)
National Board for Certified Counselors (#6055)
Ohio Counselor, Social Work and Marriage and Family CPE (#RCST090402)
The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (#52526)
The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners (#CS3473)

maintains responsibility for the program.



Excerpt from DIGESTING JUNG: Food for the Journey by Daryl Sharp from JUNG at HEART, No. 37, Summer/Fall 2002

On becoming conscious

One of Jung’s basic beliefs, and arguably his most important message, is that the purpose of human life is to become conscious. “As far as we can discern,” he writes, “the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” Part and parcel of this is achieving a balance between mind and body, spirit and instinct. When we go too far one way or the other we become neurotic. Jung says it in one pithy sentence:

Too much of the animal distorts the civilized man, too much civilization makes sick animals.

The “civilized man” tends to live in his head. He prides himself on a rational approach to life, and rightly so. We are no longer apes. Thanks to reason, science and logic, instead of hanging from trees or living in them, we cut them down to build houses, which we then fill with appliances in order to make life easier, or, as it happens, more complicated.

All the same, the more we lose touch with our other side, our instinctual base, the more likely it is that something will happen in us to bring about a proper balance. This is the basis for Jung’s idea of compensation within the psyche. One way or another, we’ll be brought down to earth. It is just when we think we have everything under control that we are most apt to fall on our face, and this is especially true when we don’t reckon with the uncivilized, ten million- year-old animal in us.

That being said, unexamined instinctual behavior is a hallmark of unconsciousness and a notable characteristic of the undeveloped personality. Through analysis one can become conscious of the instincts and the many ways in which we are slaves to them. But this is not done with a view to giving them boundless freedom. The aim is rather to incorporate them into a purposeful whole.

Becoming conscious preeminently involves discriminating between opposites. Since the basic opposites are consciousness and the unconscious, the first hurdle is to acknowledge that there are some things about ourselves we’re not aware of. Those who cannot do this are doomed forever to skim the surface of life. For those who can admit to another side of themselves, there is then the daunting task of discriminating between a whole range of other opposites—thinking and feeling, masculine and feminine, good and evil, and so on. And then there is the crucial difference between inner and outer, oneself and others.

Jung describes two distinct ways in which consciousness is enlarged. One is during a moment of high emotional tension involving a situation in the outer world. We feel uneasy for no obvious reason, or strangely attracted to someone, and suddenly understand what’s going on.

The reason why consciousness exists, and why there is an urge to widen and deepen it, is very simple: without consciousness, things go less well
.—C.G. Jung.


The other way is what happens in a state of quiet contemplation, where ideas pass before the mind’s eye like dream-images. Suddenly there is a flash of association between two apparently disconnected and widely separated thoughts. These sudden realizations and flashes of insight are commonly experienced as revelations.

In Jung’s model of the psyche, consciousness is a kind of superstructure based on the unconscious and arising out of it:

Consciousness does not create itself—it wells up from unknown depths. In childhood it awakens gradually, and all through life it wakes each morning out of the depths of sleep from an unconscious condition. It is like a child that is born daily out of the primordial womb of the unconscious.

Elsewhere he uses another metaphor:

In the child, consciousness rises out of the depths of unconscious psychic life, at first like separate islands, which gradually unite to form a “continent,” a continuous landmass of consciousness. “

A child lives in a state of oneness with its primary care-giver. There is little separation between subject and object. As the growing child assimilates experience and develops personal boundaries—a sense of self separate from the outside world—so the ego comes into being—a recognizable sense of personal identity, an “I am.” This goes on in fits and starts, until at some point you have this metaphorical “landmass of consciousness,” surrounded by the waters of the unconscious.

Given decent mirroring in the first half of life, we stand a good chance of acquiring a healthy ego. But this is not the same thing as being conscious. There are lots of take-charge people with very healthy egos—captains of industry, politicians, artists, entrepreneurs and so on—who are quite unconscious. You can be a leader, run things like a clock and manage others well. But if you don’t take the time to introspect, to reflect on who you are without your external trappings (persona), you can’t claim to be conscious.

Becoming conscious is above all not a one-time thing. It involves a progressive awareness of our strengths and weaknesses, of why we do what we do, and of the many ways we’re influenced by unconscious aspects of ourselves—our complexes.

Jung visualized the unconscious as an ocean, because both are inexhaustible. Freud saw the unconscious, or subconscious, as little more than a garbage can of fantasies and emotions that were active when we were children and then were repressed or forgotten. But Jung came to believe that the unconscious also includes contents we never knew were there:

Everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the future things that are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness: all this is the content of the unconscious.

And that is why we will all, always, be more or less unconscious, no matter how hard we try to be otherwise. •

Daryl Sharp, B.Sc., B.J., M.A., is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, and publisher of Inner City Books. He is the author of nine other books in this series, including Personality Types: Jung's Model of Typology, Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms and Concepts and Getting To Know You: The Inside Out of Relationship. He lives and practices in Toronto.


More Jungian Theory Courses by Daryl Sharp

Personality Types

Jungian Psychology Unplugged

see also
Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms & Concepts


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