The movie “A Dangerous Method” describes the founding father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, his then “crown prince” Carl Jung, their famous female patient Sabina Spielrein and the relationship between the three. It is a highly interesting movie. The script writer Christopher Hampton has pulled the trick of condensing these very interesting times on the eve of the 1st World War, when so many fantastical and eccentric persons flowed through Vienna and the salons where Freud and his pupils hung out, into five distinct characters in the movie. They play out a fascinating drama between them, uncovering dark forces and strong desires in the human mind in the process.
Freud and others have taught us to see many of our psychological and emotional hang-ups as effects of childhood traumas or other past experiences. Meditation guidance in Acem also sometimes brings in associations to present or past issues that seem to be connected to our problems. Metaphorically speaking, the ghost lies within ourselves.
In some cultures, though, the ghost inside is not a metaphor, but something that is firmly believed in. In contrast to much of Western society, these cultures never let modernity wipe away the belief in spiritual beings that may possess us and do us harm. When a person reacts completely out of character, or is overwhelmed by uncontrollable and incomprehensible emotions, or somehow loses touch, this is typically seen as the effect of some intrusive alien force. What is needed is not therapy or guidance, but exorcism.
By Thor Udenæs
The unconscious is beyond our control, but still has an active presence in our lives. It influences our thoughts, feelings and actions.
A typical everyday meditation session is largely spent working through daily residues. In a half-hour meditation, the first twenty minutes or so of spontaneous activity generally relates to day-to-day matters such as work, relationships, and problems or challenges, though it can also include elements of sleep or bodily sensations.
In the last ten minutes or so there is often a transition towards processing so-called ‘life’s residues’ – in other words, more fundamental structures in the personality. This phase is often marked by inner restlessness: concrete thoughts or images give way to more diffuse and unclear spontaneous activity. The unconscious takes over, in that spontaneous activity begins to influence the way we meditate.