To the extent that I managed to translate the emotions into images– that is to say, to find the images which were concealed in the emotions– I was inwardly calmed and reassured.
Had I left those images hidden in the emotions, I might have been torn to pieces by them.
There is a chance that I might have succeeded in splitting them off; but in that case I would inexorably have fallen into a neurosis and so been ultimately destroyed by them.
As a result of my experiment I learned how helpful it can be, from the therapeutic point of view, to find the particular images which lie behind the emotions.
– CG Jung, p. 177, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
This is an essential part of Buddhist inquiry, the Living Inquiries, and several body-oriented therapy forms in the west. Feel the sensations. Notice images and words associated with them. Look at these. Notice images as images. Notice words as words. Notice sensations as sensations. Feel sensations as sensations. That’s how these separate out and the charge goes out of the initial bundle of images, words, and sensations.
These bundles are how our minds create drama, stress, tension, trauma, wounds, discomfort, suffering, a sense of separation, deficient and inflated selves, and more. And when the charge goes out of these bundles – and images are recognized as images, words as words, and sensations as sensations – there is typically a huge relief. A sense of coming home. A sense of simplicity.
We are more free to live from our “true nature” – that which we are with fewer of these drama bundles drawing our attention – which is a very simple and ordinary kindness and wisdom.
These bundles of words, images, and sensations are also called velcro (Living Inquiries). I used to call them conglomerates. The bundles are created from identification with the images and words in the bundle, and the stories associated these with certain sensations. And all of this can be called “ego”, although I prefer to not use that word since it has too many misleading associations and makes it all seem more solid and more like an object while in reality it’s all quite ephemeral.
And what about the term “true nature”? I don’t really like to use that term either. It can sound too fanciful and esoteric while it’s really something very ordinary and simple. In this context, it’s just the ordinary kindness that’s here when attention is not drawn into (too much) velcro.