Carl Jung, Necessary Suffering and Transcending Suffering

by bryan maynard

c Jung head adn shldrs

Carl Jung’s assessment was right: neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. Suffering, Jung would agree, is legitimized by its universal existence in every sphere of our lives. It is here to stay.

I get that.

But this is what’s hard and frustrating for me both as a person and as a psychotherapist: Neurosis ends up happening to most of us because our cultural and environmental training leaves us completely exposed and unprepared for how to respond to legitimate, inevitable suffering. We are, then, left to the training of our biological conditioning, which has been to live out of lower consciousness of self-this and self-that. This makes us neurotic and it is the general condition of most people in western countries.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit: where do any of us get the training we need to go beyond neurosis in how we deal with suffering? How do we face necessary suffering without ending up with neurosis?

Here’s an encouraging idea for thoughtful reflection: We might not be able to avoid inevitable suffering, but what if we could be trained to expand our consciousness so that we could transcend legitimate suffering?

Take that a step further. What if Eckhart Tolle and others like him are right when they say that humanity is destined to transcend suffering?!

Now, I like the sound of that!

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts about what or who has enlightened your consciousness and trained you to transcend suffering.

(I’m not fishing for blog comments to ‘expand my blog’ audience; I’m genuinely interested in YOUR experiences in this realm).