Holding the Tension of Opposites

Holding the Tension of Opposites

The last fifteen years of Carl Jung’s life were lived against the backdrop of the Cold War—that time in our global history when most of the nations of the world were aligned either with the “West” or with the “Communist bloc.” Intermittently throughout this time the people of the world held their breath as they watched confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union heat up. During one such tense time members of the Psychological Club in Zurich asked Jung if he thought there would be an atomic war. Barbara Hannah recalled his reply:

“I think it depends on how many people can stand the tension of the opposites in themselves. If enough can do so, I think the situation will just hold, and we shall be able to creep around innumerable threats and thus avoid the worst catastrophe of all: the final clash of opposites in an atomic war. But if there are not enough and such a war should break out, I am afraid it would inevitably mean the end of our civilization as so many civilizations have ended in the past but on a smaller scale.”

“…I had learned that all the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble…. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.”

Excerpt from 2013 Article in Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences: Jung’s Challenge to Us: “Holding the Tension of the Opposites”


Marion Woodman is Jungian analyst from Ontario, Canada, born in 1928. This is a talk from 1991.

Ashley Turner – The Hero’s journey


Justin Baldoni – Why I’m done trying to be “man enough”

Justin Baldoni wants to start a dialogue with men about redefining masculinity — to figure out ways to be not just good men but good humans. In a warm, personal talk, he shares his effort to reconcile who he is with who the world tells him a man should be. And he has a challenge for men: “See if you can use the same qualities that you feel make you a man to go deeper,” Baldoni says. “Your strength, your bravery, your toughness: Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?”


Huffington Post Article

Other videos on Vulnerability and Shame



Holding the Tension of Opposites

The Golden Rule

“…every single one of the major world traditions has highlighted — has said — and put at the core of their tradition what’s become known as the Golden Rule. First propounded by Confucius five centuries before Christ: “Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you.” – Karen Armstrong – 2008 Ted Talk


I invite you to visit Compassionate Austin for an opportunity to connect locally with Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion.

Circles of Men by Clay Boykin is available on Amazon.


New Thought Ancient Wisdom

New Thought is an American metaphysical religious movement that is approximately 150 years old. William James called New Thought, “[T]he religion of healthy-mindedness.” And that’s really the truth! Don’t confuse New Thought with what is often called “New Age” in the media today, New Thought is actually a perennial philosophy, that thread of truth that is woven through all the world’s great spiritual traditions.

New Thought principles are found in Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Zen, Hinduism, African Traditional Religions and many other philosophical and theological works. There are several hundred New Thought churches world-wide, which include Unity churches, Centers for Spiritual Living, and independent New Thought churches like Open Heart.


Holding the Tension of Opposites

Crisis, Catharsis, Contemplation and Inner Peace

Can anything good come from being in crisis?

Intellectually we know the answer is yes, however, in the moment of crisis this intellectual knowing is furthest from our mind, and true inner knowing may only come years down the road, if at all. Crisis and the resulting trauma, like a cloud, blocks the light of our higher consciousness and hides the essence of our true inner-knowing.

While others may hold space for us with the knowing that there is life after crisis, whether physically or metaphysically, we cannot hear this truth in the moment as physical survival is at the core of our human nature.

Catharsis may eventually follow and manifest as a physical and mental release from the emotional trauma of the crisis, and if we are awake to the fact that catharsis is not an end unto itself, we are able to move into deep contemplation and grow beyond catharsis.

It is here in deep contemplation where both meditation and concentration merge to enable us to begin to absorb and digest the higher truth of what has happened and begin to return to or find a higher level of consciousness and begin to apply what has been learned.

Eventually, we embody the higher truth of our journey from crisis through catharsis and contemplation, and emerge a better person and find inner peace. ~ Clay Boykin