Everything that shows up in our outer life (the ‘real world’) has its origins in our inner life. It follows that when we want anything in our life to change, it always begins with the inner work.
Jung visualised the psyche as being made up of conscious and unconscious parts, including unconscious archetypes. Archetypes are universally recognisable patterns of behaviour that are a part of the collective unconscious, such as the child, the hero, the mother and the critic. When we identify particular archetypes, we can connect them to universal stories, myths and symbols that are connected to that archetype. For example, the lone ranger, the intellectual and the athlete archetypes all have certain images and symbols associated with them.
It is fascinating to think of ourselves as having many different parts or voices. It is common for our personalities to be set up like boardrooms or parliaments, with a strong hierarchy in place to give certain parts authority, and to drown out the others. On a daily basis, we all decide which voices to listen to and which voices to ignore. Over time, these habits are reflected in our lives. As Arnold Mindell notes, ‘Without some form of awareness training, within the privacy of our own inner autonomy, most of us behave like tyrants. When it comes to recognizing different aspects of ourselves, we become dictators who simply refuse to do so.’ (Mindell, 2002, p. 10).
If you could sit all of your archetypes around a table, who would have the loudest voice? The critic? The cynic? The wounded child? The victim? It is useful to connect different feelings to particular archetypes. Once we become used to it, we can start to say, ‘Ah, this is just my victim complaining again.’ We can then talk to our inner victim, ask them what they want, and send them love. Similarly, we can break strong patterns in our lives by understanding that certain archetypes are holding us back because they are wounded.
Every part of us wants us to thrive and reach our highest potential. If anything seems negative or persistent, it is because it has unfinished business for us to heal before we can move on. Listening to the needs and desires of different archetypes on a regular basis can lead to huge transformations in happiness, relationships, work and abundance.
All of this applies in business as well- different employees embody and express the various archetypes and symbols of an organisation. For our businesses to be clear and conscious, we all need to be aware of our archetypes and do the inner organisational/cultural work. My PhD analysed the way that archetypes and ‘inner cultures’ affect the outer consciousness of organisations and nations. As Myss notes, “As a society, we have been on a quest to understand how we function psychologically, what makes us the way we are, and what makes us heal.” (2013, p. xiii). It’s time to flip the way we see the world- the ‘real’ world is actually the one we create and nurture within.