S2 Ep2: Carl Jung’s Methods for Understanding Dreams and Self Actualization

Carl Jung, understanding dreams and self actualization, Machiel Klerk

How do we honor the archetypes, characters and our ancestors who inhabit our soul?

A conversation with Machiel Klerk from the Utah Jung Society.

Founder of the Jung Society of Utah, Machiel Klerk is a therapist who helps patients pay better attention and understand their dreams to overcome problems such as anxiety and depression and life fulfillment. Machiel suggests patients start by writing down their dreams. When the dreams are given attention,  they reveal the desires of our psyche and soul. To be in conflict with these desires, according to Klerk, is a major cause of anxiety and depression. I sat down with Klerk in our Utah Stories studio to explore this topic to better understand how we become self actualized.

One of my personal struggles is in how seriously I should take my own desires and dreams. How much attention should I pay to the ideas that inhabit me, often telling me I should spend more time on my hobbies (such as gardening).

Who Was Carl Jung?

Jung was the founder of psychoanalysis. Jung was a founder of depth psychology takes into account that there is an unconscious, there is a collective unconscious that we all share. The unconscious is populated by characters or figures, ancestors and spirits. Characters in the unconscious affect your day-to-day habits and living.

Carl Jung is famous for saying that, “people don’t have ideas, ideas inhabit people.” While this simple statement seems almost ridiculous at face value, the more that I’ve thought about this, the more I have realized that it is true. Ideas possess people. Ideas transform people. So what are ideas?

Klerk’s reply, “It’s a mystery. They are spirits, they are archetypes, they are Gods, they are manifestations of the divine. All of these terms.”

How seriously should we take our own ideas?

You should take them seriously because if you don’t, nothing will change. It’s importing to take your ideas seriously and yourself seriously.

Machiel offers insight into how we can maintain a better relationship with our own soul. Here are a few highlights from our discussion:

Machiel and I agreed that TV (cable news) is like junk food for your soul, it’s okay to have it sometimes but it will make you sick if you have too much. Klerk says that social media is like stealing fire from the Gods, its like you can see great things and get access to these great minds. And we need to find a way to get a hold of this great gift from the Gods without it burning us down.

Self Actualization

What Does Carl Jung say about realizing our own potential and becoming self actualized?

Becoming self actualized is something both individual but it’s also something related to how you can lend yourself and your own individual talents back to the community. And it is an interaction between the person and the community. The process of becoming self actualized is called individuation.