Carl Jung and The Course – Part 1

by Frank Dobner


There are literally thousands of spiritual, intellectual and physical ways to remember your pure being. “A Course in Miracles” is but one of them. One unique aspect of The Course, is its orientation to look within and contemplate drastic shifts in mind back to the natural state of love. It is what distinguishes The Course from many other attempts at the truth.

Carl Jung (Swiss psychiatrist, 1875 – 1961) was also an individual that had the same inclination to look inward, apply consciousness and even act if necessary. He actually stated – “that inner events always set the course for outward events that came my way.” Jung’s work and life situation resulted from asking some internal powerful questions from his youth, that he answered for our benefit throughout his adult life. The essence of The Course, is to find yourself in everything and everyone else. This is essentially what Jung’s whole life was about. His life and work is not only fascinating, but dramatic and brave also

At the heart of all of Jung’s work, was his belief that it is essential to discover our innate individual potential as human beings. Contrary to Freud and others, Jung believed that our spiritual nature was the basic core motivation to our experience, not in addition to it. This process of achieving our highest potential (which he termed individuation) was woven into every aspect of his life and work. In this article I want to pull together some aspects of Jung’s work that is related to The Course.

The Unconscious

Jung was the first psychologist to state that the human psyche is by nature religious, and he explored that in depth. Jung characterized human life metaphorically, as a plant rhizome, where the plant’s true life lives below the surface. The plant above ground appears to grow and last for a summer only to be annihilated. Yet the true power is below the surface. Our being is very similar to the part below the surface.

Jung possessed a unique awareness of his own separated state at a young age. At 12 years old, he noticed that he was actually two people – the first, an inferior schoolboy and a second “personality,” an old wise man that existed close to all beings and God. He knew these two aspects of himself and could recognize which one he was experiencing at a given moment in time.

This is very similar to The Course, which aims at being able to clearly articulate the personal voice (the ego) and the resident oneness (the holy spirit). Jung felt confident that he knew how to pass from personality 1 to personality number 2 at a very young age. This interplay between these these two personalities was a major theme for Jung. He eventually realized that the recognition of these two personalities was not a “split” or disassociation in a pathological sense, but rather a natural and healthy aspect of every human being.

Personality Types

One of Jung’s most popular contributions, were personality types. Personality types were significant to Jung, because he believed that it is personality that determines and limits a person’s judgment. It is also one of Jung’s most misunderstood and often misused concepts. The work on typology was intended to provide the insight, that every aspect of personal judgment that is conditioned by an individual’s personality type. The result of this work was intended to enable people to become aware of their knee jerk response to things, people, and themselves so that the response would not be persistently unconscious. Jung’s personality type was composed of two components.

The first component of personality types, was one’s primary orientation toward either inward or outward orientation (i.e. intraversion versus extraversion). As you may be aware, you have a noticeable preference to engage either in inward reflection (and solitary orientation) or outward action (and people orientation). The second component of typology is in how we perceive and judge the world in terms of being either rational or non-rational. Going into a detail description of personality types is not useful here, but there is one very significant point to note.

The Myers Briggs Type indicator is basically a derivative of Jung’s personality types. It is essential to remember that Jung’s personality types were intended to provide guidance as to how you undermine your being, by unconsciously associating with your dominant personality type. The Myers Briggs Type indicators are frequently used to provide guidance as to how to make choices and operate in the world. Career counseling often uses the Myers Briggs evaluation, to help you choose work based on your personality characteristics. This usage of Myers Briggs indicators are fine if you want to learn how to stay in the world of effects, but it will not help you be at cause.

The Course teaches us that the world is not real. The true irony, is that as we know from The Course, that your personality is also not real. But your personality type can be a useful way of knowing your dominant reaction at any given moment. It sort of tells you where you will err, by responding with more personality, at any given moment. Jung’s personality types are of value when they act as “red flags” to indicate how we limit ourselves. They serve to act as an alarm clock to wake up from the dream, as opposed to continue to function further within the dream. This is a huge distinction.

In the second half of this article, I will continue with a big finish on the collective unconscious and individuation.

This video clip combines two of my favorite things – my fondness for rural landscape and my favorite song by Al Stewart – “At The End of The Day.” I think someone over there must have actually made this just for me. I hope you like it too.

Part 2 Coming October 28th