This is how Nancy J. Napier, one of my favorite guides through the maze of child abuse spirituality, describes the Collective Unconscious, in her brilliant book: Getting Through the Day
"The existence of a collective unconscious was proposed by Carl Jung, the famed psychologist who originally was a student of Freud. According to Jung, within the collective unconscious are all the thoughts, feelings and accumulated experiences of humanity throughout time.
All of those who have healed, who have led full and vital lives, have contributed their consciousness to this collective. While we are compelled to be aware of our shared pain as human beings, we can also tap into our collective potential to heal and be whole. Every person who has come before you, and who has healed and moved beyond the confines of a hurtful childhood, has blazed a trail you can follow unconsciously. All the learnings and accomplishments of those who have healed already are available within your own unconscious and can guide you on your way. Also, it's important to realize that each time you make a choice to go deeper into your own healing you contribute something to the collective, as well. All who come after you draw unconsciously on your achievements.
An example of how the collective unconscious may be currently affecting those of us who were hurt as children is the recent emergence of people who are willing to publicize their victimization on television and in other media. At the same time, therapists have made available information that previously would have been found only in professional publications or at professional conferences. All of the public revelations and books demonstrate an important message: no matter what happened to you, or what strategies you used to get through those experiences, you are not alone.
It's as though a tide of awareness were sweeping through our collective unconscious. The increasing understanding of dissociative processes in childhood, supported by public revelations from people who have recovered memories in adulthood, has been tremendously freeing for people who suffered child abuse. It is helpful to be reminded of the fact there are people who have healed successfully. They demonstrate an important truth about what happens when there is abuse: the way you are today is the result of a reasonable response to an extraordinary and unreasonable situation, and there is a way to move out of an accommodation to trauma into new, more effective strategies.
Successfully facing a hurtful past isn't the only challenge where help from our shared, collective unconscious is useful. Those who have accomplished the journey of healing have faced the often frightening and uncomfortable experience of change.
They have answered for themselves the difficult question we all must confront when we choose to heal: What will I lose if I get better? What are the risks of becoming aware of my full self? What will change? Am I entitled to a different life? Will I know myself?
The thing to keep in mind as you ask yourself the many questions that must arise as you journey into healing is that you can draw on the wisdom others have found in their struggles with these important issues. Because of this collective wisdom, there is hope. Once any one person accomplishes something, it becomes possible for the rest of us."
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