Staying sane in fucking crazy times

Einstein supposedly said that the most critical decision in a person's life is how they perceive the universe.

"Is the universe a space of love or a space of fear?"

Of course, it's easy to perceive the universe as a loving space when everything in life is going the way we expect, and that's for many of us in a good way. Things change when life reshuffles the cards and things don't go the way we imagined, planned, expected, worked for, according to our wishes and desires that we carry deep within us.

Naive spirituality

The Fool card is the first, the last, and the unnumbered card in the Tarot - depending on what kind of deck we have. It symbolizes innocent playfulness and the endless open potential of new beginnings. At the same time, like everything in this dense physical reality, it also has its polarity - a shadow that's indifferent naivety, the irresponsibility of the unconscious, the unknowingness.

When we begin the path of evolution of consciousness in this lifetime - one at fourteen, another at twenty-two, a third at forty-eight ..., we often approach the narrative of things quite simply. Almost all of us initially grab a naive idea of the world, ourselves, and of spirituality.

The first option is to believe in the power and authority outside us. We believe in someone or something that decides our lives based on our diligence, purity, and following the commandments. Another way is to plunge into an approach that says we can direct our lives to perfection solely with our vibration, frequency, and energy. Paradoxically, here too, we believe that if we're positive enough, our vibration "high" enough, positive things will happen, only this time we don't have a relationship with "God," but our object is less personified.

Experience shows that the less we've experienced a sense of connection and acceptance in the warmth of our home as kids, the more vulnerable we are in the area of spirituality. We're easily convinced that there are specific laws of life we should live by so that disturbing things don't happen. After all, bad things won't happen to good people, right? That's the promise of every naive spiritual frame of reference.

Shutting off feelings?

The problem is that in trying to be "good," vibrate "high," and align ourselves with written and unwritten spiritual rules, we often wholly block out feelings and emotions. Because even in spiritual practices, not just in our society, emotions, and feelings are usually considered inferior, abnormal, and unacceptable. We're conditioned to distance ourselves from our sensations, feelings, and emotions; we don't know how to deal with them because even our parents and grandparents didn't know how to deal with them.

I'm sure you know that feeling when you have an important meeting and feel so vulnerable. Then you decide in a millisecond that I will make myself strong. And you straighten your back, lift your head, open your chest and say to yourself, stay strong as hell. Don't show them how you feel! This is combat mode. And it's pretty standard in this patriarchal society. Some do it consciously; many do it unconsciously.

In our society, we certainly have a systematic problem with feelings. Have you ever had a situation where you said something in anger, out loud, in a somewhat confusing way, because, to be honest, it's humanly hard to think straight when emotions are high? Or that you WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS by email?!?

Have you experienced the content and value of the message, behind which the intensity devalues strong emotions? That's the moment when the partner says when you're back to normal, we'll talk more. Or when, as a boss, you take an employee crying in the office less seriously than when she tells you things icily. Or when the father fires the daughter, who yells at him from the living room because the daughter won't "turn down the volume."

This is called "tone policing." It's a classic patriarchal strategy where someone rejects another's ideas and thoughts because they "judge" they were expressed in the "wrong" way - angry, disappointed, sad, or otherwise too emotionally intense.

Emotions and feelings, the same as intuition and sensations, are always a problem in patriarchy. Aggression is a problem for one reason, sadness for another, grief, and despair. However, the absence of emotion makes us inhuman. I think Margaret Atwood said that war begins when language fails.

War begins when the heart closes and the warmth of human love disappears, when compassion disappears, when basic humanity disappears.

No spirituality and no spiritual practice can replace our emotions and feelings. No spirituality can heal the wounds and traumas we've experienced in intimate relationships. Just as it cannot give us the warmth of human relationships. Spirituality is vital, especially for the transformation of the psyche - no lasting personal and societal change is possible without tapping into the spiritual plane - but at the same time, it should never become a tool of escape, of avoiding reality.

When a person has left behind the initial obedience to patriarchal gods or modern new-cage "vibrational" reality of life, when they have outgrown the Fool card, just as a child has outgrown a tricycle, then, in essence, the spiritual path only begins. And if the answer to whether the universe is a space of love or fear was quite simple in the beginning, things suddenly become complicated.

Above all, the universe as a loving space suddenly becomes a little less self-evident, especially when difficult experiences happen to us or others. The Major Arcana has 22 cards, after all. The archetypal journey of consciousness isn't brief, and the spiritual path opens us to 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows (Jack Kornfield).

When bad things happen to good people

Man has developed consciousness slowly and laboriously, in a process that took untold ages to reach the civilized state. And this evolution is far from complete, for large areas of the human mind are still shrouded in darkness.

- C.G. Jung

There are things we can control directly, things we can influence to some degree and things over which we've no control or influence. When we take responsibility for what we can control or influence, we can work hard, but that doesn't mean we're in control.

Trusting the universe as a space of love when bad things happen is not easy. Especially man-made bad things. Like war. When millions experience and suffer it directly, millions sympathize with it. Countless mothers, grandmothers, children, fathers, grandfathers, and uncles suffer. Every soldier is someone's son; every sister is someone's daughter.

Observing all this, people like you and I describe a range of reactions. Some are not upset or entirely rational - which is very rare. Some report sleepless nights. Kids are experiencing mysterious stomachaches and headaches. Many feel sheer despair over dirty geopolitical games, sociopathic leaders popping up worldwide like poisonous fungi coalescing into an invisible mycelium ... to the point where they wonder if humanity needs to destroy everything. How may no one stop murderers and madmen? People worry about nuclear war and think about KI pills. People fear bank failures, lack of energy resources, conflicts all over Europe, chaos, and the madness of an even bigger war. People fear for their children's future, for the end of the earth.

Whew, that's a lot. It's so much that it's impossible to process it all, as my colleague said today. You don't even understand it all; things are unimaginable!

We talked at the kitchen table when the war in Ukraine started. The youngest said, but how can they do that, Mom? Mom, I can't imagine how anyone could do such a thing.

My girl, I can't imagine it either. I guess most of us, feeling and emphatic people, can't.

Collective suffering and emotional body

In collective suffering, the collective energy field is saturated with shock, sadness, helplessness, anger, despair, and rage. Our bodies are antennae. When we're empathetic, emotionally and energetically open, and conscious simultaneously, and what's happening in the collective is part of our karmic theme? Then vast amounts of collective shock, sadness, helplessness, anger, despair, and hopelessness can flow through our field.

Is there anything we can do about it?

One way is to say I don't look at reports. I don't deal with information. I understand this. People always need a sense of security, a moment to breathe in, and a dose of protection. But, as I see, there's one thing to protect and another to ignore. Probably everything that some people openly ignore, in reality, we all share; others feel what those who run away from instead of facing it.

The principle is a bit similar to families where members disown the psychopathic uncle or the drug-addicted daughter and say, oh, we don't want to deal with that.

Then usually, the weakest member of the family explodes or implodes, and they're the only problem, although the problem was never just individual but always systemic.

Another possibility - and I'm afraid there's not much left after this one - is that we stay with and process what's so very difficult and exhausting, and so very real.

Two days ago, I was lying in bed; it was still twilight. My whole body was aching. I asked, can you please tell me how to get out of this? The answer came immediately, feel it; this is the way out. To be honest, the answer was the same as so many times before: it always works.

It's essential to add that we shouldn't identify ourselves with the energies of the collective unconscious.

The one is that we allow ourselves to feel and, simultaneously, be awake and alert and look at where we're open and vulnerable in a moment. The second is that we fall into feelings of helplessness and the whole spectrum of the victim's archetype energy; we need to distance ourselves from that.

At times like these, it makes the most sense to be aware and present but at the same time detached enough that each of us can carry what's ours.

Our emotional body needs to be supported, and as humans we do that mostly by being in touch with other people and talking about things.

Of course, if the emotions are too strong, we work with them energetically and support ourselves in various ways. Anything that lovingly supports the body also supports the emotional body because emotions are a physical event - helping contact with others, hugs, flower essences, acupressure, acupuncture, specific asanas when we do yoga, movement in nature, etc. However, it's essential to become aware and conscious of emotions.

We cannot escape the collective flow through us, but we certainly don't have to get stuck in it. It's wise and meaningful to use it to expand our consciousness because our collective consciousness grows only through feeling and awareness.

Tapping into collective energies is part of our humanity; separating from them is part of our uniqueness, individuality, and diversity.

Expansion of consciousness is the evolution of being human.

The elevation of consciousness is the essence of our spiritual development. We move from states of separateness and polarity to states of oneness and awareness that we're divine beings. We can increasingly accept ourselves and others in all their diversity and develop deep compassion, wisdom, love, and other divine qualities. Even when we die, we'll probably take only our consciousness to the other side - the expansion of consciousness we've crystallized in this incarnation.

However, the spiritual change and evolution of consciousness in us and in society occurs only through our humanity - and probably always will.

True spirituality is anchored in emotions, feelings and compassion for self and others. And our humanity is based on our feelings and emotions.

In the face of a collective tragedy like the war in Ukraine, our awareness and humanness grow through compassion, empathy, shock, sadness, helplessness, anger, despair, and rage.

The growth of human consciousness takes place through the emotional body.

Processing physical-emotional content is a very different story than "understanding." Each of us who's been in the psychotherapeutic process knows how unpleasant it's when, after a specific time, when it seems that "yes, everything is clear," these crucial changes begin in the deeper layers of the being. Therefore, a profound shift in consciousness and Psyche is an alchemical process and always involves the mind, body, emotions, and soul. These are the global changes that just lead to a fundamental transformation.

We cannot, won't, and shouldn't block out or block out our feelings. We must allow them to flow through us like a river or a wave. But we should not block them out, for in doing so we leave our humanness outside. The expansion of consciousness is the development of being human. And human is to care, to love, to support each other and to make the world a better place for all of us.

Humanness also hurts. And it, naturally, always gives rise to doubts about whether the universe is a place of love?

The birth of consciousness or the death of patriarchy

The birth and rebirth of consciousness is an ongoing process and never without pain. This is true for the individual and valid for whole communities. During the pandemic "war" of 2020-22, large masses of collective shadows already came to the surface. An impossible, polarizing, and chaotic mixture of care and sacrifice, solidarity and compassion, perseverance and wisdom up to intolerance and condemnation of dissenters, oppression, guilt, deceit, arrogance, abuse of power, chauvinism, and xenophobia emerged. Many communities worldwide are in economic trouble, with soaring rates of depression, drug overdoses, substance abuse, alcoholism, and domestic violence.

Does anyone still remember the inscription on the T-shirt I can't fix stupid, but I can sedate it, paralyze it and intubate it? The whole shadow cast on the pandemic chaos from the collective unconscious was symbolically captured in that inscription. The less specific individuals were conscious, the more they acted by this shadow and showed it to all of us. According to the in-depth dynamic logic, what's happening in Ukraine is perhaps the next round of the same story that we've already watched and broadcast for two years. And we saw the activation of the patriarchal matrix - its shadow - on a large scale.

In toxic patriarchy, the deep energetic background of humanity, people are punished and excluded when they disobey an external authority. In a patriarchal frame of reference, individuals are neither encouraged, trusted, educated, nor believe that they're free and autonomous beings. In patriarchy, one must submit to be accepted. And to avoid disobedience and rebellion, emotions, especially anger, should be ignored or numbed. Expressions of anger and revolution are always dangerous and sanctioned from the perspective of patriarchy because righteous anger combined with compassion is always the guardian of free thought, independence, and sovereignty and, therefore, undesirable to the patriarchal system.

No matter how far we've advanced technologically as a civilization, psychologically and energetically, we are still deeply stuck in 2022 in a patriarchal society of power, domination, cold reason, and oppression.

The system of toxic patriarchy is a system of internal and external pressure, insensitivity, irrational cruelty and ruthless goal-driven rationality. It is still present, multidimensionally present, operating in complex and sophisticated ways.

My question is: has our collective shadow, which has been "sanitized" for two years, intensified, amplified, and transferred to a bigger stage? Is there a bigger stage than this - does it even exist? And if so, what's its nature?

This dynamic of oppression in Europe must be dissolved and reordered at some point. We can only hope that the solution won't be a painful absolute disintegration of humanity. Humanity is on the verge of solving something so difficult and painful, namely the patterns of existence that humanity has been dragging around for centuries. After all, like it or not, the history of mankind seems a history of wars and the pauses in between.

Humanity needs to move forward at the level of collective consciousness. We have known this since Vietnam and the Prague Spring of 1968. Years ago, I read that there were between 20 and 40 open military conflicts and civil wars on the planet at any given time. I think about this often. I think about the brevity of the human psyche of the individual and the community and the need for struggle, violence, and domination.

It's clear and terrible that without suffering, it won't work and won't work this time either. How extensive and horrific this suffering will be, who'll be involved, and how we don't know. And yes, it's hard to maintain hope and faith in humanity in times like these.

Once you get a little away from the innocent naivety of the first card in the Tarot, trusting in universe as a space of love becomes a hug dilemma for many of us.

It means the most to me - and gives me the most hope - when I observe the compassionate responses of millions of people worldwide. Of course, some are active in this response, others more passive. It'll probably always be easier for half of us to give the Gandhi form of passive response, sit in meditation and pray, while the other half will be most authentic through an active response.

Either is perfectly fine.

It's important that the emotional body of humanity finally wake up. Only then can we truly grow as humanity, raise the level of collective consciousness and transform the most toxic patriarchal shadows with which we destroy ourselves, each other, and the planet.

Gift from the great-wise unconscious

I did my spiritual practice yesterday morning. I prayed and traveled inwardly, with a simple intention. I observed the flow of images and feelings. I saw the light rising from points all over Europe; a golden glow began to condense and flatten into a shield shape over the continent. And I thought this must be the consciousness of all in solidarity, sharing the pain with the unspeakable suffering of millions. Then, somewhere in the east, this armor of light closed, merged with the surface and began to pour into the ground, penetrating eastward and upward through the earth. I had my body in shivers. The image of light is a gift from the invisible world. It stays with me as I go forward, as we all do. We go on. No one knows where we're going. But we go together. And I believe that no matter how hard it gets, we always cross spaces of love.

In a nutshell

True spirituality is anchored in emotions, feelings, and compassion for self and others. Our humanity is based on our feelings and emotions, while the growth of human consciousness takes place through the emotional body.

**Tina Božič is a psychologist and psychotherapist in private practice, a women's issues professional, practicing holistic, energy-based psychotherapy.


Through my heretical lens, I look at the practical and archetypal struggles of women next door in their 30s, 40s, and 50s and offer tips on how we can pull ourselves out of the shit to live our fair and just visions. Medicine lies in the Wound. Healing doesn't have to take ages, and you don't have to do it alone. I'm a psychologist and a psychotherapist.

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