Psalm 82, Connect To the Self

Verse 1: “God takes his stand in the court of heaven to deliver judgment among the gods themselves.”

Some Biblical scholars see the reference to “gods” as a mythological motif borrowed from the Canaanite pantheon. Others understand “gods” to be a reference to human judges. From the perspective of Analytical Psychology, the word “gods” aptly names the numinous archetypal energies we experience first through our affects.

Archetypes are universal templates that carry a specific feeling tone and blueprint for how the body senses, intuits, feels, and responds in its presence. Due to the unconscious origin of archetypes, the ego often feels overwhelmed, knocked off balance, or swept away by them.

Maturation involves learning to meet, name, relate, and respond intentionally to the archetypal energies showing up in us through our instincts. Carl Jung notes the psychological standpoint names five main categories of instinctive factors: hunger, sexuality, activity, reflection, and creativity.

Children need help in learning how to name, understand, and make sense of these instincts in relationship to themselves and others. To the degree this understanding does not happen, we learn to resist the impact of the archetypes (which show up as affects and impulses) by holding various patterns of muscular tension and limited emotional expression.

Our fear of what we feel in the body-mind as unbidden sensations, intuitions, thoughts, and feelings results in holding on to what we learned we are “supposed to” feel, think, do, etc. Wherever we experience problematic recurring muscular tension or emotional and relational loops, an archetypal energy has been blocked.

For instance, tension in our legs may hold blocked aggression that can move us toward what we want. It may be blocked out of guilt or shame that what we want is not acceptable according to our learned beliefs or the collective. Chronic tightness in the upper torso may correspond to closed-heartedness towards self and others created by past, painful love experiences.

We sometimes feel helpless in the face of our body-mind responses. Within our psyche, there is a center, a core that Jung called the Self. The Self is an extension of God, the Divine Essence that holds us together on every plane—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It corresponds theologically to God, and may be seen as the representation or manifestation of God in our body-mind.

The Self is the totality of who we are; it contains all aspects of the self/ego, body, and mind. When we reach for the Self, we begin to connect to the totality of who we are rather than to the momentary feeling, thought, desire, etc. We realize an Inner Divine Spirit manifests in the Intelligence of the Self, sorts the energies of our psyche, and “delivers judgment among the gods (archetypal affects).”

We are continually choosing whether to seek and connect to the Self or to stay attached to the smallness of self/ego. Consciousness is contra naturam; it goes against nature. We must be intentional and deliberate to cultivate the ego-Self axis (an image that depicts the connection through which ego and Self dialogue). We do this by:

  • Developing the capacity for self-awareness in the moment
  • Paying attention to our embodied experience
  • Listening for the message of sensations or emotions
  • Exploring the imagery of our waking and night dreams
  • Honoring the validity of our impulses and desires
  • Being open to what is emerging within us
  • Accepting the non-rational, mysterious, and unknown aspects of the Self/self,
  • Asking the Self for guidance and transformation.

Inner Reflection
Take a few minutes to reach for the Self/God Within by verbalizing on paper or out loud the ego’s concerns and desires at this time. Ask for guidance in seeing and knowing what is and for how to move in life-giving ways. Sit silently and listen. Be open throughout the day to new thoughts, feelings, impulses, or desires—openings—that may be the Inner Divine Spirit’s response to your seeking.