Carl Jung understood that dreams have both an objective and subjective level. That is, when we dream, we dream both about ourselves and our representations of the world. Jung discusses the objective level of the dream:
“I call every interpretation which equates the dream images with real objects an interpretation on the objective level… Interpretation on the objective level is analytic, because it breaks down the dream content into memory-complexes that refer to external situations. (CW 7, para. 131)
The subjective aspects reflects the dreamer. Jung continues:
“In contrast to this is the interpretation which refers every part of the dream and all the actors in it back to the dreamer himself. This I call interpretation on the subjective level…. Interpretation on the subjective level is synthetic, because it detaches the underlying memory-complexes from their external causes, regards them as tendencies or components of the subject, and reunites them with that subject.” (CW 7, para. 131)
It seems to me that there are two types of psychic retreats: one type leads to deeper awareness of the eternal Self and the other away from the Self.
The first type of psychic retreat is the simple act of quietly being with one’s Self. To sit with one’s Self, and find stillness within the flow of intensities, allows for one to retreat from the insistent nature of ones own thoughts. This process can provide stillness within the dynamic play of creation. This is the practice of meditation, of finding time to simply be with oneself. Setting aside time in ones daily routine for meditation can offer a time of ‘psychic retreat’. With consistency what begins as a ‘psychic retreat’ can broadens leading the way to Self-realization and enlightenment. Meditation is an essential practice in knowing the eternal truth of the Self.
One of the more subtle themes in Carl Jung’s work is a dialectical exploration of the nature of the psyche, specifically that of subject/ object differentiation. This exploration weaves throughout his writings. It is most clearly brought to light in his writings on participation mystique. Jung says:
Participation mystique “denotes a peculiar kind of psychological connection with objects, and consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity.” (Jung CW 6: para 781).
Jung speaks of participation mystique in terms of projection of our unconscious contents onto others and the world around us. He says:
“People with a narrow conscious life exteriorize their unconscious, they are continually in participation mystique with other people… if more unconscious things have become conscious to you, then you live less in participation mystique.” (Visions, para 1184).