The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self
by Jean Shinoda Bolen
The Tao of Psychology
Synchronicity & the Self
by Jean Shinoda Bolen
Reviewed by SMiles
Jean Bolen is a Jungian analyst and psychiatrist with several wonderful books to her name. The Tao of Psychology is the perfect introduction to the parapsychology of meaning where synchronicity imbues greater significance to coincidental events in our every day lives. The book is brief and easy to read. She captures Jung’s ideas of archetypes and the collective unconscious perfectly, encouraging what she calls the Agatha Christie approach to detecting and analyzing synchronicity. She adds an important intuitive perspective by developing Jung’s thoughts as they relate to the ideas of the eastern Tao and I-Ching.
“Synchronistic events are the clues that point to the existence of an underlying connecting principle. Whenever synchronicity occurs, the visible and tangible ‘ten thousand things’ are experienced as being aspects of the one, while the invisible matrix, that inexpressible, ineffable, unseen connection; the Tao, is the great mystery.”
Coincidences become synchronicities through a process identical to Jungian dream analysis. Symbolic interpretations are drawn when the patient/experiencer feels the connection of inner feeling and outer events. “Like a Waking Dream” we can experience existence as an aboriginal dreamtime:
“The coincidental timing and symbolic quality of such events convince people of synchronicity. The coincidence is between a psychological situation and an outer accident, meeting, or event – in which the outer situation is a symbolic representation of the psychological struggle or conflict. It seems to me that synchronicity is frequent, but unless an individual has some insight into the psychological situation the symbolic coincidence is not appreciated. Like ignored dreams, they have no impact.”
Jean Bolen’s works are highly recommended. From her Goddesses in Everywoman and Gods in Everyman to Ring of Power and Crossing to Avalon. Her balanced perspectives are an asset to our future.
About Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst and an internationally known author and speaker. She is the author of 13 influential books, including The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman and Urgent Message from Mother, with over 80 foreign translations. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a former clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, a past board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and the International Transpersonal Association.
Jean was a recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing’s “Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award,” and the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology’s Demeter Award for her lifetime achievement in women’s spirituality. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Jean has been featured in two acclaimed documentaries, the Academy-Award winning anti-nuclear proliferation film Women — For America, For the World, and the Canadian Film Board’s Goddess Remembered. The Millionth Circle Initiative was inspired by her book and led to her involvement at the UN. She is an advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women, which was supported by the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly in 2012.