Neurosis: Daily Catastrophe Ready for Use...
"Doubt is creative if it is answered by deeds, and so is neurosis if it exonerates itself as having been a phase-a crisis which is pathological only when chronic. Neurosis is a protracted crisis degenerated into a habit, the daily catastrophe ready for use." ( C.G. Jung Letter to Arnold Kunzli March 16, 1943)
Daily catastrophe ready for use is an alarming term. Yet, we are confronted by situations each day that threaten us with anxiety, the hallmark of neurosis. If we go rigid and don't respond creatively, productively, illness sets in. We become a chronic case of malaise, everyday misery.
Jim, a colleague and seasoned practitioner in depth psychology, had been suffering from a stiff neck, a painful condition for over three months. He had a dream in which the world was ending. He had a choice of what to do. He could go with it and move into another dimension outside of space and time; instead, he shifted into a huge boulder and refused to change. The boulder immediately crumbled, turned to dust. He awakened in a cold sweat.
The next day he decided to retire from professional practice within the year. From the dream he knew his professional world was at an end. It had been on his mind, the wrestling with it a constant source of depletion. He struggled against making the decision, a stiff neck, rigidity ensuing. "Best not to stay rigid and turn to dust," he commented.
The following night he dreamed of a luminescent orb that "pulsated with well being." He had made the right decision. Dreams guided him out of the neurosis, rigidity toward self and life. A crisis, a daily catastrophe, an ongoing stiff neck,, was what he was able to use to propel him into a new life that pulsated with well being.