One enduring statement that C.G. Jung made late in life about not having to be a Jungian reveals much of his attitude towards the psyche. He saw his scientific role as a phenomenologist always open to the ambivalent and many aspected ambiguous intrusions of the unconscious into the ego field of conscious existence. He saw the ego loosely attached to a vast impersonal realm of the Self, which, in his later works he presented as the only objective and fundamental reality human beings could connect with. From this perspective the multi-layered, and to the conscious being, bewildering, complexity of the soul's functions was as fleeting as the Buddhist Maya. The west sees this Maya as the reality, and focusing our civilisation on the mastery of externals has produced its own catastrophic psychic disfunctioning as the values of internal reality have been neglected.
Jung saw the Indian speak not of Personal/Impersonal, Subjective/Objective; but of a personal consciousness and Kundalini. The two were never identified: the Gods were utterly different from humans. It was necessary to live through, and establish, a presence of stable consciousness within the world before it was possible for the detachment to gradually emerge which would permit that other, objective reality to connect with the conscious. Jung's journeys to Africa and India enabled him to confirm his experiences of the unconscious as he saw the visible proof of its functioning in the pre European modes of his own era. His description of how, in the myths of the Pueblo, where the emergence of conscious from a dark and very dim beginning proceeds through a series of caves one above the other to a full awakening on the surface of the earth in the light of the sun and moon, parallels the system of chakras outlined in Kundalini Yoga, as the development of the impersonal life.
Jung was aware of the existent texts on this subject, from Arthur Avalon's translations from Sanskrit to the Chinese 'Secret of the Golden Flower' a Taoist manual translated by Richard Wilhelm, a key figure in Jungian life whose deep knowledge of Chinese esotericism enabled him to formulate a number of basic concepts of psychology, among them the theory of synchronicity -(a concatenation of events linked by a single meaning). Jung's interpretation of the process of Kundalini did not, however, stem from theories. It was the consistent attention he paid to the indications of its movement within the psychic life of his patients that gave the conforming clues to the emergence of the impersonal life of the collective unconscious. He was keenly aware of the dangers of the ego becoming inflated by the stirrings of unconscious contents to the extent of total psychic imbalance. Temporary identifications could make the ego lunatic for a time; prolonged identification could produced schizophrenia. The structure of Indian systems on the other hand drew clear distinctions between the transitory and permanent self which could only be realised in a state of detachment. The gods, in European or modern man so efficiently focussed on outer existence, Jung described as being reduced to mere functions 'neuroses of the stomach, or the colour or the bladder, simply disturbances of the underworld.' The Gods being asleep stir in the bowels of the earth, as the idea of God in conscious life is remote, abstract and to one level of modern theology, effectively dead.
In the ideas of pre-European civilisations is reflected their identification with the various levels of the chakras. However, it was in the careful unravelling of the psychic life of his patients in their journey towards the impersonal self which he described as the process of individuation, that the Kundalini manifested. This gave his statements of the chakras a verification based on real experience. He concluded that the main level of activity of most people was in the lower three centres beginning with the Muladhara (literally, root support), where existence was established, through Swadistana (the manifest creativity in the personality) and to Manipur and Void, centre of emotionality, the Red Sea of the Old Testament whose crossing to the Heart (Anahata) required the discipline of the Guru both individually and collectively. At the heart the first intimations of the Self reach consciousness. The Purusha, whose tiny flame of eternal being establishes the domain of objective reality. If, as Jung suggests, enough people could connect with this level the mass psychoses of out modern era would vanish altogether.
Jung saw each chakra as a whole world in itself. At the level of Muladhara for instance is the earth, our conscious world, but also where instinct and desire is largely unconscious -a state of participation mystique. Reason can do little: storms of emotion or externally, war or revolutions can sweep all away. The bizarre elaboration of weapons in the modern world is nothing more than an attempt to contain or destroy the threat of impulses from the lower centres. Worse, much of it is an expression of them.
Jung found the stages of individuation of his patients elaborated through dream and symbol corresponding with those of old mystery cults. In baptism he saw a reflection of the dangerous journey of analysis itself - baptism being a symbolic drowning to inaugurate a new life.
Jung realised that arousing the activity of Swadistana, the Kundalini itself had to be aroused, but he also realised that such happenings were spontaneous, and not produced through the dangerous practices of Tantrism where the exalted idea of shakti, the pure Kundalini, is degraded into the literalism of a sexual cult. Jung never practised any form of organised meditation but saw the attention itself gathered into deeper levels of being by the motion of the unconscious self through Kundalini awakening. Further, the motion of anima leading into the depths of the unconscious, he recognised as an imaginal figure projected by Kundalini and identified with it.
In the various symbols surrounding the chakras Jung identified with his own system. The Muladhara with its image of the elephant (Hindu Ganesha) has a fourfold structure of psychic functions (the chakra has four petals) and corresponds with the world of consciousness. The heart with its symbolism of the dear projects images of lightness of being, swiftness and elevation. Beyond; Vissuddi, Agnya and Sahasrahra - he said little except that as fully developed centres they were so above ordinary consciousness that not even thought could offer any illumination. Essentially he came to the view that, from the standpoint of the gods, the great archetypal figures, the world is less than child's play, a seed, a mere potentiality for the future. People, and they consist of the vast majority, who pass through life unawakened and unaware, victims of outer circumstances and inner compulsions, have not lived at all and pass back into the universal unconscious, to quote Socrates; 'the unexamined life is not worth living'. To Jung the awakening of Kundalini out of mere potentiality is to 'start a world which is totally different from our world: it is infinity'.