“Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden underground in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away-an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.”
C.G.Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
At this time of year, how fitting to contemplate the enduring life that lies beyond what can be seen at this time of the changing season. Trees have lost their leaves, some are going dormant, others have long ago withered or dried up, the sun is ever waning, the air and soil are becoming colder. So too, events in the world (senseless murders, refugees fleeing wars and terrorism) may bring about thoughts of decay, futility and nihilism. Much of life can seem uncertain and ephemeral.
In times of great flux, what endures, what sustains us? What is the rhizome that Jung writes of here? Where can it be found? The archetypal energies that make us human, the collective unconscious, the creative or divine spark, the Self — or all of those things and more?
Whatever it is that carries on, I agree with Jung that it is an enduring, unseen power that brings about both the initiation of life and its renewal. Finding ways to connect to deeper and more universal sources of unity, renewal and life is a fundamental life task and skill that few of us receive explicit support to develop. Psychotherapy can be helpful in the search for a sustaining connection that provides perspective and makes sense on a personal level.
Please feel free to reach out to LifeWorks if you are looking for therapy resources.