A sack of ideas

In the old days, ideas were regarded to be in an ethereal cloud. Having an idea, being inspired, would be experienced as if one of those drops in the cloud was passing through us. We wouldn’t be the source of the idea, but the channel.

How often do we wonder where this or that idea came from? Are we not astonished sometimes that we could have such an eureka moment, a sort of connection, awakening or enlightenment? And of course, if our rational mind is not the source of the idea (since we weren’t conscious of it before), where does it come from?

The answer, I believe, can only be our unconscious mind. We provide an individual substrate, shaped by our happenings, education, and environment. Then, when the soil is fertile, an idea just pops up like a green shoot in Spring. The seed was always there, waiting patiently for the right time to sprout. Then it grows and grows, invading us, taking us, becoming ‘us’, changing who we were.

I am deeply convinced, that those ideas that came to me, are really quite wonderful things. I can easily say that (without blushing), because I know, how resistant and how foolishly obstinate I was, when they first visited me and what a trouble it was, until I could read this symbolic language, so much superior to my dull conscious mind.

Carl G. Jung, letter to Henry Murray in The Red Book

The sack of ideas was always there, maybe from birth. If some of us have the same ideas on our own, I can only assume that our respective sacks had something in common from the start. A collective unconscious we are born with, as beautifully proposed by Jung.

As special as we might think we are when ‘we’ have an idea, the only merit we can claim is to provide the right conditions, the necessary openness for that idea to sprout, show itself, make an attempt to grow. By becoming a channel, we make those ideas conscious, we ‘see’ them.

I guess that we need a sort of humility for this, to accept that we, our rational mind, does not always know better. Remaining open is the key for the muses to ‘visit us’. Maybe a pray is, above all, an act of humility. A surrender of the rational mind, so that a seed can sprout and grow from within.