In this age of social media it’s easy to get caught up in how many “friends” and “followers” you have.

But while reading June Singer’s Boundaries of the Soul: The practice of Jung’s psychology, I noticed she said the best way way for psychology to have a positive impact on our life outside of the analyst’s office is to interact with many different kinds of people in our everyday lives.

She goes so far as to say that to have an impact on society we shouldn’t first turn to experts. Instead we need to listen to the less vocal parts of society…

“These people watch and listen, they observe and reflect. They know far more than most people give them credit for. It is time to ask them what they see, what they need and what they can contribute.”

She listed 7 types of people we should listen to:

1. The ordinary person just struggling to get along in the world.

2. The elderly in your community. They have watched history unfold. Those that continue to have a lively interest in the world have much to teach younger people.

3. Indigenous people. She mentions people who are native to a country but I also like to think of indigenous people as people who have lived in a neighborhood or community for a very long time.

For example, in my neighborhood are two sets of neighbors who have lived in this neighborhood since the 1960s.  They always have a lot of information and stories to share.

4. Recent immigrants. They help us remember the importance of retaining our uniqueness while blending in with the whole of society.

5. Wisdom teachers. Religious leaders, ministers, etc.

6. Gay and lesbian people. She says we can learn from them because they tend to be creative and because they can teach us how members of a community can support one another through difficult times.

7. Families who live in rural settings. We should be interested in what they are learning about life and their natural surroundings.

She goes on to say that she approves of how psychology has also made inroads in the medical community and that it is generally accepted today that diseases have both physical and psychological components.

Of course this made me think of the work of Dr. Rachel Remen and her book Kitchen Table Wisdom. It became apparent while reading Boundaries of the Soul that Jung’s psychology has obviously had some influence on Dr. Remen.

Both Jung and Remen seem to share the same optimism and belief that wholeness and healing are possible. June Singer’s Boundaries of the Soul is considered the classic introductory book about Jung so that’s the book to read if you have any interest in learning more about Jung.

At any rate, it reinforces all the more how if we just listen to each other, including people who are different from us, and share empathy and stories, we won’t need to turn to the “experts” as often.

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Filed under: BooksKitchen Table Wisdom (the book)ListeningStories/Storytelling

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