Observation: Healing Only Occurs Within the Blur

From an interaction and process perspective, the presence of emotion or feeling tone is a very reliable signal indicating the unconscious is activated and something is at risk for being projected onto someone or something in the environment. What is happening here? This activated emotional state is the “blur” referred to in the psychoanalytic observation “healing only occurs in the blur.” In my view, the Experiential State Complex  is the blur generator.

This composite image supports orienting to one’s primary felt relationship experience at the level of invariant organizing principles and the transference. To work with this more concretely, take a few minutes to identify your top five most painful relationship moments, including several of your earliest memories, and compare them in terms of evoked emotion and acute vulnerability. If you could average and generalize all of them over time, they define the experiential state.

This composite “scene remembered” exits in a betwixt and between place. In its symbolic aspect, it both informs and protects ego consciousness. Something has happened. If/when you can identify the presence of the blur, the top priority is to build a bridge from the content of the issue to the reality of the emotional tone and question of how to best work with the blur.

Through associations to the emotional tone of the blur state one can see the here and now wounding is sharing the stage with an earlier encapsulated relationship failure episode(s). This may be sensed/experienced as a peculiar swirling of sensation, feeling, images, affects, and memories; associations which somehow reveal connections between one’s past, present, and anticipated/intuited future. The felt vividness suggests the plausibility of time tripping or time slipping. One’s usual experience of time and space has shifted. What has happened is the emotion evoked by the conflict in this moment has initiated a time transport, as if opening a time portal, pulling into the now an earlier wounding via an uncanny match of emotional resonance. How might we understand this phenomenon?

 Edinger (1992) observes:

“… experience teaches us that the collective unconscious does transcend time and space. Time and space are categories of the ego so they are necessary for ego consciousness but they do not apply to the unconscious. … archetypes… are eternal entities that erupt into the temporal process. … On such occasions the ego is caught in a piece of the divine drama and lives it out, more or less consciously or unconsciously. Another way of putting it is that the ego is in time and the Self is in eternity. The ego is the agent of the Self in time so to speak. When certain archetypal entities erupt into ego existence, then it is the task of the ego to embody those entities, incarnate them, and realize them as consciously as possible. If there is little consciousness attached to the event, then the ego becomes the tragic victim of the archetype it is constellating. If there is more consciousness involved, then the ego does not have to be a tragic victim, because the ego knows what is happening to it. It behaves in a much different way, and can mediate the archetypal pattern much differently.”  (Transformation of the God-Image, 1992, pp. 68-69) 

I recognize that depending on where you are with regards to a working orientation to complexes and archetypes, this quote may be quite obscure. The concept of archetypes as eternal entities is central to our understanding of what the ego is up against in the face of an emotional activation. This challenge, captured conceptually in the idea of the image of the nucleus of a complex, is at the center of the symbol system.

When complexes activate and succeed in temporarily possessing one or more parties, in the blur, the significance of “the ego is in time and the Self is in eternity” takes center stage. The complex, in contributing its archetypal dynamism to the experience, pulls for a shift in the time and space continuum. With this activation, it is as if the gates to eternity open, and what needs to come in comes in. Importantly, this is not just random material erupting into consciousness from the collective unconscious, but rather, these are the highly charged images and affects usually bound to and contained by the split off complex. Their energetic emergence into the present moment is the blur. Now it is as if our personal, intimate conflict, here and now, is to be played out in the dream time, in the presence of towering episodic memories. 

The significant others who show up include younger versions of ourselves. Traveling through time and space to be here, they all have something essential to contribute to our deep healing. Imagine what might happen if we chose to “embody those entities, incarnate them, and realize them as consciously as possible.” This waking dream time stage includes/represents a casting call for generational experiential state figures. These are as if emotional bodies, longing to incarnate, pressing for a holographic enactment at the interface of conscious and unconscious experience.

2 Comments on “Observation: Healing Only Occurs Within the Blur”


  1. […] Let’s start with what it isn’t. Take a moment to reflect on an encounter with the blur. […]


  2. […] phenomena of the blur, as an altered and altering state of emotional consciousness, provides an important bridge between […]


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