He: Understanding Masculine Psychology by Robert A. Johnson. Quotes and comments

The story begins with the Fisher King has been wounded and all the animals and plants in the kingdom and those surrounding it mourning and weeping. Then, a boy who is of so little consequence that he has no name, but called Parsifal comes. Parsifal, as a fool, will redeem the health of the Fisher King. In Biblical terms, only the innocent can enter the gates of Heaven. Parsifal wants to become a knight so he starts his quest. With several rounds of success, he enters the Fisher King Castle. A godfather has once told Pascifel to ask the question ‘Whom does the Grail serve?’ What would knighthood be worth if it were not for this noble end? However, Parsifal suffers from his mother complex and can not be the independent young man and cannot open his mouth to ask such question.

Parsifal leaves the Castle without the Grail because he forgets to ask such an important question. The young man cannot understand the power of the femininity until he meets Blanche Fleur, and develops a correct relationship with his inner woman.

Parsifal carries on with his heroic quest until one day he is greeted by an old man. This old man is the Hermit, a sage, gives him advice and critiques on his ego. But he also turns gentle and shows him the shortcut to the Grail castle.

This time, Parsifal remembers to ask the right question as his mother complex is resolved. And the Grail serves the Grail King. Rejoicing, the Grail King is now healed and in peace, joy and serenity.

The Mother Complex

There are six basic relaitonships a man bears to the feminine world. All six are useful to him and each has its own nobility. It is only the contamination of one with another that makes difficulty. These difficulties are central to a man’s passage through life. The six feminine elements are as below:

  • His human mother

The actual woman who was his mother, she with all her idiosyncrasies, individual characteristics, and uniqueness

  • His mother complex (the interior mother within one’s mind)

This resides entirely inside the man himself. This is his regressive capacity which would like to return to a dependency on his mother and be a child again. This is a man’s wish to fail, his defeatist capacity, his subterranean fascination with death or accident, his demand to be taken care of. This is pure poison in a man’s psychology.

  • His mother archetype. (the collective idea)

If the mother complex is pure poison, the mother archetype is pure gold. It is the feminine half of God, the cornucopia of the universe, mother nature, the bounty which is freely poured out to us without fail. We could not live for a minute without the bounty of the mother archetype. It is always reliable, nourishing, sustaining.

  • His fair maiden (your own personalised anima)

This is the feminine component in every man’s psychic structure and is the interior companion or inspirer of his life. It is Blanche Fleur. It is she who gives meaning and colour to one’s life. Dr. Jung calls it the anima.

  • His wife or partner

The flesh and blood human being who shares his life journey with.

  • Sophia

This is the Goddess of Wisdom, the feminine half of God, the Shekinah in Jewish mysticism. It comes as a shock to a man to discover that Wisdom is feminine, but all mythologies have portrayed it so.

Achievement and the Ugly Damsel

There is some strange correlation between the achievement of a man and the power of the Hideous Damsel in his life. The greater the height, the greater his capacity for suffering and humiliation seems: the amount of fame and adulation one gets in the outer world seems to determine the sense of failure and meaninglessness he will find at the hands of the Hideous Damsel. One would guess that accomplishment would be the surest protection against meaninglessness, but this is not so. It is the accomplished man who is most capable of asking unanswerable questions about his worth and the meaning of his life.

The Hermit Within

These few people, born hermits (highly introverted souls), must remain in the forest (symbolically speaking) in solitude, storing up energy so that they may serve mankind when their quality is crucial and of the highest value.  There are few Red knight victories for these persons and they know little of the laurel leaves of victory. Such people receive very little encouragement or reinforcement these days and they often have a lonely and solitary life to lead. But a day comes when their genius is absolutely necessary to make a transition to another stage of life. But a day comes when their genius is absolutely necessary to make a transition to another stage of life– for themselves or for someone in their environment. Just to know of this validity is a safeguard for such a person. Please be good to your own hermit quality or the born hermit in your circle of friends. If you have a born hermit as a son, don’t push him into Red Knight experiences but let him find his own forest way.

Who does the Grail serve?

I am searching for happiness, which is to say that I want the Grail to serve me. We ask this great cornucopia of nature, this great feminine outpouring of all the material of the world- the air, the sea, the animals, the oil, the forests, and the productivity of the world– we ask that it should serve us. But no sooner is the question asked than the answer comes reverberating through the Grail castle halls–the Grail serves the Grail King.

Translated, this means that life serves what a Christian would call God, Jung calls the Self, or and we call by the many terms we have devised to indicate that which is greater than ourselves.

Another language, less poetic but perhaps easier, is available. Dr. Jung speaks of the life process as being the relocation of the center of gravity of the personality from the ego to the Self. He sees this as the life work of a man and the center of meaning for all human endeavour. When Parsifal learns that he is no longer the center of the universe– not even his own little kingdom–he is free of his alienation and the Grail is no longer barred from him. Though he may come and go from the Grail castle during the rest of his life, now he will never be alien to it again.

One detail in the story is worth special observation: Parsifal need only ask the question; he does not have to answer it. Although it is the duty of the ego to ask a well-formulated question, he is not required to answer it. To ask well is virtually to answer.


Rejoicing bursts forth in the Grail castle; the Grail is brought forth, it gives its food to everyone, including the now-healed Fisher King, and there are perfect peace, joy and well-being. Such a dilemma! If you ask the Grail to give you happiness, that demand precludes happiness. But if you serve the Grail and the Grail King properly, you will find what happens and happiness are the same thing. A play on words becomes the definition of enlightenment.


Your goals and ambitions, the desires you have. Something eternal and beautiful.

Grail King:

The higher self, or the Self (the Grail King is sad and wounded, and then when Parsifal asked the right question, he rejoiced, and now heal-ed.) When your goals and ambitions align with your higher self, you will find happiness.


the soul, going through the quest under the flow of the unconscious.

The energy moves from the consciousness to the unconsciousness when one is vulnerable and hurt. He goes through a lot of fights to get to the place where he is called hero, but he loses his Grail because he forgets to ask the question ‘who does the Grail serve?’ His ego blinds him from seeing the answer that is beyond himself. He is saying the Grail serves I. The Grial King remains unhealed. In other words, you remain unhappy. Until one day, Parsifal listens to the heed of the Hermit within and finds the shortcut to the castle. When you listen to your inner voice, the castle is never far away. This time he examines his own shortcomings and stays humble, and asks the question ‘Who does the grail serve?’ Your consciousness only needs to formulate the question, but is not required to answer it. The answer will reveal itself as you trust your own unconsciousness. The answer comes, the grail is here to serve the Grail King. You are here to serve the grail and the Grail King. The higher self that is beyond you and will see your life is to serve something bigger than yourself. The achievements and failures are not personal but just creative spontaneity of the Self.

The ‘Ten Oxherding Pictures” from Zen Buddhism

Image result for ten oxherding pictures

An identical theme is found in the Ten Oxherding Pictures. This is protraying the steps towards enlightenment. In the first the young hero seraches for the ox–his inner nature; in the second he sees the foot-prints of the ox; in the third he sees the ox. The series proceeds to the ninth picture in which the hero tames the ox, forges a peaceful relationship with it, and sits quietly surveying the scene. The question rises at this point–Behold the streams flowing, whither no-body knows, whither nobody knows; and the flowers vividly red- for whom are they? Author Mokusen Miyuki reflects that these words could be translated literally into “The stream flows on its own accord, and the flower is red on its own accord.” In Taoism it can mean ‘naturalness,’ an occurring of the creative spontaneity of nature, within and without. In other words, 自然 (Tsu-jan), an occurring of the creative spontaneity of nature, as the living reality of self-realization or the creative urge of the Self manifesting itself in nature.

The series of pictures culminates in the tenth when the hero, now perfectly at peace, walks unnoticed through the village streets. There is nothing extraordinary about him now except that all the trees burst into blossom as he passes by.


Some individuation happened.

Carl Jung once said he felt like everyone has two different personalities. Generalised from his own childhood experiences, he mentioned in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963) that when he was little, he identified two sides of him that are distinct from each other. Jung named them No. 1 and No.2. No.1 was the child who wants parental approval and success while No.2 was spiritual, wise, rooted, mystical and love nature, was his true self.

The similarity between my childhood with Carl Jung was, both of us are extreme introverts, some may even use the term ‘schizoid personality disorder’ to describe this particular condition. Being withdrawn and aloof, we both took our inner life seriously and had a more developed No. 2 than the average in society.

However, different from Carl Jung, I had a hard time developing my No.1 side of me. From time to time, my No.2 dominates the situation. My No.1 development was lagging behind but I did not see a problem with it. No.2 is all about being yourself and live in the present, without concern over other people’s opinions and it can push me to go against societal norms and from time to time, persuade me to ‘break the rules’. But my maldeveloped No.1 side was telling me I am inferior and I am not good enough, never good enough. People will not look upon me with respect. Maybe my No.1 side had become my shadow for a long time but I was not aware of it.So I cling to my No.2 self even further.

My breaking point came when a very close friend who I’ve seen as my opposite persona (who had a very well developed No.1 ) succeeded in achieving something I am jealous about. I realised my No.1 side have always been there inside me, and it’s time to deal with the development of myself. Some inner work needs to be done.

Quick enough, just within a week or so, I started to explore lots of career choices I have never thought about and have more positive emotions within myself. I reviewed and rejected many of the previous statement I took as facts and suspected to be wrong. I used to take my parents’ view of me as inferior and ‘the kid who will always live under mama’s skirt’ started to become a fire and fuel me to develop myself. I had never worked on my outer layer of myself. Now I can see that even though I am spiritual, loving and self-accepting, something is off and I will never succeed. Other people cannot see my strengths neither because I have never tried to dress like the person I wanted to be seen as. Now, things are clear, I want to be seen as a powerful independent woman.

I felt so much better about myself after that existential crisis about my own identity and self. I still have not figured out my future and I am sure this topic will freak me out and stress me out every time I think about. But I am ready, ready to face the side of myself I have not looked at, and make peace with it.

Proud to be Different

Remember the day we were at the airport in Spain, you said ‘Pooky, if all restaurants are Halal, then we do not need to look for restaurants that difficult. Don’t you think that’s good?’ We were travelling to Spain and restaurant choice become one big topic to our group, because some people are Muslims but some are not. Personally I did not really care much about food, but I know to some people, trying the signature dishes there was a very important part of traveling and food restrictions become a problem.

I heard your question upon your lips, but I was not responsive. I gave the confused look, or maybe my signature blank face and made people wonder whether I hear you. I did, I really did hear you, but I was confused by myself, because a thousand thoughts rushed into my brain.

Some of my immediate replies are, ‘yea, that’s good, I support gay rights and all countries should allow gay marriage. Because all animals have dignity and respect just like humans, and to minimise the pain of all animals. Hang on… that means we all have to become vegetarians, as killing them for the satisfaction of our taste buds are not acceptable. You know, killing them in a way that is not painful according to what you told me, is still no respect to animals that are living in this world’

Now, you see how crazy your idea is. They are all good, but at this moment, we all have the choice, to eat what you prefer. You and your Muslims friends have chosen to eat only Halal food, so there is less pain in the world and at the same time you can enjoy meat. I appreciate what you do. If that’s your right choice, keep it up. But you have to be aware, that’s your choice, not all people have to agree with what you do. Buddhists will say we should all eat vegetables, for the same cause: to reduce pain of this world. But my Buddhist friends did not say that. Why? They are aware that’s their personal choice. (Oh sorry, I forget you didn’t choose to be Muslim, but you still choose to eat Halal food, right?)

The moment you choose to follow what you believe as right, you should have known you are doing something special, something different from the norm, for a good cause. As you are determined to be different, you should have already prepared to face difficulties that will come upon.

Be proud of it, be proud to be different. And be proud to face difficulties as you chose to be different. What you do, will educate others.


One very brave person’s story that we shall never forget.

–The author has decided not to share this story anymore.–

One thing I remember from the story that still lingers in my heart is, if you see a person with kindness and love, you see the good side of that person, who have been abused and learned to do things in ways that hurt himself, but he tried and tried to be a good person, and sometimes he will even help with your problems. On the other hand, the other person living in the same house, witnessed the same things, see this person as lazy, evil and sick, will never be able to see the good side of him, no matter how hard he tried.

Don’t waste time to impress someone who cannot see you as a person.

And remember, choose to see everyone with kindness and love.

Being mentally unstable for a few days.

These few days I embrace a new identity: being mentally unstable. I have to admit when I should finally breathe freedom, I find myself trapped. I found myself powerless. I have no motivation to do anything, in a terrible mood for days. The idea of being like this for the rest of my life haunts me. I desperately need a way out. It makes no sense but this was me. No, this is the real me. I had been working hard during the second term of my second year. I have dragged myself to the library almost every day. Sometimes I let myself slack off for a day or two in a week. But 5 days in the library, each time more than 5 hours, that’s how I lived my life and got most of my work done.
So, finally, my holiday came, even the thought of it was exciting. I can’t wait. But hell no, I stayed up late every single day I know I got  nothing to do. Then, after two whole hours of struggling, I got out of bed, went straight to the kitchen to get some food into my system. Sometimes after breakfast I went back to sleep, sometimes I forced myself to at least finish some chores. But every single day, I am not living my fullest. I did everything because there was a necessity there. Where are my motivations? Where are my passions? I am lost. But if you know how I lived before I went to college, you know that’s pretty normal. I did nothing until a guilt spiral began and I painfully dragged myself through the tasks I have to do.
Two days ago I finally have to accept there is something terribly wrong with me. I have no purpose. I feel wasted. Finally the funeral question woke me up, but it did not save me. Basically, the funeral question is an imaginative question. Let’s imagine when you die, what do you want people to remember you for? What do you think the people attend the funeral will say about you? My answer is, people will only remember me being a shy girl, know me nothing. Not my art work, not my kind heart, not the things I pour my heart into. I felt my whole life is a lie. It felt so wrong, but it felt so right. That’s exactly how I live my life. I have never had the courage to show people who I really am, I have been taught to be a good student and learn to aim at being successful in the cultural standard and forget about my own dreams.

Four important things I learnt in my 10-day Retreat

I still remember the day I went out of the 10-day meditation camp and I was on my way home and I was on a bus, I was so happy I was smiling. I mean, I was so satisfied with my life I smiled for no reasons. This is like an euphoric state but I attained it without taking any drugs. Looking back this sounds really crazy. But also because of this, I concluded meditation can do wonders.

But first of all, let me tell you the whole 10-day meditation camp was not as fun as expected. I did not wear enough clothes because I thought that’s summer and outside was 30 something degrees. So yea, I should be fine without a blanket. I did not expect they would have air-conditioners! Oh well, I caught a cold. And before I got ill, I had my period coming. All of the things added up I did not know what was I doing for the whole 10 days. Four days of menstruation and then three days of coughing and breathing difficulties. Also around five days of insomnia because we were forced to go to bed at 10 and woke up at 4am everyday. You have to understand I am a night owl, sleeping at 2am I would tell people I have make it an early night. So, it did not go very well.
However, I learnt a lot about myself and I gained a lot of insights. I am taught how to breathe in a way that I am in control of myself to get into a semi-conscious state. It is a very relaxed state but you still have control of your breathing and aware of the surroundings. This breathing exercise is also one of the top secrets to reduce anxiety and stress. It is more than just an exercise but I think this is an easy explanation for people who have never did meditation before to have an idea how it is like.
So, before all these wonders  I am told not to expect anything because if you expect something and you did not get it during the camp, you may get disappointed, get upset, get angry, have all sorts of inappropriate emotions arise from your mind and this will affect your body as well. Even though I was instructed not to expect anything. But of course, I did have some expectations, I just fine tuned them down and expected less. I was hoping to understand how meditation can help get insights and maybe get a better understanding of myself.
In that ten days, I was dozing off in more than one occasions, embarrassing enough one of the helpers came to me and asked me to wake up. More than once. Ashamed? Not ashamed. I was not paying full attention to follow the instructions most of the time. I even got a vivid lucid dream in one early morning. Because according to my body clock I was supposed to be sleeping but I told myself not to, but I don’t really have enough mental energy to tell myself to breathe and concentrate, and that’s how my lucid dream happened. Looking back it is quite an epic fail but in meditation camp we don’t count failures. My expectations came true and actually I got more than that. I believe meditation is just a self-reflection exercise, we all end up run into ourselves, our own ideas. The below are my ideas and those are some important ideas I have pondered for years to grapple and I would like to share with you.

1. Self-discipline

First,I learned about self-discipline is very important. I did not like rules but if I promised my teacher to do something I will finish it, reluctantly. I also have an impression of being an obedient child but of course, no one really like to be told what to do all the time. I was just being obedient on the outside. I am not the type of person who will do whatever people say. So, my mind always wandered away and live in my dreamy little world when people asked me to do things I do not want to. This actually persisted for many years and I did not think there is anything wrong. But this 10-day camp told me I am not being constructive. Part of me want to do this while part of me want to do that. I have been living like this for years and I have no questions about it and how does it happen or how does it affect me. Obviously the result is, I can spend years doing something but still stay at a certain point making no progress. That is because I do not want to do it, I just pretend I want to. One of the reasons is I promised my parents to study hard and so I did, even though I don’t want to. I force myself to. But part of my brain is not cooperating and so, I become the so-called ‘workaholic’ The one who works for days and nights and have no social life and have no personal life. That’s not constructive, not effective. This is all just a show. A show to tell everyone surrounding me that I am studying. This 10 days camp told me, it is time to learn how to concentrate and work hard, if I really want to succeed. And self-discipline will be the key.

2. Stay Focus

Also, very luckily, meditation is a concentration practice. It requires you to focus on one point and then a smaller point and a smaller point. Ignore other things, just focus on that smaller point. This simple task is what meditation really is, it requires mental energy and a state of mind that is focused and relaxed. I taught me how to focus.

 3. Objective thinking

Besides self-discipline and how to concentrate on one task, I learnt to think objectively and get into a positive state. My mum is quite a negative person and she has the tendency to imagine all the worst scenarios and over-think everything. Growing up with people like this, you will also become anxious and paranoid. At least I was. I don’t know how does meditation stop me worrying. But getting into that relaxed state certainly does have some calming effect. I learnt to focus on the things that really matters and let go of the thoughts I have no control of. This I called the real positive thinking. In the western culture sometimes people would have zero-tolerance over any kind of negativity. This becomes a sickness, as no one can have a great day every day. We have to acknowledge the negative feelings we have some time to time. Otherwise, negative feelings will build up and explode. This is what I called the fake positive thinking. By thinking objectively, you observe your own emotions and do not react to it. You get into a positive state by having a brutally honest understanding of what is going on, is what give us a sense of control. Meditation taught me that.

 4. Be your authentic self

One final point that is all added up from the previous points is, I learnt an important lesson being human. Success is always defined culturally and there is no big deal if you cannot be seen as successful by other people’s standards. Before I was really sure I want to go to the retreat. My parents thought I was crazy and this would be a waste of time; my friends thought there was something wrong with me. I only know this will be an eye-opening experience, I did not have a very deep thought about WHY I have to go. The retreat I went to is free. Without the financial concern, I just want to try it. According to my mum, I will become a monk one day. To my friends this is something bizarre. I also hesitated for a second the night before the camp when I was packing my luggage. ‘Am I sure I really have to do this?’ No, not really, but why not?  So, I went. I realized, there must be a lot of people in the past, before I exist, before my mum exists, before your grandma exists, they meditate. For what, who knows? But what do they get? A lot of important worthy precious lessons about life. I am reminded from time to time that we are not born to be told by the society how successful we are. We are not born to fulfil the desires of your family, your culture. All these are just purposes created by some humans. Life is not as short as our deadlines tell us. Ask yourself, what do you really want to do? Let go of what other people want you to become, but remind yourself the amazing things you want to do. To do what you need to do and do not let the society to repress you to become someone who are not. Because you will not be happy. But of course, under the condition not to hurt anyone, including yourself.
This requires self-awareness and self-awareness is what meditation is about.

Sometimes I am scared of My Darkside, Can I get rid of it?

*I’m sorry if the use of language in the video is a bit inappropriate*


Have a look at the mirror, me and my family look so alike. I mean physically we are so alike, it must be the genes. How about mentally? There must be some genes controlling as well, aren’t there?

Looking at my relatives who love to judge people.

Am I just one of them? Selfish, judgmental, making fun of others.

Thought they know so much more than anyone, thought no one can be better, thought the world owes them….

I get tired of thinking about them, but then, at the end of the day, maybe I am just one of them. Can I get rid of it?


Or in a family with depression, am I just one of them?

Will I get depression oneday? Am I born with it? Is this just coincidience if one day I get it too?

All the socialization and interactions with my relatives, all the genes, everything counts.

The chain of thought started to freak me out…

Can I run away from my family?


Or if I have the desire to be a murderer.

Am I born with it? Can I blame it to my genes? Can I get rid of it? Am I a shame to my family?


”Sometime I wonder what’s inside of me, 

 my family are hiding inside me,

I never know what I do know.

Running away is something we always done well,

Well and mostly I can’t even tell what I’m running from

Corpsed into ice, I cannot ,I cannot,I cannot, run from my family” ( from the lyrics)


Can I get rid of the dark side?


I cannot find the answer, but a wise young man says something remarkable that keep me thinking —the accepance of our dark sides.

”Like all people, I have a “shadow,” and I have learned that the healthiest thing one can do is to integrate this darkness into one’s self.  If you reject it and abhor it, then you only repress it, and it only gets stronger when it is not acknowledged.

As I have experienced life, and learned how to increase my capacity for tolerance and compassion, so too has my capacity for darkness grown as well.  This is natural, because balance is the rule of nature.  In order to become more compassionate, I must also cultivate the capacity for more selfishness.  In order to be more tolerant, I must also cultivate my ability for intolerance and hatred.

This sounds scary, but it is not.  Because while we all have the capacity for both good and evil, it is our choice at every moment whether to engage in decent activities or engage in behaviors that will harm others.  I have long since come into the habit of choosing compassion over hatred, and peace of mind over anger. ”

By: Seraph1m

Written on December 26th, 2007 on http://www.experienceproject.com

view the whole passage here: http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Have-A-Dark-Side/116964