INNER VISION AND SYNCHRONICITY:
Dream Work As Taught By Charles Fillmore And Carl Jung
Russell D. Heiland, Jr.
A Final Project Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Arts
Graduate Liberal Studies Program
University of North Carolina Wilmington
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- ABSTRACT iii
- ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iv
- DEDICATION v
- Charles Fillmore Biography 2
- Carl Jung Biography 5
- Charles Fillmore Fundamental Teachings 6
- Carl Jung Fundamental Teachings 8
- PSYCHOLOGY AND RELIGION 11
- Fillmorean Psychology 15
- Jungian Religion 17
- DREAMS 19
- Jung and Dreams 19
- Fillmore and Dreams 26
- Two Other Items 34
- CONCLUSIONS 38
It is well-known that the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) places tremendous importance on religion and the dreams of the analysand, the individual whose dreams are being analyzed. Jung was able to articulate that dreams offer not just an avenue to the unconscious, but provide a vehicle for the process of individuation, the claiming of one’s wholeness.
What is not so well-known is that Charles Fillmore (1854-1948), co-founder of Unity School of Christianity, also had a keen interest in psychology and the power of dreams. He, too, believed and taught that an understanding of one’s dreams was an important tool for living a balanced and healthy life.
Although contemporaries with large followings, there is scant evidence to suggest they knew of each other’s work; however, in an apparent case of synchronicity, what they were teaching about dreams is markedly similar. This essay will examine those similarities along with presenting key ideas relating to their understanding of religion and psychology.
There are two individuals whose dedication to teaching excellence have inspired me to engage in the study of Unity Truth teachings and the analytical psychology of Carl Jung, Rev. René N. Paré, minister emeritus of Unity Christ Church of Wilmington and Dr. Jenny Yates, distinguished visiting professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Additionally, I am grateful to Eric Page and Sam Bowman, archivists at Unity Institute and author-historian Neal Vahle for their helpful input and insight.
I wish to extend my gratitude as well to the following individuals whose support and encouragement have proven priceless to me during my graduate student education: Rev. Susan Karlson, Rev. Dr. Jeremy Taylor, Rev. Adrienne Dorfman, the Board of Directors at Unity Christ Church of Wilmington, my parents, Russell and Gail Heiland, and my life partner, Anthony Ezzell.
A final gratitude must be extended to Alnita Hannible, UNCW Graduate School administrative assistant for her willingness to provide helpful assistance when I felt most clueless about university procedures.
This work is dedicated to Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, co-founders of the Unity Movement, whose vision – both inner and outer – continues to inspire men and women to claim their spiritual freedom.
FILLMORE AND JUNG – AN INTRODUCTION
“Synchronicity” is a term coined by Carl Jung to describe a meaningful coincidence – the occurrence of two events related in some way without any demonstrable causality. It can be that one of the events is an “inner” event in the mind of an individual, such as a dream, that later is played out in the “outer,” physical world. An example might be when the object of the dream, a long-lost friend, unexpectedly comes for a visit. In another instance, the synchronistic events may be two “outer” events such as when two intellectual pioneers begin to teach the same subject at roughly the same time without knowing of the work of the other. Such is the case with Carl Jung and Charles Fillmore in their work with dreams. The synchronistic link between these two individuals as it relates to dream work will be the focus of this work and will necessarily include a basic review of their understanding of the roles of psychology and religion in the life of modern mankind.
There are other synchronicities that exist between these two that are notable. One is the fact they have the same given name. Charles is the English version of the German name Carl which means “man,” or “manly” (BabyNamesWorld.com, 2007). Additionally, each had a keen interest in astrology. Jung’s work Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle published in 1960 includes an astrological study he conducted. Fillmore signed many of his early works with the pen name Leo Virgo, such as the tract The Church of Christ published in 1901. Both men were born under the astrological sign Leo - Jung on July 26, 1875, Fillmore on August 22, 1854.
Are these other synchronicities meaningful? That will be for the reader to determine; however, each man became a leader in a new field (analytical psychology and the Unity Movement, a collective designation for Unity churches and centers worldwide), which have as their ultimate aims the development of humanity. Also, as will be shown below, each had a keen interest in what was practical and demonstrable, so perhaps these connections may warrant further study in a different context.
In spite of these similarities, the differences between them were enormous.
Charles Fillmore Biography
Charles Fillmore was born on a Chippewa reservation in Minnesota in 1854. Statehood for Minnesota did not come until 1858, and in the early years of Fillmore’s life the Chippewa, Sioux and white settlers often sparred over territory. His father was an Indian agent and farmer from Buffalo, New York. His mother was a dressmaker from Nova Scotia. Fillmore did interact with the Chippewa as a youth – the first time when he was abducted by them at the age of six months. He was returned a few hours later unharmed. Apparently this happened more than once.
Although destined to become a religious leader, he did not have a religious upbringing. On his father’s side, he had two uncles who were Methodist ministers; however, neither of his parents instructed their children (Fillmore and his brother Norton) in religious matters.
At the age of ten he had an accident while ice skating that, by the time he became an adult, left his right leg roughly three and one half inches shorter than the left. His medical treatment was rough and generally unhelpful, and he was told by his doctors that it was likely the abscesses on his leg would kill him by the age of forty. In spite of this, he did manage to attend school on and off through the age of eighteen.
By the time Fillmore was twenty, his parents’ marriage had ended and he felt physically strong enough to leave Minnesota. He went to Texas where he worked for a railroad for five years, then went to Colorado where he studied metallurgy and worked in the mining industry. In 1881 he married Mary Caroline “Myrtle” Page and the couple settled in Kansas City, Missouri in 1885. While in Kansas City, he made a successful life for himself in real estate (Vahle, 2002, pp. 33-35).
Fillmore’s spiritual awakening came as a result of his wife’s self-healing from tuberculosis. In 1886 the Fillmores attended a lecture by Christian Science practitioner Eugene B. Weeks at which the principles of Christian Science were taught. These were new concepts to Myrtle Fillmore who was disenchanted with the puritanical teachings of sin and evil adhered to by her Methodist family. She was impressed and inspired by the concept of an indwelling, loving Father that wanted only good for His children and diligently applied herself to the study and practice of Christian Science. She demonstrated healing for herself, and as a consequence, dedicated herself to serving as a spiritual healer for others (Vahle, 2002, pp. 6-8).
Although Fillmore’s formal education was not remarkable, he did have a voracious mind. As a consequence of his wife’s healing, he applied himself to study, prayer, and meditation and discerned for himself a concept of the indwelling divine; however, he was confused about why different teachers taught different things about this divine presence and decided to contact the divine directly for clarity on the matter. In 1894 he declared, “In this Babel I will go to headquarters. If I am spirit and this God they talk so much about is Spirit we can somehow communicate, or the whole thing is a fraud” (Fillmore, 1894). He commenced to spend time in mediation at the same every night for months, but without any results of note. Eventually, he came to realize that his dreams were becoming exceedingly vivid and that the desired communication from “headquarters” was coming to him through his dreams. He said, “I can distinguish no difference between my symbolic dreams and those of Jacob, Joseph and other Bible characters. This is one of the many ways by which the Lord, or higher consciousness, communicates with the lower, and is just as operative today as it was centuries ago (Fillmore, 1894).
The Fillmores broadened their studies beyond Christian Science to include prayer, meditation, healing, metaphysics and established themselves as teachers and healers. Fillmore gave up real estate in order to devote himself fully, with his wife, to the work they called “Unity.” The Unity Movement counts the year of its birth as 1889, for that was the year that the Society of Silent Help was founded. This Society is known today as Silent Unity, the acknowledged heart of the Unity Movement, and Silent Unity workers have been engaged in prayer work continuously since that time (Vahle, 2002, p. 145). Today Silent Unity receives millions of requests for prayer per year via telephone, mail, and email. Fillmore was adamant about the power of prayer and said, “It is the language of spirituality; when developed it makes man master in the realm of creative ideas” (Fillmore, 1959, p. 152).
Fillmore was a highly competent organizer and marketer which fostered the growth of the Unity movement from Kansas City to around the world. Prior to the incorporation of Unity School of Christianity in 1914 into which all Unity activities were consolidated, Fillmore owned and operated Unity Tract Society, established in 1897, which published Unity magazine, Thought Publishing Company, which published the magazines Modern Thought, Christian Science Thought, and Thought, and Unity Book Company, which spread the Unity message through print media (Vahle, 2002, p. 145). It should be noted that although Unity School of Christianity had as its focus spiritual teaching, it was incorporated in Missouri as a commercial business rather than a nonprofit institution with all stock controlled by the four members of the Fillmore family, Charles, Myrtle and their two sons. The reasoning was that a commercial business would be more appropriate on account of Unity’s publishing operations. The incorporation stipulated that all no dividends would be paid out, and all profits would be used to support the organization. This move, though later questioned by the Internal Revenue Service (an exemption to tax liability was granted in 1926), effectively guaranteed the Fillmore family control of Unity School through the twentieth century (Vahle, 2002, p. 147-149). In various articles, tracts and books, Fillmore articulated his concepts about psychology and dreams, which will be addressed below, as well as his understanding of Christian metaphysics, prayer, meditation and theology in general.
Fillmore died at the age of 94 in 1948.
Carl Jung Biography
Information about Jung’s life is relatively easy to come by, especially since, unlike Fillmore, he did write an autobiography — Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
Jung grew up in Switzerland, the son of a minister father and a homemaker mother. He did not have the physical trauma that Fillmore did, so his education was not interrupted. In 1900 he decided to become a psychiatrist, and that same year was appointed Assistant Staff Physician at the Burghölzli Mental Clinic in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1902 he studied with Pierre Janet and published his first two articles. The following year, 1903, he married Emma Rauschenbach. They had five children.
In 1906 he met Sigmund Freud and began a relationship that would be both inspiring and painful for him. Inspiring in the sense that he considered Freud a master psychologist, and painful on account of the break with Freud that occurred in 1913.
In 1909 he began intensive study of the world’s mythologies which would figure prominently in his concept of the collective unconscious. In this same year he traveled with Freud to the United States for his first visit.
Jung’s work as a scholar and physician flourished in the years 1913-1946. His writing output, which was already impressive by 1913, continued unabated. During this time he published his theory on psychological types (forerunner to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator commonly known today), wrote eloquently about archetypes, explored alchemy in depth, made psychological examinations of Eastern and Western religion, and traveled extensively around the world.
In his later years he continued to write, though for the most part, he had retired to his home at Bollingen Tower on Lake Zurich. His wife Emma died in 1955, and Jung himself died in 1961 (Campbell, 1971, p. xxxiii-xlii).
Charles Fillmore Fundamental Teachings
A key to understanding the theology of Charles Fillmore is found in the name he gave the nonprofit church organization he founded in 1903: Unity Society of Practical Christianity, with the emphasis on the word “practical” (Vahle, 2002, p. 145). A consistent theme throughout his teaching was that religion, if it is to be helpful to its adherents, must be of practical value in helping the individual to live a healthy and abundant life in the here and now. Prayer and meditation, along with other spiritual practices, had practical and immediate benefits to the individual who engaged them on a regular basis; including, but not limited to peace of mind, harmonious relationship, health and healing and demonstration of prosperity.
According to biographer Neal Vahle, Fillmore’s “primary interest as a person and as a spiritual teacher was in manifesting the indwelling presence, the Christ Consciousness, and helping others to do the same” (Vahle, 2002, p. 46). To this end, he intuited that there were twelve spiritual centers within the body, which, when quickened or energized would allow the individual to release negative beliefs and behaviors that hampered the unfoldment of the indwelling Christ. Moreover, he taught that the activation of the twelve powers (faith, strength, wisdom, love, power, imagination, understanding, will, zeal, order, elimination, life) could lead to the overcoming of physical death, a process he termed “regeneration;” however, Fillmore did not demonstrate the overcoming of physical death and died from kidney failure (Vahle, 2002, p. 63).
As regards the central figure of Christianity, Jesus Christ, Fillmore “considered Jesus to be human at birth rather than divine as taught by traditional Christianity. Jesus transformed himself and realized the indwelling presence…by developing and implementing in his life all twelve faculties of mind” (Vahle, 2002, p. 67). The activation of the twelve faculties, Fillmore taught, was symbolized by the calling of the twelve disciples. From this perspective Jesus was, to Fillmore, a model to be followed, rather than a deity to be worshiped.
The study of Christian metaphysics is another hallmark of Fillmore’s theology. He defined metaphysics as “the systematic study of the science of Being; that which transcends the physical. By pure metaphysics is meant a clear understanding of the realm of ideas and their legitimate expression” (Fillmore, 1959, p. 132). “Being” was a term used by Fillmore to connote God, yet it’s definition, with an emphasis on archetypical ideas, is of note in light of the discussion of Jung that follows, for Fillmore referred to Being as “God; the Mind of the universe composed of archetype ideas: life, love, wisdom, substance, Truth, power, peace, and so forth. Being is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient; it is the fullness of God, the All-Good” (Fillmore, 1959, p. 22). Thus when Fillmore addressed spiritual laws and principles, he was engaging in what he considered to be Christian metaphysics.
Within the study of his Christian metaphysics, one encounters the terms “personality” and “individuality” with some frequency, and Fillmore’s usage of these terms shows some semblance to Jung’s usage of the terms “persona” and “individuation” as noted below. Fillmore said that personality was:
The sum total of characteristics that man has personalized as distinct of himself, independent of others or of divine principle. The word personality as used by metaphysicians is contrasted with the word individuality. Individuality is the real; personality is the unreal, the mortal, the part of us that is governed by the selfish motives of the natural man (Fillmore, 1959, p. 148).
Fillmore wrote and lectured extensively about many spiritual and religious topics, but the aforementioned concepts of practical Christianity, the indwelling presence, the twelve powers, and metaphysics are standout ideas associated with him and his theology.
Carl Jung Fundamental Teachings
Carl Jung is the founder of the school of psychology known as analytical psychology, the basic teachings of which were first presented in 1922 (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 703). This section will present a brief overview of some key elements of analytic psychology.
To understand Jungian psychology, another name for analytical psychology, one must understand Jung’s teaching about the unconscious. For Jung, the unconscious is
…everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious, but have now forgotten; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and with paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the future things that are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness; all this is the content of the unconscious” (CW 8:185).
Jung taught that there was a “personal” unconscious with elements unique to an individual such as those noted above, and a “collective” unconscious which serves as the storehouse for the archetypes. Archetypes are “centers of psychic energy; they have a ‘numinous,’ life-like quality; and they are likely to be manifested in critical circumstances, either through an exterior event or because of some inner change” (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 706). Additionally, author and historian Henri Ellenberger adds, “Archetypes are not the fruit of individual experience, they are ‘universal.’ This universality has been interpreted by Jungians either as issuing from the structure of the human brain or as the expression of a kind of neo-Platonic world-soul” (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 706).
Much of the terminology used in analytical psychology to describe the structure of the soul has become commonplace in the world today. Included are the terms “persona” which describes one’s public, or outer demeanor including one’s attitudes or beliefs. Behind the persona lies the “shadow,” the characteristics of that one would like to keep hidden from others, or even one’s self (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 707). Two other terms that are closely linked in analytical psychology are “anima” and “animus.” The anima, which is Latin meaning “soul,” is the ideal feminine figure within a man, and “animus,” which is Latin meaning “spirit” is ideal masculine figure within a woman. Jung believed that deep in a man was his anima, and deep in a woman was her animus (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 708-9). Anima and animus are both archetypes.
The ultimate goal of analytical psychology is individuation, the unification of all parts of an individual’s personality. Jung said, “Individuation means becoming a single, homogeneous being, and, in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming to selfhood’ or ‘self-realization” (CW 7:266).
An additional contribution of Carl Jung to psychology was his study on personality types which birthed the now-common terms “introvert” and “extravert”. This work has been popularized as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that describes sixteen main personality types. The MBTI is used in a wide variety of settings to assist individuals in understanding their personality preferences.
This brief sketch of analytical psychology would not be complete with commenting on dreams. Dreams, as the Jung quote below will show, provide the gateway for exploration of the unconscious.
Even though dreams refer to a definite attitude of consciousness and a definite psychic situation, their roots lie deep in the unfathomably dark recesses of the conscious mind. For want of a more descriptive term we call this unknown background the unconscious. We do not know its nature in and for itself, but we observe certain effects from whose qualities we venture certain conclusions in regard to the nature of the unconscious psyche. Because dreams are the most common and normal expression of the unconscious psyche, they provide the bulk of the material for its investigation (CW 8:544).
Fillmore was a theologian, Jung a psychiatrist; yet each held important and similar views about the other’s field of endeavor. What follows is an analysis of “Fillmorean psychology” and “Jungian religion” that will set the stage for an in depth examination of their synchronistic approach to dream work.
© 2007, Russel D. Heiland, Jr.
All rights reserved by the author.
Reprinted with permission.