Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali (Research in Analytical Psychology and Jungian Studies) by Leanne Whitney

The East-West dialogue increasingly seeks to compare and clarify contrasting views on the nature of consciousness. For the Eastern liberatory models, where a nondual view of consciousness is primary, the challenge lies in articulating how consciousness and the manifold contents of consciousness are singular. Western empirical science, on the other hand, must provide a convincing account of how consciousness arises from matter. By placing the theories of Jung and Patañjali in dialogue with one another, Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali illuminates significant differences between dual and nondual psychological theory and teases apart the essential discernments that theoreticians must make between epistemic states and ontic beliefs.

Patañjali’s Classical Yoga, one of the six orthodox Hindu philosophies, is a classic of Eastern and world thought. Patañjali teaches that notions of a separate egoic “I” are little more than forms of mistaken identity that we experience in our attempts to take ownership of consciousness. Carl Jung’s depth psychology, which remains deeply influential to psychologists, religious scholars, and artists alike, argues that ego-consciousness developed out of the unconscious over the course of evolution. By exploring the work of key theoreticians from both schools of thought, particularly those whose ideas are derived from an integration of theory and practice, Whitney explores the extent to which the seemingly irremediable split between Jung and Patañjali’s ontological beliefs can in fact be reconciled.

This thorough and insightful work will be essential reading for academics, theoreticians, and postgraduate students in the fields of psychology, philosophy of science, and consciousness studies. It will also appeal to those interested in the East–West psychological and philosophical dialogue.

Dr. Leanne Whitney is an independent scholar in the fields of depth psychology and consciousness studies. She specializes in the intersection of Western psychology and the Eastern liberatory traditions. In addition to Consciousness in Jung and Patañjali she has published several academic papers. Dr. Whitney works as a transformational coach both online and in person, with her private practice located in Los Angeles, California. She earned her MA in statistics from the University of St. Andrews and her PhD in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. For more information, visit leannewhitney.com.


Consciousness in Jung and Patanjali with Leanne Whitney

Leanne Whitney, PhD, is author of Consciousness in Jung and Patanjali. She is a transformational coach and also teaches yoga philosophy to yoga teachers.

Here she compares the western, depth psychology of Carl G. Jung with the yoga tradition of India, as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. She notes that Jung never accepted the eastern ideal that spiritual enlightenment could free one from mental suffering. Nor did Jungian theory address the concept of pure consciousness that is central to yoga philosophy. While Jung was fascinated with eastern wisdom, he ultimately felt that the western alchemical tradition offered greater insights into the human psyche.

New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is author of The Roots of Consciousness. He is also a past vice-president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology; and is the recipient of the Pathfinder Award from that Association for his contributions to the field of human consciousness exploration.

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