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About James Hollis
James Hollis has a private analytic practice and is the executive director of the Jung Educational Center.
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James Hollis, Ph.D. is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in Washington, DC. Originally a Professor of Humanities, he is the former Director of the Houston Jung Center and the Washington, D.C. Jung Society. He is Vice-President emeritus of the Philemon Foundation, author of seventeen books, and a frequent public speaker. He lives with his wife Jill, a retired therapist and painter, and together they have three living children.
How do you define “growing up”? Does it mean you achieve certain cultural benchmarks—a steady income, paying taxes, marriage, and children? Or does it mean leaving behind the expectations of others and growing into the person you were meant to be? If you find yourself in a career, place, relationship, or crisis you never foresaw and that seems at odds with your beliefs about who you are, it means your soul is calling on you to reexamine your path.
With Living an Examined Life, James Hollis offers an essential guidebook for anyone at a crossroads in life Here this acclaimed author guides you through 21 areas for self-inquiry and growth—such as how to exorcise the ghosts of your past, when to choose meaning over happiness, how to construct a mature spirituality, and how to seize permission to be who you really are With his trademark eloquence and insight, Dr. Hollis offers a potent resource you’ll return to time and again to energize and inspire you on your journey to create a life of personal authority, integrity, and fulfillment.
How did we get to this crossroads in history? And will we make it through—individually and as a species? “We all assumed that learning, rationality, and good intentions would prove enough to bring us to the promised land,” says Dr. James Hollis. “But they haven’t and won’t. Yet what we also do not recognize sufficiently is that this human animal is equipped for survival. In time, as we have seen of life’s other insolubles, we grow large enough to contain what threatened to destroy us.”
Dr. Hollis’s readers know him as a penetrating thinker who brings profound insight and sophistication to the inner journey. In Living Between Worlds, he broadens his lens to encompass the relationship between our inner struggles and the rapidly shifting realities of modern human existence. You will learn to invoke the tools of depth psychology, classical literature, philosophy, dream work, and myth to gain access to the resources that supported our ancestors through their darkest hours. Through these paths of inner exploration, you will access your “locus of knowing”—an inner wellspring of deep resilience beyond the ego, always available to guide you back to the imperatives of your soul.
Though many of the challenges of our times are unique, the path through for us, personally and collectively, will always rely on our measureless capacity for creativity, wisdom, and connection to a reality larger than ourselves. Here you will find no easy answers or pat reassurances. Yet within the pages of Living Between Worlds, you will encounter causes for hope. “We can find what supports us when nothing supports us,” Hollis teaches. “By bearing the unbearable, we go through the desert to arrive at a nurturing oasis we did not know was there.”
Why are we here? What is the meaning of existence? What truly matters the most in life? To even begin to answer these questions, we must start by exploring our own internal ideals, values, and beliefs. Presenting the unique perspective of respected analyst and author James Hollis, Ph.D., What Matters Most helps readers learn to appreciate (even be amazed by) events unfolding within, even as the external world creates constant struggles.
Taking a fresh look at the concept of happiness, Hollis uses a warm, accessible tone to encourage readers to learn to tolerate ambiguity, embrace growth rather than security, respect the power of Eros, engage spiritual crises, and acknowledge the shadow of mortality. Providing inspiring wisdom and personal reflections to address our deepest worries, What Matters Most yields far more than mere self-help clichés. Instead, Hollis guides readers in uncovering the heart of the matter, discovering what it means to truly live life to its fullest, most meaningful state—as fully engaged citizens of the world.
How is it that good people do bad things? Why is our personal story and our societal history so bloody, so repetitive, so injurious to self and others?
How do we make sense of the discrepancies between who we think we are—or who we show to the outside world—versus our everyday behaviors? Why are otherwise ordinary people driven to addictions and compulsions, whether alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, infidelity, or the Internet? Why are interpersonal relationships so often filled with strife?
Exploring Jung’s concept of the Shadow—the unconscious parts of our self that contradict the image of the self we hope to project--Why Good People Do Bad Things guides you through all the ways in which many of our seemingly unexplainable behaviors are manifestations of the Shadow. In addition to its presence in our personal lives, Hollis looks at the larger picture of the Shadow at work in our culture—from organized religion to the suffering and injustice that abounds in our modern world. Accepting and examining the Shadow as part of one’s self, Hollis suggests, is the first step toward wholeness. Revealing a new way of understanding our darker selves, Hollis offers wisdom to help you to acquire a more conscious conduct of your life and bring a new level of awareness to your daily actions and choices.
In The Archetypal Imagination, Hollis offers a lyrical Jungian appreciation of the archetypal imagination. He argues that without the human mind’s ability to form energy-filled images that link us to worlds beyond our rational and emotional capacities, we would have neither culture nor spirituality. Drawing upon the work of poets and philosophers, Hollis shows the importance of depth experience, meaning, and connection to an other” world. Just as humans have instincts for biological survival and social interaction, we have instincts for spiritual connection as well. Just as our physical and social needs seek satisfaction, so the spiritual instincts of the human animal are expressed in images we form to evoke an emotional or spiritual response, as in our dreams, myths, and religious traditions.
The author draws upon the work of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies to elucidate the archetypal imagination in literary forms. To underscore the importance of incarnating depth experience, he also examines a series of paintings by Nancy Witt.
With the power of the archetypal imagination available to all of us, we are invited to summon courage to take on the world anew, to relinquish outmoded identities and defenses, and to risk a radical re-imagining of the larger possibilities of the world and of the self.
Are we here just to propagate the species anew?
Do any of us really believe that we are here to make money and then die?
Does life matter, in the end, and if so, how, and in what fashion?
What guiding intelligence weaves the threads of our individual biographies?
What hauntings of the invisible world invigorate, animate, and direct the multiple narratives of daily life?
In Hauntings, James Hollis considers one’s transformation through the invisible world—how we are all governed by the presence of invisible forms—spirits, ghosts, ancestral and parental influences, inner voices, dreams, impulses, untold stories, complexes, synchronicities, and mysteries—which move through us, and through history. He offers a way to understand them psychologically, examining the persistence of the past in influencing our present, conscious lives and noting that engagement with mystery is what life asks of each of us. From such engagements, a deeper, more thoughtful, more considered life may come.
"James Hollis is the most lucid thinker I know about the complexities and complexes that interfere with living a full life. . . . He is one of our great teachers and healers.—Stephen Dunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
James Hollis, PhD, is a co-founder of the C. G. Jung Institute of Philadelphia and Saybrook University’s Jungian Studies program, director emeritus of the Jung Center of Houston, vice president emeritus of the Philemon Foundation, and an adjunct professor at Saybrook University and Pacifica Graduate Institute. He resides in Houston, Texas, where he conducts an analytic practice.