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Periodically, I come across a word that hits so squarely on a crucial concept related to the mind, psychological development and mental/spiritual health that it sends me running to my computer to archive it. Here are a few I've come across, what they mean, and where I found them:

  • Enantiodromia - I first encountered this term on page 90 of Anthony Stevens' book, The Two Million-Year-Old Self. Stevens writes, "Perhaps those of us who are drawn into the caring professions are driven by a collective enantiodromia - a compensatory attempt to make good what has been lost." Hearing this usage of the word gave a name to a concept I have found prevalent among people in the helping professions and activists, including myself, who seek to heal other people, society or the world in order to recover something they feel has been lost in their lives, the lives of humanity or in the universe.

    In fact, the term was popularized by Carl Jung, who in turn credits Heraclitus. It means literally, 'running counter to' and describes the principle that everything has an intrinsic tendency to turn into its opposite.

  • Nirdvandva - This is a Sanskrit word that I first encountered on page 154 in Carl Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. It means "freedom from opposites". In other words, a state in which a person has reconciled and moved beyond the constant tug between love and hate, joy and sorrow, etc.

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