1st Edition

Fear and Primordial Trust From Becoming an Ego to Becoming Whole

    210 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Fear and Primordial Trust explores fear as an existential phenomenon and how it can be overcome. Illustrated by clinical examples from the author’s practice as a psychotherapist and spiritual caregiver working with the severely ill and dying, the book outline theoretical insights into how primordial trust and archaic fear unconsciously shape our personality and behaviour.

    This book discusses in detail how in our everyday world, we lack primordial trust. Nevertheless, all of us have internalized it: as experiences of another non-dual world, of being unconditionally accepted, then sheltered and nurtured. The book outlines how from a spiritual viewpoint, we come from the non-dual world and experience a transition by becoming an ego, thereby experiencing archaic fear. This book explains fear in terms of two challenges encountered in this transition: firstly, leaving the non-world world when everything changes and we feel forlorn. Secondly, on awakening in the ego when we feel dependent and overwhelmed by otherness. The book also helps readers to understand trust as the emotional and spiritual foundation of the human soul, as well as how fear shapes us and how it can be outgrown.

    The book makes the case that understanding fear and primordial trust improves care and helps us to better understand dying. It will be of interest to academics, scholars and students in the fields of psychiatry, counselling, psychotherapy and palliative care and to all those interested in understanding fear, trust and the healing potential of spiritual experiences.

    Chapters 1 and 3 of this book are freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license available at https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781003176572


    Table of contents

    List of figures and tables


    Chapter 1

      1.1 Humankind, an Explosive Concept

      1.2 Non-Dual Existence: Participating in the Whole

      1.3 Ego-bound Existence: Facing the World as Who We Are

      1.4 … and in between Lies a Formative Transition

      1.5. Liminal Sphere and Liminal Experiences

      1.6. We are Beings of Longing: Thinking in Terms of Psychic Layers

      1.7. Music and Music Therapy: Approaching the Deepest Psychic Layers

      1.8. Mirjam: "I don’t want to live—I don’t want to die—I want to be in paradise"

      1.9. "Participation in the Whole" and a Model of Conscious Realization (Overview 1)

      Chapter 2

      Our Beginning: Non-Dual, Unitary Reality (A Completely Different Way of Being)

      2.1. "Your core has existed since time immemorial"

      2.2. Everything is Inside and Accepted Unconditionally

      2.3. Original Wholeness: Primordial Order Instead of Chaos

      Chapter 3

      On the Threshold (Stage A of Conscious Development during Transition)

      3.1. Initiating the Dynamics

      3.2. Vanishing Non-Duality

      3.3. Mr Fehr : «I looked across the threshold—and many of my fears have since gone"

      3.4. Psychic Images and Symbols of Non-Dualism, its Disappearance and the Dynamics of Roundness

      3.5. Images of God for Non-Dualism and the Dynamics of Roundness

      3.6. Experiences of Music on the Threshold: Beyond Time and Individuality

      3.7. Primordial Trust, Primordial Intuitions of Happiness

      3.8. We are Born with the Gifts of Wholeness

      3.9. Bettina (1): Breaking through into Confidence

      3.10 We do not Always Manage to Bidding Farewell to Non-Dualism

      Chapter 4

      Wholesome Containment (Stage B of Conscious Development in Transition)

      4.1. Oscillating between the Two Modes of Being

      4.2. Primordial Shelteredness: Where Dependence on the Environment is not yet felt

      4.3. Experiencing Wholesome Containment through Music

      4.4. Older than all Power Problems: Wholeness as Nurturing Motherly Envelopment

      4.5. The Masculine within the Feminine: A Pictorial Analogy

      4.6. Goddess and Son, Grandmother and Undefiled Devil

      4.7. Announcing Sheltered Containment: Images of God

      4.8. Primordial Trust, the Early Form of Being Loved, and Psychic Images/Symbols

      4.9. Dying and Becoming: Deliverance from Evil by Returning to Good Motherliness

      4.10. Bettina (2): "I am lying on the Great Mother’s Love"

      4.11. "Called into Life"

      Chapter 5

      Ambivalent Containment (Stage C of Conscious Development during Transition)

      5.1. Unpleasantness versus Pleasantness

      5.2. How old is Fear?

      5.3. "Falling into "Unshelteredness" and the First Sense of Threat: The Two Faces of Primordial Fear

      5.4. Awakening Under the Sign of Curiosity or Fear?

      5.5. The Ambivalent Whole and The Overshadowed Feminine

      5.6. The Endangered Ego and Masculinity: Threatened Self-Esteem

      5.7. Atmosphere and "Music" Trigger Fear

      5.8. Experiences of Music: Fullness of Sound, Absence of Sound, Chaos

      5.9. What does Earliest Distress Feel like?

      5.10. Understanding the Phenomenon of Primordial Fear

      5.11. Inner Images and Symbols of Primordial Fear

      5.12. Later-Recurring Primordial Fear: Experiences and Victims of Violence

      5.13. Realistic Ambivalence versus Internalized Evil

      5.14. The Fascination of Power and Violence and its Opposite: Shame

      5.15. Primary Sense of Guilt and Guilt as a Coping Pattern

      5.16. Images of God: The Primordial Fear of God as Culture-Specific Imprinting

      5.17. From Paradise to Fall: A Myth or More?

      5.18. First Splittings: Inner Images and Symbols

      5.19. Bettina (3): The fire in the Dragon’s Mouth and its Impressive Eyes

      Chapter 6

      Entering the Ego: Primordial Trust and Primordial Fear Move into the Background (Level D of Conscious Development During Transition)

      6.1. The Ego Emerges: From the Whole to the Concrete

      6.2. Ego-formation between Detachment and Rapprochement

      6.3. Music-based Experience of Entering the Ego: Rhythm and Melody

      6.4. Childhood between Two Worlds

      6.5. Childhood between Two Fears

      6.6. The Birth of Culture

      6.7. Trust or Fear: Coping Patterns

      6.8. Inner Images for Entering the Ego; Symbols of the Primordial Force of Emergence

      6.9. The Symbol of the Snake

      6.10. Witch and Devil: Inner Images of the Cursed Primordial Forces in the Background

      6.11. Images of God from Coming into the Ego: On this Side of Frightening Numinosity

      6.12. The Individual Remains Fatefully Connected to the Whole

      6.13. Abraham: Becoming an Ego against a Life-Affirming Background

      Chapter 7

      Post-transition: The Ego and the Unconscious in the Dual World

      7.1. Ego and Distress-ego: Perspective, Music, Symbols

      7.2. Being our Own Lord and Master—Alienation

      7.3. Types of Fear

      7.4. Progressive and Regressive Forces

      7.5. Coping Patterns become Normal

      7.6. The Whole: A God who either Leads us to Self-Responsibility or is Dead—Images of God

      7.7. The Atmospherically Overshadowed

      7.8. The Topography of the Unconscious—Psychic Layers

      7.9. Working with the Model: Therapists, Pastors, Doctors, Nurses

      7.10. Coping Patterns as an Impasse

      7.11. Behind all Taboos Lies a Central Taboo: The Whole and its Immediacy

      Chapter 8

      From Becoming an Ego to Becoming Whole (Selectively Integrating the Wholly Other into this World)

      8.1. The Suffering Ego Once Again Turns to the Whole

      8.2. Primordial Fear is Relativized: The New Connection to the Whole

      8.3. Conscious Realization as Process: Finding Words and Speech via Music, Symptom, and Symbol

      8.4. Images of God in Suffering: The Missing, Afflicting, and Approaching God

      8.5. The Virgin: A Symbol of Openness toward the Whole

      8.6. Symbolic Announcements of the Future

      8.7. Experiencing Music under the Sign of Integration

      8.8. New Spirit in Old Reality: In the Aftermath of Near-Death, Illness, or Liminal Experience

      8.9. The Question of Meaning: Development in Wholeness?

      Chapter 9

      The Question about the Goal

      9.1. The Future—Beyond Fear

      9.2. The Non-Dual and Personal God: A New Spirituality

      9.3. Covenant and Relatedness—Symbols

      9.4. Eschatological Dreams


      Monika Renz is a psychotherapist, music therapist, and spiritual caregiver. She leads the psycho-oncology unit at a clinic of oncology/hematology, Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She is the author of several books and her research focuses on dying, spirituality, forgiveness and fear.

      "Monika Renz’s work is at the forefront of those thinkers who are outlining a new concept of humankind, a concept that is based on movement and on a connection with the cosmos while accounting for what makes us special as human beings. Her inspiration and certainty are rooted in a field that might be said to constitute "pure," unmistakable movement: music. Music can be grasped, yet not touched. Music, moreover, is perhaps the most recognized reality, which, although it is related to material structures, is not itself material. Experiences of music and music therapy form the basis for Dr Renz’s search for a new concept of the human being, a concept of our becoming, suffering, and healing. This basis has rested on experiences of music since antiquity. It is also highly relevant for our eventful times, which are characterized by upheaval and by a departure to both a new unity of the world and the associated dimension of our responsibility as humans and that of society."

      Prof. Dr. med. Heinz Stefan Herzka, Zurich


      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," Franklin D. Roosevelt observed in his inaugural speech as the 32nd President of the United States of America in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. What Roosevelt articulated as a political issue is also a fateful theme of being in the world, as Monika Renz impressively explains in her latest book Fear and Primordial Trust. Her approach, which is grounded in developmental psychology and in spirituality, assumes that a state exists before and beyond fear. She understands this condition as being connected with the One, the Whole — in religious terms, with God. And yet, she is not concerned with dogmatic reflection, but with experience, which each of us can make. Starting from being contained in the Whole, human development leads to limitations and separateness of our every-day consiousness, in which we live because we are an "I." In addition to primordial trust, in which we originate, we experience primordial fear already at an early age in becoming an ego. We take this fear with us, along with its problematic consequences, as we move through life, bearing our load. Yet development leads, if permitted, to maturation processes beyond life-determining fear, in perfect agreement with Richard Rohr’s words: "It is not necessary to be perfect but to be connected." By this, he means being connected to our roots in the Whole, in God. Dr Renz illustrates her reflections with examples and experiences from day-to-day hospital life. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to better understand the phenomenon of fear."

      Prof. Dr. theol. Paul M. Zulehner, Vienna

      ‘A hugely significant contribution to our understanding of psychospiritual development in terms of the dynamics of fear and trust and the process of maturation through suffering and ultimately the dying process. Just as the ego unfolds and differentiates itself from the nondual ground or whole, so we have an inherent longing to reunite with and refold into this same Divine Unity - an illuminating read at many levels.'

      David Lorimer, Programme Director, Editor, Paradigm Explorer