When thinking about the word “depth,” it is hard to imagine what it really means. I naturally think of water (the distance below the surface), a drawer (distance between front and back), maybe a jungle (distance to the most remote part), or maybe even art (depth of color or three dimensional forms). When it comes to the individual, depth become harder to envision. What is the quality of being deep? Is it experiences layered with experiences layered with even more experiences? Is it a profound or intense state of feeling, as in the depth of misery?
What life could be lived, or experiences gained, without self? It is another word that is hard to imagine. Self is the core of our being, the essence of what makes us home in our body. But when I imagine it, it’s seems as endless as an oil shaft, like our center core is unlimited. There is no single image that identifies it. One women I saw in therapy said that she had lost her self, and was grieving that loss. She no longer acted in a way that felt authentic to who she was. Whew! Right?
Psychology is the study of the Psyche. Modern Psychology can help us understand more about that “self”. With Depth Psychology, we learned that the psyche is more than a conscious mind, it had depth, illuminations which are not visible, the unconscious. Carl Jung (picture to left) believed that there were aspects of our psyche that were common to us all. These aspects include images, dreams, the spiritual (soul), art, philosophy, and the para-nornormal. Jung did his doctoral research on the Occult, and studied a fifteen-year-old medium. I believe that these ingredients are also important to what make up the “depth” in all of us, the authentic self.
When exploring the characters in your life, as well as your books, or maybe even yourself, probe the most important facets of that character: spiritually, emotionally, their dreams, their fantasies (which few share), their real and imagined desires. That’s what I do to get that added dimension. That way I feel as though I’m not writing about their lives, but of their lives.