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The Unconscious Mind

Jump to the following topics:

  1. What is the unconscious mind?
  2. The conscious mind and unconscious mind have an active relationship.
  3. Techniques for exploring the unconscious mind.  

What is the unconscious mind? The unconscious mind is not a thing in itself; instead, it is simply the psychological processes (and the archetypal-field elements) of which we are not aware at any moment. The conscious mind is like a spotlight, illuminating something which we are pondering; by default, the unconscious mind is everything which is not in that spotlight. The "unconscious mind" is the same as the "subconscious mind"; the first term ("unconscious mind") is preferred by psychotherapists, while the second term ("subconscious mind') is preferred by writers of popular psychology.

The conscious mind and unconscious mind have an active relationship.

  1. The contents pass from one to the other, as the conscious mind's "spotlight" moves.
    • Items pass from the conscious mind to the unconscious mind.
      • We are aware of something, and then we are aware of something else. For example, we are looking at our computer; in the next moment, we are listening to the background music.
      • We are aware of something, and then we repress our awareness of it.
    • Items pass from the unconscious mind to the conscious mind.
      • We remember something which we had viewed previously. We "remember."
      • We acknowledge something which we had repressed.
      • We become aware of something for the first time. For example, we realize that we have talents which we had not recognized previously.

  2. They influence one another.
    • The conscious mind influences the unconscious mind. As we create thoughts and imagery and energy tones, this material is registered in the corresponding archetypal fields; when our attention moves to other subjects (i.e., when the conscious mind's "spotlight" shifts), we say that the material is now in the unconscious mind. Thus, we are continually generating the material which will constitute the unconscious mind.
    • The unconscious mind influences the conscious mind. While the material is in the unconscious (i.e., when the conscious mind's "spotlight" is focused on something else), that material affects us in various ways:
      • If affects us via the dynamic which is explained in the chapters regarding archetypal fields, archetypal field-work, and karma. Whenever we encounter an archetype, we leave a permanent record of the thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions which we created during that encounter. The record remains in what I call the "archetypal field" or "a-field." When we encounter that archetype again, we tend to "default" to the elements which have lingered in the a-field from previous encounters. Because this "default" is generally an act of habit and unconsciousness, we can say that it is the unconscious mind which is affecting us.
      • It offers new possibilities for the conscious mind. When the conscious mind becomes barren in its habits and ruts, the material of the unconscious mind provides new energy, perspectives, options, and creative inspiration. Indeed, the unconscious mind offers a well-spring of useful material. However, it also contains material which can be very disturbing. When we explore the unconscious mind, we will surely discover both the pleasant and the unpleasant -- and we do need to be careful, because the material can disturb our narrow definition of "who we are," our familiar habits of behavior, our plans, and our sense of morality and aesthetics and rationality and protocol.

Techniques for exploring the unconscious mind.  

  1. Archetypal field-work. Our unconscious mind is filled with the thoughts, images, energy tones, and behavioral habits which we created at an earlier time. With archetypal field-work, we intentionally create particular elements which will be productive when they are passed into the unconscious mind; there, those elements will serve as "defaults" which will be triggered when we re-enter those archetypal situations and we respond automatically rather than intuitively.
    • Self-talk. For example: "I enjoy exploring my mind." "I like to know about the various parts of myself." "I accept myself."
    • Directed imagination. We can create a dream-like "guided meditation" in which we explore a previously unknown part of ourselves, which we could represent as a forest or a cave.
    • Energy toning. We can cultivate the energy tones of curiosity (to explore new parts of ourselves), courage (to look at parts of us which are unknown), affection (toward the parts of us which we have rejected in prior experiences), etc.
    • The "as if" principle. We can use the "as if" principle to act out the new parts of us which we have discovered in our unconscious mind; for example, if we discover self-love, we then act "as if" we love ourselves. The "acting as if" helps to reinforce the newly realized part of us.
  2. Intuition.
    • Intuition can guide us in our exploration of the unconscious mind. For example, intuition can give us a positive perspective on elements which we have previously repressed; thus, we recognize their useful qualities, and we bring them out of repression and we start to employ them.
    • In our daily life (and in our archetypal field-work), intuition can guide us to create the particular elements which will serve us productively after they pass into the unconscious mind (where they will affect all subsequent encounters with these archetypes).
  3. Self-acceptance. Some elements in the unconscious mind are there because we have repressed them; we have refused to look at them. As we develop self-acceptance, we are free to "shine the spotlight" (i.e., view with the conscious mind) upon everything which is in the unconscious mind without shame, rejection, fear, or other unpleasant reactions which would cause us to avoid (i.e., repress) the material.
  4. Shadow-work. The shadow is not the same as the unconscious mind: the shadow is the traits which we do not claim as a part of our ego at any moment; we can be conscious of those shadow traits while choosing not to use them in our ego; for example, we can be aware of our anger while choosing not to express that anger. However, some traits are in both the shadow and the unconscious mind; i.e., they are not being expressed in the ego and they are not known to us; thus, when we examine our shadow, we discover many elements of the unconscious mind.
  5. Dreams. In dreams, we see many elements from the unconscious mind, in symbolic forms.

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