Dealing with the unconscious

My further reading in cognitive neuroscience gave me a picture last night of two ways to relate to our unconscious minds. We can work against or work with the mind we cannot know. Both approaches are valuable. There is no problem to solve here -- only cognitive dynamics and learning curves to comprehend.

Our unconscious minds are sources of uncontrollable urges. We act out our baggage of unresolved issues. We throw tantrums and make outrageous demands. We pout and give others the silent treatment. We erupt with out-of-character outbursts. We may become aggressive or self destructive. We are indulging in patterns that overtake us in order to survive amidst danger or succeed at other's expense.

At this stage in our development, it's time to work against the unconscious. We put a lid on our childish urges. We get a grip on our out-of-control passions. We gain the ability to look before we leap. As we work against the unconscious, we form an identity. We strengthen our ego to rise above our primitive urges and irrational energies. We begin to think rationally about what happened, to deliberate about our options and to decide on a best course of action.

We pay a high price as we go through this phase. We lose our spontaneity and playfulness. We suppress our creativity and intuition. We become rigid, intolerant and judgmental. We point fingers at others who remind us of our suppressed urges. We blame others for upsetting us when we're being our own worst enemy. We project our insecurities onto others and bully them. We fall for the intimidation tactics of those who can push our hot buttons. We live in danger of getting abused again.

To outgrow this phase, we get off our high horse, bite the dust and eat some humble pie. We realize others can be right too without making us wrong. We allow for many valid points of view and ways to see the same evidence. We see commonality in our enemies and trouble in too much agreement. We stop controlling others and find things work out for the better when we let go. This transition enables us to begin to work with the unconscious.

Our unconscious works with us when we work with it. When we stop being a know-it-all and ask it questions, wonderful answers come to mind. When we don't know what to do about a problem, enchanting solutions will come when we least expect them. When a dilemma has us befuddled, a paradox will dawn on our unsuspecting thought process. When our rational mind get overwhelmed by the complexity of the situation, our unconscious mind will serve up a simple path to follow.

When we're overwhelmed by the unconscious, we are a nobody. We become a somebody and work against the unconscious. We then lose our identity to join with everybody. The unconscious then works with our awakened sense of who we are together.

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