The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The conscious mind

Had a chance to speak to an old friend of mine, who, just a couple of years ago, didn't believe that the subconscious mind really existed.  It was all conscious to her.  Now she believes it exists, but that the conscious is still the part that must be enlisted in order to make change. Not surprisingly, this friend (Call her Maddy) is a hundred pounds overweight, and has fluctuated wildly--from very skinny to very fat, with only the briefest stops in between.  She has a long-term relationship which seems loving and supportive--although they don't exactly live together.  Fine.  And she is knowledgeable and canny about career things.  Again, Fine.  But that weight is clear that she is dealing with major emoitonal issues there, issues that try to defend themselves by sending her down the wrong track. She can't meditate--will fall asleep if she tries.   This is a person with an extreme internal conflict, a set of unconscious values and beliefs that demand that she never find her physical balance--she can go to one extreme or the other, but that's it.
the sad thing is that she's so smart, but doesn't grasp that we are all just exactly smart enough to screw ourselves over. 
My view is that the best thing the conscious mind can do is put us where the subconscious can be properly accessed: meditation, yoga, therapy, hypnosis, etc.--and then get the hell out of the way.  The truth is that change happens all the time without conscious awareness, in both a positive and a negative sense.  We can have the best CONSCIOUS intentions in the world to stop smoking, cheating, to do our bills, to exercise, to diet, etc.  Notice how often our conscious intentions fall flat?  It is only when the "boys in the basement" are along for the ride that things start happening.  Then, one day we wake up and notice we've lost weight, or are in a relationship, or are making money, or have finished that book.  And sometimes we don't notice it until someone else tells us "wow!  You've lost weight!  You're sparring much better!  This story is much more honest!"  Sometimes we don't hear that for years.  Sometimes we never do.
the conscious mind thinks its us. It is not. It is small, and relatively weak, and desperately wants to be in control.  When we try to put it in control, it veers all over the road like a 5-year old trying to drive a truck. This lady is always trying to help others, including help them in arenas where she herself is stuck!  That, my friends, is the blind leading the blind.  You can only help people get where you yourself have been, no matter how smart you are, or how positive your intentions.  If you're stuck, you'll always give them the advice that you yourself are ready to hear.  And you'll stay stuck together.

1 comment:

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