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
conscious mind and unconscious mind have an active relationship.
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
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
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
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.
for exploring the unconscious mind.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Dreams. In dreams, we see many elements from the unconscious
mind, in symbolic forms.