Lesson 6 - The Unconscious
Does the unconscious exist?
The question of time
Time is necessary for the notion of becoming, and time is necessary for the idea of past and future; in other words, it is a necessary part of a world that allows for an ego. This is maybe what is mirrored in the Myth about the expulsion from paradise?
True higher consciousness is an experience of being everywhere at once, to know all ones lives at once in everyday language, to see the world as a now, without the concept of time and spatial separation
There is nothing that is not known,
there is no unconscious.
If we speak from our everyday experiences, an unconscious aspect is obvious. Most people would for example not readily recall what they ate for dinner for example 669 days ago.
That this type of maybe even seemingly unimportant events, on the other hand is not forgotten, is in fact stored somewhere normally inaccessible for the consciousness, is proven by modern brain surgery. This type of surgery is for safety reasons done under local anaesthesia. Studies of what people can recall as a result of electro-stimulation of the brain, during such surgery, shows that long forgotten, often unimportant memories come up, when certain parts of the brain is stimulated.
and the collective unconscious
A NEW CONCEPT OF MEMORY
When we consider memory, this hypothesis [Morphic Resonance] leads to a very different approach from the traditional one. The key concept of Morphic Resonance is that similar things influence similar things across both space and time. The amount of influence depends on the degree of similarity. Most organisms are more similar to themselves in the past than they are to any other organism. I am more like me five minutes ago than I am like any of you; all of us are more like ourselves in the past than like anyone else. The same is true of any organism. This self-resonance with past states of the same organism in the realm of form helps to stabilize the morphogenetic fields, to stabilize the form of the organism, even though the chemical constituents in the cells are turning over and changing. Habitual patterns of behaviour are also tuned into by the self-resonance process. […]. If this hypothesis is correct, it is not necessary to assume that memories are stored inside the brain.
Edited from Rupert Sheldrake article on the internet: http://www.sheldrake.org/
Everything that does not come from integrity
In higher consciousness there is no unconscious, in ego consciousness,
there is a lot of unconsciousness.
This has practical implications, because a conclusion is that just recalling past traumas etc is in fact not necessarily a good thing, they have never ceased to affect us. What is needed is an integrity and maturity that allows us to face these events squarely, without being swallowed by the attitudes to life they harboured. (because dad did not love me, I am not lovable).
This thus leads to a good working definition of what the unconscious is: Everything that does not come from integrity
Not coming from integrity, means that we do a bad job at helping or integrating what needs to be helped or integrated, but there are more subtle risks
There are two main ways we can be polluted, by psychic attack, which is an energy or thought form directed towards us with negative intent, and tramp souls.
Yogananda writes: The Astral world (with its various higher and lower vibratory realms) contains many beings who are good, many who are ordinary, and many who are bad; just as on earth we find all degrees of goodness and badness among human creatures. The person who indiscriminately opens his Mind to receive whatever messages may come to him through spirits is not able to tell what sort of contact he is making in the astral spheres; and by becoming receptive to any astral vibration he runs the risk of coming into bad company. He may also become engrossed with phenomena on the lower astral worlds and thus fail to make any spiritual progress toward the only desirable goal: inner illumination, salvation. […] When the Mind is kept blank, any tramp soul may get in and possess that hapless individual. These tramp souls are roaming through the ether by the millions. They are seeking rebirth, but because of bad karma they are unable to incarnate as soon as they desire; hence they are continually looking for some foolishly passive mentality so that they can use that human being’s flesh and minds to satisfy their wish for physical embodiment. They can very quickly get into a Mind that is permitted to become blank. If a person is weak or negative, then during any attempt to contact departed spirits, such as at a seance, he may easily become the victim of a tramp soul. Such possession deranges the subconscious Mind.
Paramahansa Yogananda: The Bhagavad Gita p 992
Jung’s model of the psyche
A diagram used by Jung’s famous pupil, Marie-Louise von Franz to illustrate the hierarchical structure of the unconscious.
(A): The outermost small circles represent the ego consciousness of human beings.
(B): The deeper layers depict the spheres of the personal unconscious discovered by Freud.
(C): Below lie the domains of the group unconscious of families, groups, clans, and tribes
(D): Further the large spheres of the common unconscious of wide national units that share important mythological motifs, such as the Australian Aborigines or South American Indians
(E): Finally, the central area constitutes the universal pool of archetypal structures shared by all of humanity.
The personal subconscious with its personal history and traumas
the collective unconscious With Animus - anima the masculine aspect of woman and the feminine aspect of men
Shadow: aspects of what we do not face
Guardian: the sum of what we do not face
Persona: The roles, facades, and masks that we identify with.
Archetypes: The basic collective thought forms that are a blueprint for the other layers of our psyche. Examples: The zodiac, the wise man, magna mater…
Stanislav Grof operates with
3 categories in the human psyche
The Biographical layer
Our personal history and our personal unconsciousness.
The Perinatal layer
The encounter with birth and death, as they occur in the birth-trauma.
The Transpersonal layer
The consciousness expanded beyond the usual ego boundaries,
beyond the usual orientation in time and space.
Stanislav Grof’s description of the organisation of memory
in the human consciousness
SYSTEMS OF CONDENSED EXPERIENCE
A COEX system is a dynamic constellation of memories (and associated fantasy material) from different periods of the individual’s life, with the common denominator of a strong emotional charge of the same quality, intense physical sensation of the same kind, or the fact that they share some other important elements.
Grof, Beyond the Brain p.97
The COEX systems represent a general organising principle operating
on all levels of the psyche.
Now (connected to) Earlier similar event (connected to) Earlier similar event (connected to) Earlier similar event (connected to) (etc) (connected to) Birth (connected to) Myth (connected to) Past life…
It is not uncommon for a dynamic constellation (COEX system) to comprise material from several biographical periods, from biological birth and from certain areas of the transpersonal realm, such as past incarnation memories, animal identification, and mythological sequences.
Grof: Beyond the Brain p.97
The COEX system may not uncover in the linear time order.
In order to work with the unconscious
we do not need to go further than the body
A habit pattern
To live, move and have one’s being within an attitude
"An individual experiencing temporary fear, grief or Anger, all too often carries his body in an attitude of that muscular emotion. If he persists in this dramatisation or consistently re-establishes it, thus forming what is ordinarily referred to as a "habit pattern", the muscular arrangement becomes set.
Materially speaking, some muscles shorten and thicken, others are invaded by connective tissue, still others become immobilised by consolidation of the tissue involved. Once this has happened, the physical attitude is invariable; it is involuntary; it can no longer be changed basically by taking thought or even mental suggestion. *
Now what the individual feels is no longer an emotion, a response to an immediate situation; henceforth he lives, moves and has his being in an attitude."
Dr. Ida Rolf: "Structural Integration" (Here from "Bodymind")
Stanley Keleman has drawn this person
The belts illustrate the typical organization of muscular armour.
Among other things this figure shows an amazing correlation with the chakras.
The figure also illustrate, that the unconscious is a hide and seek game; the person exhibits his own history.
From Keleman: Emotional anatomy p.77
An important exception from the emphasis on the unconscious
is in Gestalt therapy
Perls rejected any notion of an unconscious Mind, preferring to think of the personality as a rubber ball floating and turning in the water, so that only one portion is visible at a time. The Gestalt therapist works with the portion that is visible in the context of the moment.
So instead of trying to trace a symptom back to some childhood trauma, as is done for example in psychoanalysis, he always asks the person what it is doing for him in the here and now.
Dr. Ann Faraday: Dream Power p.143 ff