Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Let's call it the super-conscious

I'm always getting tripped up by terminology. We all know that there is more to us than the voice in our head that's always complaining about our inadequacies or daydreaming about just one sunny day on the beach without our smartphones.

The voice in our head is called consciousness. It's our running account of the way we want to impact the world versus the way the world is impacting us. It's also been called reason, and for a period of time, most of the western world assumed that reason represented our highest, best way of interacting with each other and the planet (and whatever you believe is beyond the planet).  Of course, there have always been dissenters who believed in faith or spirituality as a way of knowing and making decisions, but for the most part, we like to think that the familiar voice in our head is good at knowing what to do so that we can be more or less safe and happy.

Of course, we depend on a lot of awareness that never makes it into the voice in our head. Our bodies need to pretty much run themselves and we're a little vague about how reason helps us heal. We develop habits for almost everything we do and they run on autopilot. And that doesn't even touch on the way emotions bubble up and over and make a mess of the neat accounting of reason. Where is all that stuff that we're not thinking about at the moment until that moment when we need to remember it?

Some of you are shouting out "I know this one - it's the unconscious!" Others are shouting out "I know this one - you're talking about the subconscious!"

For many years, I believe that "unconscious" was the appropriate term. That's the one that comes from psychoanalysis.  It was supposed that reason was the "highest" order of thinking so that everything else must be under it. I guess that why unconscious became confused with subconscious and most people now use them interchangeably.  I like the idea that there is a bigger self underneath us that provides us with support and movement.

But we're not really an age that is all that keen on support. So I think maybe it's time to tell the truth about our whole selves and our whole minds and call the biggest part of ourselves our super-conscious. After all, it includes our memories, imaginations and bodies and all the reasoning we have ever done except the very small amount that it is uppermost in our thoughts at this very moment.

How would your sense of yourself change if you understood that you are the ordinary self you know and a super-self full of possibilities and capabilities and wisdom? That's you: a conscious mind and a super-conscious mind.


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