I’ve been asked, “How can I get better alignment or communication between my conscious and unconscious. How can I listen to and be more in alignment with my unconscious or deeper self”? Great question!
Cognitive Psychology suggests that we are never able to access all the workings of our mind. None-the-less, this is an important question because much research demonstrates that our responses and behaviours are made at an unconscious level and then after the behaviour is expressed we back up and justify it at a conscious level (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscious_mind http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroop_effect http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/decision-making-in-the-brain/).
Said simply, we get the results of what is going on in our unconscious mind, even if we don’t like the results, and even though we fight against unwanted behaviour and responses without much success.
Conversely, there is much evidence to support that fact that we know what’s best at an unconsciously level and it is not trusting that that causes our distress and problems.
So how can we check and pay attention to the content of the unconscious mind?
I don’t want to get too technical here, so keeping it simple, we can either occupy or still the conscious mind and then some aspects of unconscious processing become more available to us. So, the answer lies in paying attention, being more aware of what is happening internally.
A simple technique I use for occupying the mind is layering awareness of the senses in consciousness.
Here is an example, in the first layer of awareness, I notice something physical like the weight of my body, the sounds outside the room and the light quality in the room. Layer 2, I add a second physical awareness like my breathing and a second sound like the sounds in the rooms and then I close my eyes and notice the light through my eye lids. The 3rd layer I add the awareness of my heart beat and listen to the sounds inside my body and suggest that I can watch on the inside. By this time to conscious mind is still and I have brought my awareness to my experience at a deeper level. Then I ask myself a question or give myself a helpful suggestion and then quietly pay attention.
Another strategy to increase awareness is simple to pay attention to each of the senses in turn. I check my experience physically, auditory and visually. I don’t always do it in a set order, but pay attention to what come to my awareness first. If it is physically that I first become aware, I check; what are my muscles doing? What is my breathing like? What is my posture like? What does my torso feel like? Then I might check my auditory experience: what can I hear inside my head? Am I saying anything? What is the tone? Where is the sound located? Or I check what I am seeing in my mind’s eye: what is the picture? Where is it? How close or far away is it inside my mind?
If you know NLP, you’ll recognise that I’m describing how to do a ‘self-edit’ by checking the ‘submodalities’.
Awareness is the first step in change. So if are having an experience you want to change, now being aware of what you are currently doing you have rich information about what you can change, don’t you.
How will you use this? and what do you anticipate will be different?