THAT PESKY UNCONSCIOUS –
it’s been running my life & I didn’t even know it!
PREVIOUS: INFO & the BRAIN (#1)
1. THINKING (cont)
a. The UNCONSCIOUS (2. Emotions in Part 4)
b. The CONSCIOUS mind is abstract, creative & aware, about such things as —
— thinking about what we’ve heard, seen or written
— what is intelligent & purposeful (having choices)
It doesn’t know what’s in the unconscious & doesn’t even want to acknowledge it, because it considers it too ‘simple & concrete’. In spite of that ‘prejudice’, our conscious part only has about 15% control over forming experiences, while the subconscious is in charge of the other 85%, as the result of conditioning!
In general, Thoughts are latent but measurable forms of electro-magnetic energy, an important natural activity we produce! Changes in thoughts change our biochemistry, hormones & brainwave patterns. Thoughts vibrate at different rates of oscillation, spreading out from the body like pond ripples. The speed & distance they travel depend on the frequency that generated them, so the way we think definitely has an effect on our environment
• Negative Thinking (CDs) assumes only difficulties & failures. It make us feel bad & decreases brain function, creating the same physical responses that any actual physical experience which would trigger anger or fear (blood pressure rise, cold sweats, hand tremors & flushed face, light-headedness & muscle weakness, rapid heart beat, shallow breathing, stomach knots….)
Thoughts are stored:
i. EITHER by mechanical repetition (like hours of reciting multiplication tables, practicing musical scales, rote prayers….)
ii. OR by pairing a thought or experience with an intense emotion.
When emotions connected to an event are too intense (painful), the whole thing will be repressed, especially if the distress is long-term or particularly traumatic, like most of our childhood, an abusive marriage, a severe illness….
✓ Think of your very earliest memory. Whether it was a pleasant event or not, it was anchored in your mind by a strong feeling!
• Any often-repeated thought becomes so automatic that after a while we don’t even notice it. It’s now unconscious, out of awareness, but like Google, a complete record of our life.
It includes all our experiences & emotions: disappointments, delights, habits, joys, losses, pleasures, successes, traumas….. PLUS a collection of ‘beliefs & perceptions’. It’s all there – waiting to be discovered!
EXP: Growing up you were neglected & abused at home & bullied at school, with no one to protect or defend you. Now, any time you consider attending a group – no matter how innocuous – you have palpitations.
You think it’s only because you’re an Introvert & shy, but it’s more likely to be from unconscious CDs formed by early stresses – like Over-generalizing, Disqualifying the Positive, Unrealistic Comparisons, Projection….
Hidden : even though information is out of our awareness, continual thinking is still going on. When an emotionally upset ACoAs is asked: “What are you thinking or believing about this situation?”, most will answer : “I’m not”, or “I don’t know”, insisting they’re ‘just upset’
• Strong emotional reactions are always driven by automatic thoughts. With some encouragement & digging, the harmful thinking can be uncovered:
— coming from self-hate beating us down
— repeating insensitive or cruel things others have said to us
— projecting dire outcomes about something….
Automatic thinking can be either helpful or harmful:
• as a +, it makes it easier to respond to life’s many tasks & situations without having to stop each time to figure them out – whether driving a car, doing our job, or raising children
• as a -, it causes problems when there’s flawed reasoning in the unconscious. Since we’re not aware of what we’re ‘saying’ to ourselves, we don’t know it is creating the emotional pain (anxiety, hopelessness, rage, unbearable loneliness….)
Instead, we blame the distress on something in our environment, which is only a trigger
EXP: 2 people are called in to see the boss. One goes in calmly, curious but confident. The other becomes more & more agitated while waiting his turn. The difference is not the upcoming ‘talk’ but what each person is automatically, unconsciously thinking / believing about what’s going to happen.
NEXT: CDs & the UNCONSCIOUS (Part 2)