I quite realize that many of my statements will contradict the beliefs of those of you who accept the idea that the conscious mind is relatively powerless, and that the answers to problems lie hidden beneath.
Obviously the conscious mind is a phenomenon, not a thing. It is ever-changing. It can be concentrated or turned by the ego in literally endless directions. It can view outward reality or turn inward, observing its own contents.
There are gradations and fluctuations within its activity. It is far more flexible than you give it credit for. The ego can use the conscious mind almost entirely as a way of perceiving external or internal realities that coincide with its own beliefs. It is not that certain answers do not lie openly accessible, therefore, but that often you have set yourself on a course of action in which you believe, and you do not want to open yourself to any material that may contradict your current beliefs.
If you are sick, for example, there is a reason. To recover thoroughly without taking on new symptoms, you must discover the reason. You may dislike your illness, but it is a course you have decided upon. While you are convinced that the course is necessary you will keep the symptoms.
Now these may be the result of one specific belief, or caused by a complex of beliefs held together.
The beliefs of course will be accepted by you not as beliefs, but as reality. Once you understand that you form your reality, then you must begin to examine these beliefs by letting the conscious mind freely examine its own contents.
We will speak about health and illness more specifically later in the book. I would like to make one point here, however – that often psychoanalysis is simply a game of hide-and-seek, in which you continue to relinquish responsibility for your actions and reality and assign the basic cause to some area of the psyche, hidden in a dark forest of the past. Then you give yourself the task of finding this secret. In so doing you never think of looking for it in the conscious mind, since you are convinced that all deep answers lie far beneath – and, moreover, that your consciousness is not only unable to help you but will often send up camouflages instead. So you play the game.
When and if you manage to change your beliefs in that self-deceptive framework, then any suitable “forgotten” event from the past will be used as a catalyst. One would do as well as another.
The basic beliefs however were always in your conscious mind, and the reasons for your behavior. You simply had not examined its contents with the realization that your beliefs were not necessarily reality, but often your conceptions of it.
At the same time, in psychoanalysis you are often programmed to believe that the “unconscious”, being the source of such dark secrets, cannot be counted upon as any bed of creativity or inspiration, and so you are denied the help that the inner portions of the self could give to your consciousness.
Usually when you do examine your conscious mind you do so looking through, or with, your own structured beliefs. The knowledge that your beliefs are not necessarily reality will allow you to be aware of all the data that is consciously available to you. I am not telling you to examine your thoughts so frequently and with such vigor that you get in your own way, but you are not fully conscious unless you are aware of the contents of your conscious mind. I am also emphasizing the fact that the conscious mind is equipped to receive information from the inner self as well as the exterior universe.
I am not telling you to inhibit thoughts or feelings. I am asking that you become aware of those you have. Realize that they form your reality. Concentrate upon those that give you the results that you want.
If you find all of this difficult, you can also examine your physical reality in all of its aspects. Realize that your physical experience and environment is the materialization of your beliefs. If you find great exuberance, health, effective work, abundance, smiles on the faces of those you meet, then take it for granted that your beliefs are beneficial. If you see a world that is good, people that like you, take it for granted, again, that your beliefs are beneficial. But if you find poor health, a lack of meaningful work, a lack of abundance, a world of sorrow and evil, then assume that your beliefs are faulty and begin examining them.
We will later discuss the nature of mass reality, but for now we are dwelling upon the personal aspects. The main point I wanted to make in this chapter was that your conscious beliefs are extremely important, and that you are not at the mercy of events or causes that dwell far beneath your awareness.
Ideas have an electromagnetic reality. Belies are strong ideas about the nature of reality. Ideas generate emotion. Like attracts like, so similar ideas group about each other and you accept those that fit in with your particular “system” of ideas.
The ego attempts to maintain a clear point of focus, of stability, so that it can direct the light of the conscious mind with some precision and concentrate its focus in areas of actuality that seem permanent. As mentioned (in Chapter One), the ego, while a portion of the whole self, can be defined as a psychological “structure”, composed of characteristics belonging to the personality as a whole, organized together to form a surface identity.
Now generally speaking, through the period of a lifetime, this allows for the easy emergence of many tendencies and abilities. It permits many more potentials to emerge than would otherwise be possible. If this were not the case, for example, your interests throughout life would not change.
The ego, while appearing to be permanent, then, forever changes as it adapts to new characteristics from the whole self, and lets others recede. Otherwise it would not be responsive to the needs and desires of the entire personality.
Because it is intimately connected with other portions of the self it does not basically feel alienated or alone, but proudly acts as the director of the conscious mind’s focus. It is an adjunct of the conscious mind in that respect.
Basically it understands its source and its nature. It is the portion of the mind, then, that looks out upon the physical reality and surveys it in relation to those characteristics of which it is composed at any given time. It makes its judgments according to its own idea of itself.
It is the most physically oriented portion of your inner self; but it is not, however, apart from your inner self. It sits on the window sill, so to speak, between you and the exterior world. It can also look in both directions. It makes judgments about the nature of reality in relationship to its and your needs. It accepts or does not accept beliefs. It cannot shut out information from your conscious mind, however – but it can refuse to pay attention to it.
This does not mean that the information becomes unconscious. It is simply thrown into a corner of your mind, unassimilated, and not organized into the parcel of beliefs upon which you are presently concentrating. It is there if you look for it.
It is not invisible, nor do you have to know exactly what you are looking for, which of course would make the situation nearly impossible. All you have to do is decide to examine the contents of your conscious mind, realizing that it contains the treasures that you have overlooked.
Another way to do this is to recognize through examination that the physical effects you meet exist as data in your conscious mind – and the information that formerly seemed unavailable will be obvious. The seemingly invisible ideas that cause your difficulties have quite obvious visible physical effects, and these will lead you automatically to the conscious area in which the initiating beliefs or ideas reside.
Once more, if you become aware of your own conscious thoughts, these themselves will give you clues for they clearly speak your beliefs. If, for example, you have scarcely enough money on which to live, and you examine your thoughts, you may find yourself constantly thinking, “I can never pay this bill, I never have any luck, I’ll always be poor.” Or you will find yourself envying those who have more, degrading the value of money perhaps, and saying that those who have it are unhappy, or at best spiritually poor.
When you find these thoughts in yourself you may say, and rather indignantly: “But those things are all true. I am poor. I cannot meet my bills”, and so forth. In so doing, you see, you accept your belief about reality as a characteristic of reality itself, and so the belief is transparent or invisible to you. But it causes your physical experience.
You must change the belief. I will give you methods to allow you to do this. You may follow your thoughts in another area, and find yourself thinking that you are having difficulty because you are too sensitive. Finding the thought you may say, “But it is true; I am. I react with such great emotion to small things.” But that is a belief, and a limiting one.
If you follow your thoughts further you may find yourself thinking, “I am proud of my sensitivity. It sets me apart from the mob,” or, “I am too good for this world.” These are limiting beliefs. They will distort true reality – your own true reality.
These are but a few samples of the ways in which your own quite conscious ideas may be invisible to you while being available all the time, and limiting your experience.
Now we have been speaking of the conscious mind, for it is the director of your activities physically. I told you that it was important to realize the ego’s position as the most “exterior” portion of the inner self, not alienated but looking outward to physical reality. Using this analogy, portions of the self on the other side of the conscious mind constantly receive telepathic data. Remember, there are no divisions, so the terms used are simply to make the discussion easier.
The ego tries to organize all material coming into the conscious mind, for its purposes – the ego’s – are those that have come to the surface at any given time in the self’s overall encounter with physical reality. As I said, the ego cannot keep information out of the conscious mind but it can refuse to focus directly upon it.
The telepathic information, using your analogy, comes through deeper portions of the self. These parts have such an amazing capacity to receive that some organization is necessary to sift the data. Some is simply not important to you. It concerns people of whom you have no other knowledge.
You are a sender and a receiver. Because ideas have an electromagnetic reality, beliefs, because of their intensity, radiate strongly. Due to the organizing structure of your own psychological nature, similar beliefs congregate, and you will readily accept those with which you already agree.
Limiting ideas therefore predispose you to accept others of a similar nature. Exuberant ideas of freedom, spontaneity and joy automatically collect others of their kind also. There is a constant interplay between yourself and others in the exchange of ideas, both telepathically and on a conscious level.
This interchange follows, again, your conscious beliefs. It is fashionable in some circles to believe that you react physically to telepathically received messages despite your conscious beliefs or ideas. This is not the case. You react only to those telepathic messages that fit in with your conscious ideas about yourself and your reality.
Let me add that the conscious mind is itself spontaneous. It enjoys playing with its own contents, so I am not here recommending a type of stern mental discipline in which you examine yourself at every moment. I am telling you about countering measures that you can take in areas in which you are not pleased with your experience.