What is unconsciousness? It is simply the state of non-awareness, of not knowing. In and of itself, it’s benign. It’s just a state of being.
Unconsciously, our bodies function in a timely, miraculous way. We breathe, our heart beats, our cells deliver needed information and goods and carry away waste. While our body does all of this without effort, our mind focuses on our survival by making sense of the incredible amount of sensory information around us. Harnessing unconsciousness is also a part of self-mastery. When we become incredibly competent at something, a new skill, habit, or way of thinking, it fades from our conscious mind into the quieter place of unconsciousness. We no longer need to focus our attention in order to activate it.
Unconsciousness, however, also has a shadow side. Personally, I’ve suffered from unconsciousness, my own and others. I’ve had many relationships, both personal and professional, where I was blindsided by the other person. Where their thoughtlessness led to carelessness, and where their individual motives or needs caused me personal pain. And I’ve unfortunately done the same to others. I’ve also suffered personally from my own acts of unconsciousness.
The outcomes of unconsciousness can be simple misunderstandings or large-scale dysfunction and disruption. Anyone can be blinded by greed, envy, power, or desire. I believe that this selfish drive to jump at opportunity is just part of the human condition. Although we’ve developed a Mammalian and Primate brain, we still have our Reptilian brain. This means that our higher functions don’t always prevail in a given situation. The Reptile part of our brain gives us intuitive capabilities and information that we don’t always respect. We all have this amazing resource of energy and intuition that, if we gave some awareness to it, we could bring ourselves, and each other, into more harmony, balance, and freedom.
The unconsciousness is not an enemy. Although actions taken from this place can have harmful or hurtful consequences, so too can conscious actions. The trick is to know when and how to tap into this unknown area of our beings. Once we do, we can understand what is driving our thoughts, feelings, and actions when they aren’t producing the outcomes we really want. It’s also helpful to go into the unknown when we lack direction, or need guidance and a broader perspective. The unconscious is a place where personal growth and satisfaction can take place, relationships get enhanced, and dreams are born. So, we need to befriend this aspect of ourselves, discover, listen, heed, or alter it. It’s a whole new internal adventure that leads directly to the manifestation and expression of our gifts and shadows in the world.