I’ve been reading a great book on Celtic spiritual wisdom (very different from ‘cultic’) which is making me reconsider my relationship with my subconscious.
I don’t think I’m alone in having negative associations with the subconscious. Freud and Jung have been influential on the public understanding of the psyche. A common way of describing our motivations beneath the surface is “the shadow side”.
We tend to view the subconscious pejoratively: a negative place, full of repressed desires, shame and abandonment issues.
In addition to this negative view of my subconscious, I’ve also historically spoken of myself as a pessimistic person. Many a time, I have repeated the traditionally Buddhist refrain that “life is suffering”. And yes, there’s wisdom in that; look no further than any news channel, and you’ll see that there is immense suffering in the world.
But when you’re looking at the world with negative filters, the glass will always be half-empty. You become prone to confirmation bias, looking for confirming evidence and disregarding any evidence that challenges your prevailing narratives. It is easy to lose hope as the confirmations piles up.
I’m on a mission to reframe this cynicism and reveal the positive aspects of my subconscious.
Practising gratitude and cognitive behavioural therapy are two of my starting points. Whilst both sometimes feel like ‘mental gymnastics’, I know that new neural pathways are developing that are more prone to look for the positives in situations and, perhaps most importantly, find the light in a historically shadowy internal landscape.