Comment: Most of us live with many internal conflicts — for me, the metaphor of this post is highly useful as a frame for this style of conflict. Unfortunately, for most human beings, especially those who have not exposed to the skills of living necessary in our complex culture, the other-than-conscious mind is a place of mystery and mutiny. It can be managed, and when successful, the conscious and other-than-conscious can be a powerful team.
MacQuarrie Email Program #05 — The Role of the Other-Than-Conscious Mind
Much has been written about the other-than-conscious mind (the OOC mind — I don’t like the term unconscious; it is too confusing and misunderstood). Some of what has been written is actually very valuable, but relatively little has been written about the value and importance of integration of conscious and other-than-conscious. Together they are a powerful team.
So, in this email, I’m going to introduce you to some of the most important metaphors I use about the OOC mind (remember please that a metaphor is simply a way to think about something else). Also please note that two images are attached to this email.
Task: Your task associated with this email is simply to watch yourself in all you do, checking out to what extent the following ideas are useful to you. I suggest you read this email several times a day, especially before you undertake the daily practice of awareness as described in a previous email. I’ll expand the ideas in later emails.
The first image Sailors On A Ship [above] is based on a loose interpretation of the writings of Plato, and as a metaphor is over 2000 years old. Imagine an old-fashioned sailing ship (sails only, no fossil-fuel based engine):
The human mind is very much like a ship where the sailors have mutinied, and locked the Captain … in the cabin [brig]. Each sailor believes himself free to steer the ship as he pleases. First one sailor and then another takes over the helm, while the ship travels on a random and erratic course . . . these sailors cannot agree on a goal and, even if they could, they do not know how to navigate the ship to reach it. . . . The task of the individual is to quell this mutiny, and release the captain . . . Only then is he free to choose a goal, and steer a direct course to reach it.
Most people can easily recognize that this metaphor describes their daily life in detail — that they make plans, and then sabotage themselves in various ways. Over subsequent emails, you will learn much more about these sailors, and how to manage them. Eventually you will develop a powerful Captain.
The second image is called A Ship At Sea. Again, imagine an old-fashioned sailing ship, with sails, helm and rudder, potentially managed by an effective Captain and a crew of well-organized Sailors. What would happen to such a ship if there were no helm or rudder? It would drift with the wind. Or such a ship without sails? It would go nowhere. No wind, and even with sails and rudder, it would flounder. Plus the ship needs a good Captain and a well-trained crew.
Now — considering yourself as the ship, what within you corresponds to the rudder and helm? the sails? the wind? a Captain? the sailors? My answers — please check your own answers (further details will be developed over the course of this program):
- the helmsman-helm-rudder system: the conscious mind, able to guide the ship once effective decisions are made (and mutiny is no longer an option).
- the sails: the other-than-conscious mind, that component of myself that actually does the work, the source of my life energy and my vitality.
- the wind: from whence comes the origin of my life energy. Depending on interpretation, this could be a deeper realm of the other-than-conscious, or it could be an interface with Spirit/Creator/… (your choice).
- the sailors: principally the means by which I are aware of my other-than-conscious mind. The transformation of the sailors from that of mutiny (this is a very common situation for many people) to that of an effective working crew is one of the major skills to be developed in this email course).
- the captain: essentially my decision maker, ideally my wise one. Who would you be if you functioned in the way which really satisfied you, a person with authentic personal power? Potentially that occurs when you have developed your own Captain, that part of yourself able to integrate all parts of this ship into authentic living.
Please note in all this the goal is that of integration of conscious and other-than-conscious (much can be done in 90 days, and it is a life-long task).
Coming next: The Mind — A Pot of Stew.