Be Conscious of Unconscious
All negativities arise in unconscious mind.
I am Kenta. I share my learnings on improving the quality of experience through this newsletter.
"The conscious mind determines the actions, the unconscious mind determines the reactions, and the reactions are just as important as the actions." –E. Stanley Jones
Can you consciously have negative feelings?
All negative thoughts/emotions seem to occur passively and unconsciously.
As the neurologist Freud defines, the unconscious mind is a source of unacceptable or unpleasant feelings and thoughts.
I sometimes find myself slipping into a state of negativity, and most of the time, unconsciously. It might be fear, anxiety, sadness, annoyance, self-criticism, or loneliness.
Negative feelings towards others arise unconsciously as well. The moment you meet someone, judgments come into your mind instantly and automatically. It's so easy to characterize someone with your prejudice without seeing them as who they are.
Be Conscious of Unconscious
One way to tackle this tendency is to bring unconsciousness into consciousness.
First, we need to develop a habit to monitor our mental states.
I tried a counter app to count how many times I have negative thoughts. Because I had no idea how much I am aware of my unconsciousness.
You don't know how much you don't know if you don't pay any attention to it.
Quantifying it is one way to measure the quality of your mental state because it's less obvious than physical harm. You might be feeling the pain without noticing it.
Eckhart Tolle suggests this question to measure the level of your presence: "the degree of peace that you feel within."
Once you developed the habit of being aware of your feelings, you can let them dissolve in the light of consciousness.
When you get mad, you can try to be fully aware of your anger. All you do is to observe what's going on in your mind. What does it feel to be angry? Try to be mindful and stay mad for an hour. I find it almost impossible to stay outraged for a long time.
Other emotions, such as sadness, might be different.
Whereas anger is a strong and instant reaction to an attack or threat outside of you, it feels like sadness comes gradually and from within yourself.
Still, I find it more helpful to be aware of the sadness. This way, you can at least notice when things start going downhill. And you can try to retain control over your unconscious mind.
Otherwise, you wouldn't have a chance to control your mental state and might spiral down the dark rabbit hall without you noticing you're going down.
When you're aware of your internal states, you also become more aware of your thought process.
This power of self-observation is necessary to overcome all the biases we have unconsciously.
We try to get things right. But our biases come in all the time in disguise, distorting what the reality is. Since we hide them underneath our consciousness, it's essential to question what seems normal for us always.
We want to believe we are correct, and the universe is rotating around us. But, since that's not the case, we stumble on a stone when we fail to see things as they are.
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