15 Learning to Speak the Language of the Unconscious

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The point of these teachings is to help us raise our level of consciousness so we can get a better grip on reality. And the most powerful part of our reality—not to mention the part we have so little awareness of even existing—is our unconscious. So we must learn to speak the language of the unconscious.

Fate is the events that occur due to the governing forces of our unconscious. It is our unconscious thoughts and feelings that are responsible for everything favorable that happens to us, and it’s also always behind the curtain of every hardship, disappointment or scrap of suffering. It’s the cause of all our “bad luck” and the source of powerful repetitive patterns that make short work of creating unpleasant experiences.

The unconscious should be credited with far more than it typically is. It’s what controls our fate, because as we are coming to realize, fate is nothing other than the events that occur due to the governing forces of our unconscious. It’s the tiger and we’re the tail.

So we have both a conscious mind—the stuff we know—and an unconscious mind—the stuff we don’t know we know. The unconscious is by far the stronger of the two. This is due to the fact that when we have an absurd misconception or an unrealistic view in our conscious mind, we know about it, and so we can correct it.

But when something gets hidden from our awareness and tucked away into our unconscious—regardless how misguided or off kilter it might be—it keeps operating without our reasoning faculties stepping in to change it. Our errors then just keep chunking out more erroneous garbage that stinks up our whole existence.

The black hole of our unconscious includes our petrified wrong conclusions about life, our destructive patterns of behavior, and our negative emotions caused by our unresolved problems. All this we have stuffed down in there and forgotten about. But what we also tend to forget is that our unconscious is a repository for the constructive building blocks of the universe too—unending creativity, utter wisdom, divine truth and love. Yessiree Bob, it’s all in there. If we want to tap into this well of positive energy, we must clear the obstructions that are walling off everything hidden in the unconscious.

All this might sound like a nice theory, which of course it is, but the reality of this will only come to life when we become ready to embark on a dynamic process of growth and self-development. Then, once we get a taste of the strange and thrilling reality of what’s in our unconscious—which can admittedly be both frightening and exhilarating—we’ll gain an inkling of just how powerful these hidden aspects of ourselves really are.

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Our digging must unearth the erroneous encrustations, but then continue on to find the productive elements lodged beneath the errors. Because all of this is what lies deep inside our souls: the rubbish of useless, divisive fears and the jewels of our creativity. Few of us are fully aware of the extent of both, or how this runs our lives without our knowing it.

It seems we may need some more effective digging tools to work with. But before we dive into practical hints, let’s consider a few things. Like, consider that the whole world is like Russian nesting dolls; each of our personalities is just a smaller form of the bigger universe. Both exist because certain cosmic energies have been distributed in just the right way. Depending on how these energies interact and arrange themselves, they will create beings—people, plants, planets—that are either harmonious or disharmonious.

In a perfect situation, these forces will complement one another instead of ripping each other apart. So when everything is operating “in the zone,” the created entity—whether mineral, plant, animal, person or the highest spiritual being—will produce one glorious, unified cosmic current. It’s the same for everyone and everything.

This is even true in outer space. When a star collapses, it’s because opposing forces are at work. Opposing energy currents create a tension that finally creates an explosion, and the entity annihilates itself. What we see happening to a stellar system also happens a little closer to home, like with decaying leaves on a tree.

Indeed, if we look closely enough, we can see that contrary forces exist everywhere on all levels, and they include the opposites to truth and reality, to awareness and consciousness. Simply put, up until a certain degree of development, the universe is made up of two main currents: a yes-current and a no-current. The yes-current contains all the good stuff; it aligns with truth and it breeds love and unity. The no-current deviates from truth and is destructive; it breeds hate and disunity. Again, this applies to all things, great and small.

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These teachings never ask us to take anything on faith. In fact, we shouldn’t blindly accept any spiritual teaching without verifying it for ourselves. In this case, it’s not hard to detect both the yes-current and the no-current inside ourselves. And as was just said, everything that applies to us also applies to the whole of creation.

So getting back to those practical hints, let’s now learn how to go about interpreting the language of our unconscious in our daily lives. Like learning any new language, there’s a certain technique involved, and it will take a bit of practice, patience and perseverance to learn some new symbols.

For what else is language other than a conglomeration of symbols? If we say the word “table,” it’s just a symbol we use to represent an object we know; it’s not the table itself. It works the same way for the language of our unconscious mind. But getting to know it will take as much time, effort and practice as if we were learning to speak a foreign language.

The language of the unconscious is not something that will just come to us, any more than we would expect to suddenly know any new language without making a concerted effort. But knowing this particular language will be infinitely more rewarding and will do more for us than knowing a dozen foreign Earth-languages.

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Of the two currents, we tend to spot the yes-current more readily because it is mostly conscious. But when we stumble across some disturbing life event, or bump up once again against a persistent unfulfillment, we can be sure that there are both a yes-current and a no-current at work, effectively cancelling each other out.

Our conscious awareness of our yes-current manages to blot out our awareness of the unconscious no-current. And the more we squelch the no-current, thinking this will drive it out of existence, the more we simply drive it further underground where no logic can oppose it. This is how it becomes more powerful than the conscious yes-current. This also causes the yes-current to become more urgent and frantic, shouting louder over the top of any noise the no-current might make.

While all this shouting is going on, the personality is being pulled in opposite directions, building up pressure and creating more and more inner tension. The way to defuse all this is by surfacing the no-current, listening to its faulty premise, and gradually letting go of the mistaken belief that it needs to continue. At the risk of oversimplifying things, this is really quite simple to do.

In the areas of our lives where we seem to have the Midas touch, where fulfillment happens without a lot of drama or confusion, we can be sure that we have very little if any no-current. The yes-current is carrying the day with no blowback inside. Our whole being then in undivided; we’re at one with reality and not split in our desires or motivations. It’s blue skies and sandy beaches.

But where we’re repeatedly “unlucky,” the no-current is driving the cattle. If we have a desire that we can never seem to land, that’s proof we’ve got an undetected no-current in our system. Sorry to say, it’s not enough to know about our images, and to know where in our childhood they originated. That’s all well and good, but it’s not enough.

This is one of the confounding things about all this. Just because we have discovered our wrong conclusions about life, this will not get us all the way to freedom as long as we keep reacting in the same old way without being aware of it. Sooner and later, our emotional reactions will produce negative results—it’s bound to happen—and then we’ll be doubly disappointed. Plus discouraged.

The culprit here is the no-current that short circuits any change the yes-current is so ardently striving for. To make real and lasting change, then, we must master the language of the unconscious.

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Let’s say we have a wish for something that up until now has been lacking. We’ve found some wrong thinking about it and uncovered some false guilt. We’ve seen how our destructive attitudes have made it impossible to manifest. Nicely done. Perhaps we’ve even come to realize that we fear the fulfillment we wish for, and therefore subtly reject it. Maybe we’re not willing to pay the price for having it. Maybe we don’t feel we deserve happiness. The problem could be any combination of these things. But the long and the short of it is this: we’ve uncovered what’s been standing in our way.

This whole constellation of disturbances we have discovered may feel like a one-time nucleus, a package. What doesn’t occur to us is that this package will continue to emit its expressions—its energy currents—even after it has been detected. This is really important for us to understand. For without this particular awareness, we won’t go very far in our quest for freedom.

What we need to do is circle back to doing our Daily Review, doubling up on our efforts to detect the no-current. If we don’t do this, it may be almost too elusive to catch. But if we do set our searchlights onto this part of our being, what was once so hazy we almost couldn’t see it, will now become obvious, like a relief map coming into clear contour.

We’ll start to see how we cringe slightly at the thought of having fulfillment within our grasp. Sure, it was fun when it was a playful fantasy, but this vague feeling of uneasiness that’s come up makes us want to push the whole things aside. Is this fear? Or false guilt that we don’t deserve it? Whatever it is, we’ve got to drag it into the sunlight of our consciousness and take a better look.

Is it possible that in the comfort of a faraway fantasy, filled with all-yes-all-the-time, we were hoping for the impossible, and not having to factor in human imperfections? Were we hoping to have everything our way, which, while not necessarily bad or wrong, is decidedly rigid and one-sided, not to mention unrealistic? In our fantasy, were we thinking we would get special treatment and not have to adjust at all to changing circumstances? And under changing circumstances, were we only willing to give of ourselves if we didn’t have to compromise or adjust our expectations?

This is a very prevalent attitude, the one that subtly feels like life should supply us with an ideal fulfillment without asking us to change or give up our unrealistic expectations. This is the voice we must discover, and it will take all of our discernment to do so. But when we do, we will have found the reason the no-current is still hanging around.

Turns out, the no-current only appears in reality, but never in fantasy. Because in fantasy, we’re the writer, director and star of our own production. In such a one-sided situation, we may cast ourselves as being willing to give, since we’re the ones getting to decide exactly when and how much and in what way we will give. In reality, we’re not in charge of all that. In reality, we need to be flexible. And on an unconscious level, we know this. That’s why we block fulfillment—we’d rather wait for the impossible.

Simply becoming aware of the perpetual drip of our no-current—even before we understand what it’s all about—will deliver much-needed relief from the water torture of our hopelessness. At last, a way out will be in sight. We’ll get it, why our life hasn’t changed, even after we’ve made some remarkable breakthroughs in identifying our images.

We’ll be able to detect and name some of our destructive feelings that work in service of the no-current: guilt and fear, anger and frustration. We’ll pinpoint where our hostility is smoldering, artfully camouflaged or explained away by the easy-to-blame provocations from others. These are the mechanisms we need to learn about, because they are the language of the unconscious. To successfully spot them is to successfully decipher the code of this ancient dialect. This we must do on a day-to-day basis, catching it in action, again and again. This is how we crack the no-current.

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One of the more insidious aspects of the no-current that lurks behind every unfulfilled wish is the way it is cloaked by a desperately urgent yes-current. Often we use the jumping-up-and-down action of the yes-current to “prove” the absence of any no-current. In truth, urgency is a blinking light that proves its presence. Don’t be misled.

The frantic fear that fulfillment will never be ours belies an underground no. Absence of such a no produces a nice and easy yes-current, untainted by desperation. This is the yes-current that, yes, wants such-and-such fulfillment and is ready for it, but it won’t curl up and die if it doesn’t get it. Armed with a proper yes-current, we feel capable of leading a productive life without it, even if having it would be a much-welcomed delight.

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Let’s drill down some more into specific ways to detect that pesky no-current. We know it’s nearby when we are frustrated or desperate, fearful of unfulfillment or dismal without it, and we must work to identify its vapor trail. At the end of each day, we can review our emotional reactions, realizing that contrary to the mistaken idea that we will see less and less due to our improvement, over time we will observe more and more. So an essential prerequisite is close scrutiny of our emotions.

We can start to look at frustrations and difficulties as helpful pot stirrers. For if nothing ever happened to stir the pot of our unconscious, obstructions would lay there like petrified wood. Left untouched and unchallenged, this deadwood would be impossible to locate, so it could slumber silently for a very long time. But when shaken, our distorted bits pinch and poke and prod us until we start questioning ourselves.

Our stirred-up emotions will lead us directly to our no-current if we take the time to investigate them. This is precisely what happens when unavoidable life problems meet a deliberate process of spiritual healing. In order for our work to be productive, we’ll need to sort the wheat from the chaff, separating out the healthy parts of ourselves from the confused, pretzeled parts.

Ironically, it’s the yes-current we must put into the service of uncovering the no-current. We must say yes to wanting to observe, with a sense of detachment, something strange and obscure in the self. Doing so, in fact, can be the most healing and liberating thing ever. When we observe ourselves in a calm and cool sort of way, without a lot of frantic hand waving, we’ll be able to translate the language of the vaguely-felt unconscious into articulate words.

Don’t expect to find completely unknown facts. Rarely this could happen, but more routinely, what we uncover will be half-conscious thoughts and diffuse expressions that we’ve overlooked for ages because they are almost second nature. We don’t need to go through crazy gyrations looking for unicorns. No, we just need to watch our hazy emotional reactions, and compare them with our fantasy life. By pulling our discrepancies, contradictions and immature expectations into a more clear focus, we will learn everything we need to know about ourselves to live a meaningful life.

When we clearly observe the way we push away the fulfillment we’ve been craving, or withdraw from it again and again, we weaken the no-current. Some of that petrified soul stuff lodged in our unconscious will start to loosen up, having been sufficiently badgered by inner searching and from being prodded by our pain and frustration. Now we can see our no-current right there on the surface.

It gets harder to rationalize away something that’s become so glaringly obvious. And that’s a good thing. Our ego has some work to do here, keeping the pressure on and not falling for slippery disguises. Otherwise, the no-current may lapse back into hiding. There’s a particular meditation that can help.

In a quiet, relaxed position, start to observe the thinking process. Even observe how hard this is to do. With time, we’ll be able to keep thoughts out for a minute, making ourselves utterly empty. Now there will be an empty space in which repressed material can surface. We must express that this is our goal, and not shy away from the effort to let this happen.

Doing this over and over will establish a channel to a previously untapped part of ourselves. First may come the destructive elements, floating into our awareness; following this will be the constructive ones that have gotten buried deep below. But often the process follows a random sequence. Caution: this may be a test. Stay alert and notice if there is a temptation to overestimate oneself. It’s possible for constructive creative material to come burbling forth, but this may not mean we’re an iota more advanced than another who hasn’t yet tapped their divine channel. Their rhythm may just be different.

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There’s lots of talk of the “third eye” in spiritual circles. And indeed, when we open lines of communication with our hidden unconscious, learning to interpret its foreign language, we will develop “third” perceptive organs and communication capabilities. We’ll not only see more clearly with our eyes, we’ll hear more keenly, sense more finely and develop new forms of speech. Extra-sensory perception, you could say.

But when people focus on metaphysical practices designed to take them into an ideal state they haven’t yet reached, they are heading in the wrong direction. Then their newly acquired faculties are used to escape the self, rather than being used to detect errors in the self and understand more about what any destructive elements mean.

To be sure, working in this diligent way does require a certain amount of discipline and willpower. When our stick-to-itiveness is flagging, our no-current is acting up. Isn’t this the same no-current we’re wanting to capture in action? Exactamundo. We can see it in our lack of energy, our laziness, our feeling blocked, our not grasping the teachings, our anger at our Helper, our exaggeration of our struggles. Before long, we give up on our spiritual work because it seems impossible to go on. Or we insist on focusing on something other than what our life circumstances are offering up for our attention. And the real problem remains untouched. Score the winning goal for the no-current.

We must remain on guard, alert to such delay-tactics by the no-current. Regardless how eager we are to detect our no-current and grow out of it by working in concert with the help of our yes-current, a deep-seated fear of change shows us that the no-current is still in the house. It’s there in proportion to the size of the problem we’re working on. The only way past it is through it—facing our deepest fears and the misconceptions that pin them in place—and never by going around it.

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Another word for the no-current is “resistance.” But many have become so immune to this word, the mere mention of it activates the no-current. Perhaps it can be helpful to realize just how universal the no-current is, how ubiquitous it is. We’re all steeped in no-current, and there’s no point arguing who has it the worst. What is relevant is whether we’re detecting it and becoming familiar with its machinations.

A big, strong no-current that is constantly weakened by our observations is actually less harmful than a puny no-current that flies under the radar, unobserved. The latter is harder to spot, especially in the presence of a strong yes-current. So acting like the no-current doesn’t exist will just allow it to continue to worm its way through all our joy.

Contrary to what we may have been led to believe, our unconscious mind is not shy. Wily and crafty and slippery, yes, but not shy. And it talks nonstop. It’s just that we don’t hear it—not unlike hearing someone speaking a foreign language we haven’t learned. Here are five questions we can ask ourselves everyday to start to tune in: 1) What do I desire that I don’t have? 2) How much do I want it? 3) How do a stop it, block it, or otherwise say no to it? 4) How do I also say no to doing the work that would surface it? 5) Where else do I detect this no-current in my life?

If we can make headway in asking these questions regularly and answering them truthfully, we’ll be astounded and delighted by our progress. If doing so makes us feel too tense or too harassed, and makes us think we’ll miss out on something more important—which of course we can’t name—we’ve already got a bead on our no-current. For it’s the no-current that keeps us from getting quiet and listening within.

By continuing to observe ourselves in action, we’ll pry the no-current loose from its moorings, and eventually eliminate what’s most destructive in our lives. Typically, though, we storm ahead instead, entertaining our flights of fantasy and waiting for a faraway goal of perfection. Meanwhile, we fear our unrealistic goals and cast a blind eye to what’s really standing in our way. People are so funny.

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Once we start saying yes to finding our no, we’ll establish a link with our unconscious mind, which includes the deeper, wiser part of us. This is the part that we want to eventually take over in guiding us through every phase of life, including those areas where success evades us. This part of our unconscious mind is the helpful part. It will supply us with continually renewed strength, with fertile creative energy, with resourcefulness and a sense of harmony.

When this communication starts to happen, it not only connects us with the best in ourselves, it links us up with the unconscious parts of everyone else. Don’t underestimate what this can mean. Because it’s these unconscious communications—the exchanges we’re not aware of—that determine the course of a relationship. If we don’t understand this, and then don’t understand what’s happening in our relationships, we’ll constantly feel like we’re left hanging in the air.

But when we are able to decipher the unconscious of someone else, we will experience a revolutionary freedom. This is a really big door we’re stepping through when this happens. It’s hard to find the right words to even describe this phenomenon. It’s like a dark curtain falls away, and we stop with all the misunderstandings and hurts and fears. We’ll be able to calmly observe in others what threatens them and makes them feel tense and defensive—just like we’ve learned to do with ourselves.

We’ll know how to interpret their gestures, what that emphasis or expression means, this action or that utterance or this tense muscle. Unbeknownst to the other person, we’ll be able to read them like a book. We’ll hear and see and perceive what they really mean, despite their disguises. We’ll recognize what’s governing them behind their facades. We’ll know what their unconscious is communicating by watching their behaviors. And at this point, we’ll no longer have anything to fear. But none of us can understand any of this in someone else until we’ve done it with ourselves.

As long as we remain frightened, we lack the calm observation skills to perceive another person in truth. It doesn’t matter if we’re afraid of what they might do, or if we’re afraid of what our own unconscious self might do. Although it’s really the latter that makes our no-current so Herculean. Lose this fear and we can learn to listen to the hidden parts of the soul. In this way, we perfect ourselves using techniques we can use to build beautiful, fearless relationships.

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Read Original Pathwork® Lecture: #124 The Language of the Unconscious

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