Subjectless Consciousness


Who are you, right now, without stimuli to attribute your current feeling state?  

I don't believe we live in a world that supports asking this question. We seem to have societal norms that impede the ability to do so (i.e. pressure to be socially preoccupied, every commercial industry, cell phones, news, career focus, body obsession, substance abuse, etc...). 

That original question can feel unsettling. Would life be boring if we were not rising and falling at the mercy of external storylines daily? 

What I've learned as a therapist is when the outward noise is silenced, we develop a more sustained joyful perception. When our emotional patterns hinge on one external trigger to the next, we find ourselves in an emotional loop that was forged in early life turmoil.

There's a psychological cornerstone that almost all patterns of emotional reactivity are the conjuring of our primordial wounds. With the exception of actual life and death scenarios, much of our daily melodrama is about little other than our childhood stories playing out with different actors. Often these "actors" are neutral life details we use to project inner pain and struggle. 

"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." Carl Jung

The good news is our brains are miraculous in their ability to evolve our emotional storylines when given the space. Unfortunately, our ancestors experienced periods of solitude daily that we may never know again. We are now living in a world where one of the most evidence-based therapeutic practices is allowing the brain the space that was once an inherent aspect of being a person.

If you've ever dismissed meditation or mindfulness practice, know these concepts can be deceptively uninteresting. Their principle focus, though, is to disrupt the very process I just mentioned. More than just a moment of peace or self-reflection, reseting the mind can sever long expired labyrinths of thought and emotion

"We routinely and unknowingly waste enormous amounts of
energy in reacting automatically and unconsciously to the
outside world and to our own inner experiences. Cultivating
mindfulness means learning to tap and focus our own wasted
energies. In doing so, we learn to calm down enough to enter
and dwell in states of deep relaxation. This nourishes and
restores body and mind. At the same time, it makes it easier
for us to see with greater clarity the way we actually live and
therefore how to make changes to enhance our health and the
quality of our life. In addition it helps us to channel our energy
more effectively in stressful situations, or when we are feeling
threatened or helpless. This energy comes from inside us and
is therefore always within our reach and potential control."
- Jon Kabat-Zinn

And, no, we can't read or think our way out of these patterns. (In fact, the terrorizing trajectory of thoughts will need its own discussion.) 

I must say this all feels very post-apocalyptic. We are now living in a world where we are being prescribed doses of humanity throughout our lifestyle of technology.  

For your quick ten minute guide to being a human, click here
  
We'll have you human again in no time. 

- Samsara

(Dan Siegel is an amazing source of information on the neuroscience of mindfulness.)

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