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Understanding the war that rages between the conscious, subconscious
and the supra-conscious selves in the evolution of the soul.
one question almost everyone asks themselves at some point is why their life
is going the direction it's headed. Usually it's a question we ask when things
aren't going welli.e. "Why did I lose my job?" "Why is
everything so difficult? "Why can't I meet someone?" In other words,
it's something we ask ourselves whenever we feel that life isif not out
of controlat least not going the direction we'd anticipated, planned,
or even hoped for. It's also a question we tend to ask rhetorically. We don't
really expect an answerit's just our way of raging against the frustration
we often feel when those things we imagine will make us happy always seem to
remain perpetually just out of reach. However, if you're like most people, eventually
you'll just stop trying to figure it out and assume that the little frustrations,
disappointments and feelings of helplessness we sometimes experience are all
simply a part of this thing we call life and struggle on.
What we don't realize in all this, however, is what is really happening on a deeper level. We see things as happening to ususually for no particular reasonrather than ask if we aren't in some way contributing to these things. In other words, we need to ask whether things happen to us, or whether they happen through us, and if so, how that happens. I'm not a psychologist, so all that follows is purely my opinion based upon some things I've read over the years and my own powers of observation. However, if you're interested in considering some different approaches to this problem, perhaps you'll find my musings food for thought; I know they've been helpful to me.
My first premise is that we are more than the sum of our parts. In other words, that person I call "me" is actually a multi-faceted thing of extraordinary complexity, only parts of which I can see or am even aware exists. In fact, most of "me" is hidden, both from public view as well as from myself.
Some refer to these elements or "aspects of the self" in different ways; Freud called them the id, ego and super ego; Jung, the lower and higher selves. I prefer the conscious self, the subconscious self, and supra-conscious self. Whatever you call them, though, make no mistake about the fact that they are locked in mortal combat as each of them battle for dominance over the other two. Before moving on, however, let's first more clearly define what these individual aspects are and how they work towards making us the person we are (or, at least, the person we think we are).
Most people understand what consciousness is (when they're not confusing it with "having a conscience" or moral nature). Consciousness is simply another term for self-awareness, i.e. being aware of one's surroundings as well as being cognizant of what's happening from one moment to the next. It's also our decision-making, data collection, and opinion center that operates almost non-stop whenever we're awake. It is the conscious self that sets goals for the future (or changes them on a whim) and judges whether we are a success or a failure, handsome or ugly, too fat or too skinny (or just right) and that part which makes those same judgments about others. It is, then, simply another name for the personality or ego, and for many people it is the only part of themselves they're concerned with largely because it's the only part they're aware of and have any direct control over.
The subconscious, in contrast, is the consciousness' silent partner and that aspect of the psyche which contains all those things that live just beyond the realm of our waking, conscious awareness. It maintains not only a detailed record of most of the ideas, experiences, and knowledge we've acquired throughout the course of a lifetime, but also houses the fears, aspirations and desires that are a big part of us but that we may not even know exist. In some ways, since the subconscious is incapable of putting on airs, lying, or otherwise altering itself to fit othersor our ownexpectations, it is more "us" than the consciousness is. However, in residing just beneath the surface it remains so well hidden that not only don't most people see it but some don't even realize it exists at all.
The third part of ourselves is what we call the "supra-conscious" or, as some have taken to calling it, the "higher self." This is the part of us which is interested in only one thing and that is our spiritual growth. It is the great integrator, healer, and teacher that cares nothing for the things of the world but concentrates only on things dealing with the soul. In quasi-religious terms, it is that part of us which not only points us towards the Divine and is always striving to help us find that little piece of the Divine that resides within us as well. It is that part of us from which creativity, love, and laughter generates from, and the only part of us capable of truly bringing peace into our lives. In effect, it may be considered the "soul" of a human being, from which everything else generates and is that aspect of ourselves that it is actually more "who we are" than either the conscious self or subconscious self are.
Further, it resides within everybodyeven those we might consider wicked or evilas a thing of light and beauty, no matter how thoroughly repressed it might be by the hatred, ambition, and greed that permeates the overlying personality. Additionally, and perhaps most important of all, it is the only one of the three aspects of ourselves that is immortal, in contrast to the personality and its underlying subconscious, which are shed upon the death of the body (or shortly thereafter). As such, in recognizing its own mortality, it has no reason to fight for dominance as the conscious and subconscious selves do. They do battle because on some level they recognize that they are mere reflections of the underlying soul that created them and that, as such, they will one day be absorbed back into it. In effect, they fight for an immortality that is impossible for them to possess. The supra-conscious, in contrast, has no reason to fight because it harbors no similar fears of extinction. Only those aspects which fear their mortality fight for immortality; the supra-conscious knows it is pointless to do battle over something it already possesses. This is why the supra-consciousness can remain above the fray, observing but not directly interfering in the contest being played out all around it and is content to wait patiently for opportunities for growth to exert itself. It then emerges whenever the conscious and subconscious battle themselves to the point of exhaustion and so are too weak to keep the supra-conscious at bay. While this seems to imply that the supra-conscious is the weakest of the three, it is in its ability to wait for its opportunity rather than insisting upon it that makes it, in fact, the strongest of the three. To better understand how this principle works, I've come up with a little story. In it, hopefully you will see how each of these aspects of ourselves come into play in shaping our perceptions and the directions our life takes, as well as help you appreciate the powerful impact the subconscious and supra-conscious have on our conscious selves, albeit in ways so subtle we hardly imagine they're working in us at all.
Story of Bob
At only thirty-eight, Bob is already a rising star in one of the largest Fortune 500 firms in the country. In addition to being a successful executive who can boast a six-digit income and appears to be on the fast-track towards one day becoming a CEO of his own company, Bob also has a lovely wife and two kidsa twelve-year old son and an eight-year old daughterowns a 3,000 square foot home with a pool, and even drives a $45,000 Porsche. From all outward appearances Bob is the living embodiment of the classic, success-driven businessman who exudes self-confidence, charisma, and the need to win at all costs.
However, things aren't always what they seem. While on the surface Bob appears to be living the American dream, what neither henor most people who know him, for that matterrealize is that he is, in reality, quite miserable.
The problem is that Bob is resentful of the time his career takes away from his family, resentful at having to travel so much, and resentful that he never has time for any of the pastimes he enjoys, all for a job he finds superficial and utterly unfulfilling. In effect, Bob is angry because he's working fourteen hours a day, six days a week in a quest to be the best at something he basically hates doing.
He doesn't realize any of this consciously, of course. In his mind, he's doing exactly what he planned on doing since leaving college, which is to make a name for himself in the corporate world. He knew when he embarked on his ambitious career path that it would mean having to give up some things, but he considered that an acceptable compromise. Like many career-driven people, Bob is the victim of his own ambition and, even though he tells himself almost every day that he'll make it all up to himself and his family once he's "made it", he knows that's a lie. Unfortunately, he can see no other way to accomplish his lofty goals and so he struggles on, trapped in his never ending quest to be the very best.
Even if Bob's conscious self is not aware of these things, however, his subconscious self is very much aware of them. While Bob's conscious self believes that he has the kind of life he always dreamed of, his subconscious self wants more out of life than just a fat paycheck and expensive material possessions; whereas Bob's conscious self sees himself at the top of his game, his subconscious self knows he really longs to spend more time with his family and pines for the carefree, more laid-back days of his youth.
Actually, on some level, Bob is aware that these thoughts exist buried somewhere deep inside him, but he dismisses them as being impractical, unrealistic "pipe dreams" better left buried. And since his personality or ego (his "conscious self") is the dominant force in his life right now, they will stay that way, and there's little the subconscious can do about it.
Well, maybe it can do a few things. After all, being generated by the same brain that manifests Bob's consciousness, it is just as cunning and so it is not without resources of its own it might use to bring Bob's life more in line with its own desires. How it might do this, however, will require finesse and great subtlety but for a subconscious as clever as Bob's that should not prove to be a problem. As such, when it can finally take no more of the stress and constant turmoil Bob's life has become, it strikes.
Noting that Bob secretly loathes the incessant meetings his job demands, it begins by subtly distorting his sense of time and making him seemingly always late to important appointmentsmuch to the chagrin of the many clients he repeatedly keeps waiting. Realizing that his habitual tardiness is having negative repercussions with senior management, however, his conscious self comes to the rescue by having his secretary keep track of his schedule for him and so ensuring that he makes his appointments on time. This seems to fix the problem and things soon settle back into their normal routine.
The subconscious self is not so easily thwarted, however, and it moves to another area of weakness. This is to play on Bob's innate and deep-seated paranoia, whichis something that has followed him like a shadow throughout his rise in the company. Taking advantage of this less-obvious flaw in his charactera flaw even Bob's consciousness is only vaguely aware even existsit isn't long before it has Bob imagining that many of his colleagues are scheming against him behind his back, which has the predictable effect of souring the atmosphere at the company to the point that many of his fellow executivessome of whom he had once counted among his closest friendsbegin to avoid him.
This is less easily fixed than his time management problems, however, and it isn't long before Bob finds himself in the bosses' office being gently chastened for his attitude towards his coworkers. Bob is smart enough not to argue and he humbly agrees to work on the issue, though in reality he is fuming. His substantial ego in full defense mode, by the time he returns to his office he has already dismissed his supervisor's advice as mere "nit picking" over what he considers to be trivial matters. Further, Bob, his conscious self being driven by the need to prove himself, vows to show them all just how valuable he is to the firm, which he does by coming up with a brilliant idea guaranteed to not only still his critics, but restore his reputation as a rising "star" in the company.
Through some skillful maneuvering and by calling in some favors, he manages to arrange a meeting with one of their competitor's biggest clients in an effort to convince them to change investment firms. If successful, it would be a coup which would not only bring a major new account to the firmand badly damage one of their chief competitors in the processbut practically guarantee promotion to Vice President of his division.
The subconscious, however, realizes that success in this case would be disastrous, for it would undoubtedly further lock Bob into his ambitious rise to the top and spell an end for any chance of getting off the corporate roller coaster anytime soon. But what can it do? Thinking furiously, it soon comes up with a plan to ensure the important meeting never happens and quietly and carefully sets about "arranging" things in such a way that Bob's consciousness never realizes what's happening.
How does it do this? Simple, really. It doesn't do anything too obviousnothing that Bob's conscious self would likely notice. It just does a few small thingslittle things Bob's raging conscious self will never see as being part of a larger plan to sabotage his important meeting. First, for several days leading up to the meeting, it sees to it that Bob is kept so busy running around town that he never seems to find the time to put gas into his Porsche until by the end of the week he is driving nearly on empty. Then, on the night before the big meeting, it arranges for him to not get home until close to midnight, by which time he is too tired to look for a station even though the low fuel warning light has come on.
Making a mental note to fill up in the morning, Bob parks the car and climbs into bed for some much needed sleep, not for a moment realizing that a restful nights sleep is the last thing the subconscious is going to let him achieve. Instead, by rehearsing the next day's meeting over and over again in his head, it sees to it that he spends the night tossing and turning, depriving him of the restful sleep he so badly craves and requires to be 100% the next day. It's not surprising then, that he wakes up the next morning feeling exhausted and irritable.
Dragging himself to the shower where he hopes the warm water will revive him, it is while he is standing beneath the soothing jets of water that Bob's subconscious self pulls its next stunt: convincing Bob's conscious self that he "deserves" a few extra minutes of comfort, especially considering that the meeting isn't for two hours and he needs to feel his best to do his best, he stays in the shower an unusually long time. Bob's bliss is short-lived, however, when his wife knocks on the bathroom door to remind him of the time. Jarred from his reverie and suddenly realizing he is running late, Bob steps out of the shower, races through the rest of his morning routine andbarely managing even a quick nod at his wife and kidsgrabs his briefcase and heads out the door.
Not to worry, Bob assures himself. Sure, he is cutting things a little close, but he still has plenty of time to make the meetinga mere sixty freeway miles awayhe reminds himself as he pulls out of the driveway and races for the highway onramp. Fifteen minutes later he is out of the city and growing more confident with each mile that he can land the account. He seems destined by fate, he decides, to make it to the top, and today will be the day it will happen.
"Fate", however, has other plans. Just as Bob hits an open stretch of freeway and he begins going over his "pitch" in his head, he notices the car start to lurch and loose power. Confused and uncertain what to do, it takes him a moment to spot the low fuel warning light on the dash and realizewith a surreal sense of incredulitythat for the first time in his life he is actually running out of gas. He coasts the car onto the shoulder, cursing under his breath all the way, before suddenly remembering the low fuel light the night before and damning himself for failing to gas up the previous evening.
But Bob isn't one to panic easily. Thinking quickly, he realizes all he needs to do is call the client, make up a less embarrassing excuse than running out of gas, and reschedule the meeting before calling triple A to come and rescue him. Confident that he still has everything under control, Bob fumbles through his briefcase looking for his cell phone for a solid minute before suddenly realizing that he had left his lifeline to the outside world recharging on the bedroom dresser that morning. Again, in his haste, he had entirely forgotten about it and now not only is he stranded on the open highway miles from the nearest exit, but now he doesn't even have a phone with which to call for assistance. Angry at himself, Bob tries to calm down as the fear that his carefully crafted plans may suddenly be in jeopardy. The subconsciousness' plan is working perfectly.
Carefully noting his position on a roadmap he pulls from the glove box, Bob notices it was only a couple of miles to the next exit from where he can buy a can of gas and use a payphone to call the client. Any chance for a meeting that morning was probably gone, he decides, but at least he should still be able to reschedule if he can make the two miles to the exit quickly. Locking his car, he strikes out in the direction of the exit, every other step now punctuated by some choice profanity.
Bob's mood grows even darker when he finally reaches the exit only to discover it to be a no service off ramp, and now fear does set in. There is, however, a full service exit just five more miles down the roadat least according to the road signand so Bob, growing increasingly desperate and now aware that things were looking increasingly bleak unless he can get to a phone soon, throws caution to the wind and sticks out his thumb, suddenly aware that this was the first time he'd tried his hand at hitchhiking since college.
Apparently, he still has the knack for it, however, as soon a car pulls over and the motorist graciously agrees to drive Bob to the next exit, restoring within him a tiny glimmer of hope that he can still salvage something from the morning's debacle. Arriving at the station, Bob thanks the driver, quickly buys a five gallon can of gas and looks for a pay phone. Finally locating one, it is while fishing for a quarter in his pocket that he suddenly realizes that in his hasteagainhe had left his day timer with the client contact info in his briefcase inside his locked car. Another wave of anger sweeps over him as he notices the meeting of his life was supposed to have started fifteen minutes ago and now he didn't even have a way to call the client and explain his predicament!
Could anything else possibly go wrong? he screams to himself before taking a deep breath in an effort to make his mind work. Clearing his thoughts, he realizes that all he needs to do is call information to get the main number of the client's firm, certain he can still stop the hemorrhaging if he can only get through. Just when it looks as though he is going to be successful, however, and just as the operator connects him with the company's main receptionist, he suddenly finds himself unable to recall the name of the executive he was to meet with, without which the receptionist cannot forward his call. Furious now, Bob slams the receiver down, grabs the heavy can of gas, and begins striding angrily back to his car, now too exhausted to even shout profanities any more as he makes his way down the shoulder of the busy freeway.
Unfortunatelyor fortunately, depending on ones perspectivein his disgust with himself and the situation, Bob makes another crucial mistake. Deciding to cross the interstate at the exit so as to avoid having to sprint across four lanes of traffic, he is now walking against the flow of traffic, all but ensuring that no one willor even couldgive him a lift. As such, it takes just under two-and-a-half hours to make the seven mile trek back to his car where, overheated, angry at himself, and his arm burning in pain from having had to carry the heavy can of gas seven miles, he empties the fuel into the tank, heaves the empty can as far as he can in an effort to acquire some small degree of reliefto no availand gets into his car. Throwing the Porsche into gear, he stomps on the gas and ricochets onto the highwaybarely missing a minivan in the processand sets out once more for his destination, his mind a seething cauldron of competing plans of action, oblivious to everything but his immediate need to save his rapidly disintegrating career.
Fifty minutes later Bob arrives at the client's company headquarters and he makes his way inside. Flushed, his hair ruffled, and his suit stained with perspiration and smelling of gasoline, Bob bullies his way to the office of the senior executivewhose name he can now recall with perfect clarityin an effort to explain what happened. When the man finally calls him in, Bob is most apologetic and explains what happened and how hard he tried to make the meeting, but before he can plead for a chance to reschedule, the exec explains that his supervisorsmost of whom had waited a solid hour for Bob to showhad decided to stay with their current firm and curtly ends the discussion. Bob is in panic mode now and begins to plead for one more chance. He offers to sweeten the deal reduce his commission sign his firm to an open ended contract do anything to save his once promising future, but the exec remains firm. Bob's big shot at "stardom" has been destroyed for the lack of a couple of gallons of gas and a cell phone, and he dejectedly finds his way out, gets in his car, and drives home dejected and in a state of shock.
After showering, changing, and railing at his wife for not reminding him to take his cell phone that morning, Bob drives back to his office to explain what happened to his boss. Not surprisingly, the man is none-too-happy with the morning'sin his opinion, "highly avoidable"chain of events and puts Bob on notice that one more screw-up on that scale and he would be looking for another job. His ego is a little more contrite than it had been at his earlier chewing out, however, and Bob promises to work even harder to regain both his boss's confidence and restore his reputation in the company. It is clear that his once promising career was now hanging by the proverbial threada thread, by the way, his conscious-self was determined to keep from snapping. Bob's subconscious self, however, has other plans.
The next couple of weeks pass without incident and, true to his word, Bob works even harder in a genuine effort at making amends for his earlier fiasco, but the subconscious self is not done yet. It doesn't want to simply humble the conscious self; it wants to change the direction of Bob's life, which it can only do if Bob loses his job. It accomplishes this just a few days later by having Bob unwittingly record the wrong date for an important meeting in his day timer. He was told the meeting was the 21st but for some reason he wrote it down under the 23rda small but important mistake which results not only in him missing the meetingand leaving a number of clients who had flown in from Japan specifically for the meeting upset in the processbut in him getting a call the next morning from his boss informing him of the "oversight."
Noting that Bob's "head and heart" just didn't seem to be in his work anymore, he tells his once most promising exec that his "services with the company were no longer required." It is a blow that Bob's massive ego cannot handle, and he angrily declines his boss' gracious offer of the standard six-month's severance package, explaining in no uncertain terms that he was no charity case before slamming the phone down. Ten minutes later he storms out of his office with fifteen years worth of awards and commendation plaques stuffed into a cardboard box under one arm, his mind already fixed on revenge.
Like a betrayed lover, Bob is now obsessed with destroying his former employer and spends the next few days considering how he might do that. This obsession with revenge makes him almost unbearable to live with, a fact that Bob's conscious self is completely oblivious to, and despite the toll his quest for vengeance is taking on his marriage, he refuses to give up on the idea of punishing his former employer. His opportunity finally arrives when he learns through the corporate grapevine that one of the company's leading competitors is looking for a senior accounts exec, and Bob sees his chance. With his experience and insider knowledge about his previous firmprivileged information that could be used to hurt his former colleagues financiallyBob is certain they will jump at the chance to hire him and immediately gets on the phone to schedule an interview.
Bob's subconscious self is not happy about the turn of events, however, and sees its carefully laid plans starting to come undone. Knowing that Bob is likely to get the jobespecially considering his experience and qualificationsand realizing that if he does it will spell the end of any chances of returning to a less stressful life, it is forced to quickly devise yet another tactic to counter Bob's plan. No longer confident it can arrange another series of "misfortunes" in an effort to sabotage the interview (since his earlier mishap, Bob has ensured his car's gas tank is kept topped off and his cell phone is constantly charged and on him at all times) it has to come up with something even more creative if it is to torpedo this new opportunity. It soon finds a way, however, when it uses Bob's own stress and lack of sleep to lower his normally robust immune system to the point where he becomes susceptible to the first flu bug that happens along. As a result, on the morning of the interview Bob finds himself waking up with a high fever, the shakes, and soreness throughout his body.
Bob isn't about to let something as trivial as the flu stop him, however, and even though it takes everything in him just to shower and get dressed, he drags himself to the interview, much to chagrin of the subconscious self. However, in his weakened and fevered state, it still sees an opportunity for mischief and gets Bob to blow the interview in a most unexpected way: instead of simply outlining his considerable qualifications and going over his carefully rehearsed "vision for the company" as he had initially intended, Bob instead breaks into a rambling, fever-induced diatribe outlining his plans to "destroy" his previous firm, even to the point of suggesting the use of unethical and even illegal tactics to do it. Needless to say, Bob doesn't get the job and, after being encouraged by the interviewer to see a doctor and, perhaps, visit a therapist, he is sent home. Even worse, the next morning, despondent and now too sick to get out of bed, Bob's wife drives him to a local hospital where chest x-rays reveal him to be suffering from a serious pulmonary infection. Bob declines hospitalization (especially since he had allowed his health care benefits to lapse) and simply demands a prescription, but passing out in the lobby on his way out makes the decision for him and he is admitted. In the course of just two short months Bob has gone from being on the verge of "stardom" to confinement in a hospital bed with a temperature of 105° and an oxygen tank for company.
But something remarkable happens in the hospitalsomething even Bob could not have anticipated. Now with time to think about the last few monthsand yearsof his life, he comes to understand things he had not realized before. First, he comes to recognize how his interminable pursuit to be "the best" was the byproduct of a lifetime inferiority complex and, even more, how secretly relieved he was to no longer be part of the corporate "rat race" that had been such a big part of his life for so many years. Even more important, however, was the realization of just how much his wife loved him and how badly he had treated herand his childrenboth verbally and through neglect. It is, in fact, through them that he finally begins to understand not only how his anger was dragging him into an abyss of hatred, but how others were paying the price for his descent into the darkness as well. The realization also helps Bob discover that for the first time in many years that he is capable of tears after all.
Two weeks later Bob is home from the hospital and, though still weak, is intent on putting things right with his family. First he takes his wife to a romantic dinner for the first time in years and the next day spends the entire afternoon with his family at the zoosomething his kids had been after him to do for years. In the process, he notices the anger and drive that had been such a big part of who he had been begin to melt away and even finds himself capable of relaxing for the first time in years. He also rediscovers, much to his surprise, a long dormant sense of humor and playfulness reemerge. In the end, Bob is dismayed to find himself even beginning to like himself a little bit, much to his amusement.
But Bob is not beyond his troubles quite yet. Between being unemployed for three months and the fact that exorbitant hospital and doctor's bills are eating deeply into his savings, he realizes he needs to find another job soon or face losing his home. Unfortunately, all he has ever known is the corporate world and he is not keen on reentering that world, especially knowing that if he did go back he would probably have to start at the bottomand that was assuming his recent actions over the last few months hadn't already torpedoed any chances of getting on with another firm. Torn between his responsibilities to his family and his responsibility to himself, Bob has absolutely no idea what to do next. For the first time in his adult life, a man who has always prided himself on knowing how to solve every problem now has no answer. The problem isthe truth be toldthat Bob has lost the vision of himself. Before, he always knew exactly who he was and where he was headed; now, he was a man without a plan, a goal, or even a dream.
Actually, that wasn't entirely true. Bob did have a boyhood dreamthough one he had never told anyone about. It seems that ever since he was a boy he had always loved boats (he had even toyed with the idea of buying a forty foot schooner when he had the resources, but had shelved it when he realized he would never find the time to sail it). Sometimes he fantasized about captaining a yacht around the world or imagined building a sailboat in his garage, but he had always considered such ideas more fantasy than potential reality. As such, he was intrigued a few days later when he came across an ad on the internet looking for a manager for a local marina. To his own surprise, even though he had no experience running a marina and the pay was a fraction of what he had been pulling down as a corporate executive, he found himself applying for the jobif only as a lark.
It would be safe to say that Bob was more than just a little surprised, then, when they called him in for an interview a week later and Bob found himself interviewing for a job he knew practically nothing about. Yes, he had management experienceand plenty of itbut what did he know about running a multi-million dollar marina? He was a corporate accounts executive for Gods' sake, not Popeye! He left the meeting certain that he had blown the interview and drove home uncertain what to try next. It seemed the corporate worldeven if it meant starting over again in saleswas all that he could count on. The next day Bob decided to "bite the bullet" and apply for some junior-level executive positions he had become aware of when he got a call from the marina, offering him the job. Too stunned to know what to say, he unexpectedly found himself accepting the position and just like that Bob found himself going from a senior account executive of a Fortune 500 firm to the manager of the Westport Marina and Yacht Club. Life, as they say, does throw the occasional curveball, and Bob had just been hit by it.
Of course, the drastic cut in pay meant selling his oversized home and settling for something a little smaller and he could no longer afford the Porsche, but for some reason Bob didn't mind. Additionally, and to absolutely no one but Bob's surprise, he excelled in his new job. The work was fairly basic and he could largely set his own hours, making it the perfect position for a man who was determined to spend more time with his family. Bob proved to be such a "natural" at his new job, in fact, that within a few months he had not only managed to learn everything there was to know about running a marina, but had befriended so many of the boat owners that he spent more time at sea than in his office. He even managed to purchase that schooner he'd always wanted (at a remarkably good price) on which he and his family spent countless weekends sailing around the nearby islands. Despite no longer being a "rising star" in the corporate world or having a chance at one day becoming a CEO of his own company, "Commodore Bob", as he now liked to call himself, suddenly realized he had all the success he ever wanted or could desire right in front of him.
That fact didn't really come home to him until about a year later, however, when an old friend called Bob to ask if he would be interested in returning to the firm to head up a new departmenteven offering him a substantial increase in pay over what he had been making before (and five times the salary he was making as the marina manager). Bob had to admit that for a split second he thought about it, but with a smile on his face he explained that the firm would never permit him to come to work in a ratty t-shirt, cutoffs and sandals each day as he could do now and politely declined the offer. Bob had finally come to realize what the truly important things in life were. He had finally found himself at last.
But what does this all have to do with the conscious, subconscious and supra-conscious aspects we discussed earlier? I've already pointed out the role and agendas both Bob's conscious and subconscious selves displayed: the conscious self's determination to make it to the top of the corporate ladder and it's quest for vengeance when that failed; the subconscious self's successful effort at sabotaging the entire plan by allowing Bob to "fail" to keep his fuel tank full, "fail" to notice the low fuel warning light when he had left that morning, "forget" to take his cell phone with him, and even inexplicable "forgetting" both his day timer and the name of the person he was to meet with so he couldn't reschedule. Of course, Bob's conscious self fought to regain control by intending to work even harder, but his subconscious self again derailed him by having him record the wrong date for an important meeting in his day timeranother "tiny mistake" which ended his employment and put Bob onto a path more in accordance with his true desires. His subconscious even found a way to sabotage the conscious self's next attempt to regain dominance by diminishing Bob's normally indomitable immune system, resulting in not only another failed interview but landing him in the hospital to boot. It's been quite a battle.
So where was the supra-conscious in all this? It was waiting in the background, looking for the opportunity to get the man's undivided attention. That opportunity finally came in the hospital when Bob's conscious self became too exhausted to do much more than watch soap operas and game shows on television all day and the subconscious self, finally having gotten its way, was relaxing as well. That's when the supra-conscious seized its chance to impress upon Bob's befuddled brain the fact that he didn't need to be "the best" to see his own self-worth and, even more importantly, that he already had everything he needed to be happy right in front of him if he would only open his eyes to see it.
The supra-conscious didn't care about the consciousness' plans for success, nor did it have any stake in the mischievous subconsciousness' efforts at foiling those plans. It had a larger agenda than either of them could envision. While they were busy manipulating the external circumstances of Bob's life, the supra-conscious was busy doing the soul work that would stay with Bob for the rest of his life. And it was when the supra-consciousthe higher self or divine spark which lay at the core of Bob's beingfinally won that the war was over. Small skirmishes would still be fought from time to time, of course, as the conscious self does not submit willingly, but once the consciousness and subconscious let the supra-conscious take over, life naturally fell into place and Bob's interminable struggle was over at last.
I hope this story adequately illustrates how the different aspects of our psychesometimes in coordination with each other but usually in oppositionwork and how that explains why so many people find their life to be lacking in certain ways. Their conscious and subconscious elements are locked in mortal combat, each sabotaging the other's schemes and devising new strategies designed to enhance the personalityor ego'sessence. It is only in recognizing and observing this battle from afar that we can begin to find the peace that we seek, and in so doingand like our friend Bobfind ourselves at last.
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