Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unconscious to conscious

We are living in an age of great changes in the social consciousness. The systemic approach to the perception of the world and ourselves is causing dramatic shifts in science, especially in the fields of biology, physics and astronomy. The realisation that all that exists is a fluctuation of energy, that nothing in nature is static and that human development is influenced by the environment that surrounds us will significantly influence our understanding of structures, organisations, relationships and ourselves.
What is intuition?
- Intuition is the ability to transform our unconscious and conscious perception into conscious decisions. This applies at all levels: at the level of the individual, team, organisation and the society as a whole.
- Intuition is an ability, or rather strength of a spiritual nature. It has been known and learnt through self-induced efforts from the earliest times.
- Intuition is the immediate and instinctive perception of the truth: immediate understanding without thinking.
These realisations affirm my belief that our understanding of intuition, its development and manifestation in business and social life in general will significantly drive our environment in the future, just as innovation is driving it today. Moreover, by understanding intuition and its conscious application in the development of our lives we will expand our fields of creation and innovation to an entirely new level.

In search for the answers to "What is intuition and how do we improve and develop it" we will be opening doors to the unconscious. How does the unconscious influence our development, intuition and actions?
"The psychoanalytical process of free association transforms unconscious issues to conscious, which primarily helps us learn to recognise the unconscious dynamics of our relationships. The said process makes our relationships more fluent, which improves our lives and the lives of the people around us," says Urška Battelino. This is her story.
Urška Battelino, born on October 30th 1970, in Ljubljana, is a psychoanalytical psychotherapist managing a private clinic for individuals, couples and groups. She graduated from the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna, completed her specialisation in psychoanalysis with Janko Bohak, MSc and her supervised work experience with Branko Franzl, MSc and Emil Benedik, PhD
What are our conscious and unconscious?
Urška: After Copernicus' discovery that the Earth was round and Darwin's theory of evolution, Freud shook the scientific world with his thesis that the ego was not the master in its own home. We are only aware of a small portion of our mental self, while the rest of the dynamics is caused by the unconscious part, which means that our conscious self is not autonomous and cannot make independent decisions.

What is stored in the unconscious?
Urška: The unconscious stores all emotions, thoughts and memories that have been threatening to our conscious in the past, which is why we have suppressed them. Our resistances and defences guard the supressed issues and prevent them from breaking out from the unconscious back to the conscious. In one of his lectures, Freud compared resistances and defences with disrupting students with whom the professor deals by telling them to leave. He closes the door behind them and does not let them in the classroom, but the disrupting students continue to try to break in.

Photo: Urška Battelino
Source: personal archive

How do we experience this?

Urška: In analogy with the students who disrupt a lecture, our suppressed thoughts, memories and emotions disrupt our conscious experiences. However, the unconscious is resourceful and unyielding. It seeps through dreams, lapses of the tongue and disease symptoms.

What is the role of these symptoms?
Urška: The symptoms are a resolution of conflict between the unconscious, which is trying to break out, the ego, which is aware of its own limitations, and the superego, which is the internalisation of all our authorities and social rules and restrictions.

The I has a difficult role!
Urška: Yes, it does. The task of the ego is difficult for it serves three masters: itself, the unconscious (id) and the superego.

How does this influence us?
Urška: Everything that happens to us mentally is governed by causality, nothing is coincidental. This means that the unconscious stores all our emotions, thoughts and memories. This requires a lot of mental energy, which is why we often lack energy in everyday life.

Can we manage or connect the unconscious and the conscious?
Urška: We can. Through careful psychoanalysis [ed.: or other similar approaches] we can move unconscious issues to the conscious mind and thus become aware of them. This process is performed through free association and dreams.
Psychoanalysis deals with resistances and defences by moving from resistance to resistance, thereby becoming aware of unconscious issues and releasing a great deal of mental energy.

What influences the process of discovering the unconscious?
Urška: An individual's motivation and readiness for a journey into the inner self and discovery of its unknown parts. Clearly, this is not an easy process and not something that can happen overnight. It takes time, persistence, and obviously courage for the path to knowing oneself also leads to suppressed experiences, which can be unpleasant and can cause us pain.

Photo: Violeta and Urška
Source: Vibacom

Why is this so important?

Urška: It is important for it enables us to live as ourselves and to feel ourselves. This process releases a great deal of mental energy, which we can then use for creativity and better relationships, for our success strongly depends on how successful relationships are. An important aspect of this process is the ability to put off others' expectations and become aware of our own desires, let go of the need to please others and the dependency on their opinions; or in other words to learn who we are.

The latter is also extremely important for discovering the creative and innovative potential within oneself. Is it possible to apply the concepts of the conscious and unconscious and of the release of innovative potential to organisations?
Urška: Of course. An organisation is a delicate living organism where a lot of communication takes place at the unconscious level. This causes a lot of conflict and blockages in relationships. Once we understand the dynamics of the unconscious we can identify it within families, organisations or friendships. Fluency of communication is of key importance for it helps us in our relationships with ourselves and others.
Intuition is a comprehensive response and decision making system.
The search for new suitable approaches, methods and tools for shedding our obsolete beliefs, patterns, attitudes and perception blocking the path between our conscious and our unconscious will be an important challenge for each and every one of us. The less blockages, fears and limitations we have the more complete our lives will be and our actions closer to our essence. Our intuition will grow stronger. Everyone has a role in this world. The truer we are to our essence the closer we come to our mission. Intuition is an important ally in this endeavour. (VB)
Does intuition also exist at the level of the collective consciousness?
Urška: In fairy tales intuition often appears in the form of a dog while in myths, dogs are guardians of the underworld, i.e. the unconscious. The dog leads us through the underworld and if we follow it we find what we are looking for. Intuition can also appear in the form of a snake, which has inhabited the earth since time immemorial and symbolises healing, but it can also poison or suffocate us. Intuition is similar to the snake: if we don't hear, feel and recognise it, it destroys us. If we do, it has a healing effect. I used the example of fairy tales for they originate from our collective unconscious. They are as old as the world and confirm that intuition also exists at the level of the collective consciousness.

Thank you, dear Urška. "If we want to know the truth, we must first seek it in ourselves." "If we want to love others, we must love ourselves." "If we want to cooperate with others successfully, we must know ourselves well." We could continue listing similar truths endlessly. One thing is common to them all: they invite us to take a deep and sincere look inside ourselves and to see, feel and know ourselves. Thus, we can touch our source and our essence. We can see how different we are and sense our abilities. Discovery of the unknown and uncovering of blockages, which transform the unconscious to the conscious, will be an important step in the development of individuals, organisations and the society. I invite you on this exciting journey. I hope this article will encourage you to discover your own methods and a path to yourself, which will simultaneously pave a path to others and the whole.