Stage Three: Discovery of the Unconscious
We make dramatic changes in the next two developmental stages of our spiritual growth. In Stage Three, we realize in more ways that what we believe and value are culturally formed and influenced. We question what our values would be if we were somehow independent of all social and cultural conditioning. Our behavior, often to our surprise, does not follow the belief systems that we profess externally, and we question some of these aspects of our spiritual and internal lives. We begin to observe that we do things unconsciously and we question ourselves about our motives or intentions. There are different parts of ourselves that we access or use when convenient—work behavior at work, family behavior at home, religious behavior at church. Because we realize we have multiple kinds of motivation and intention, we question the reality of dualistic thought, especially when we encounter other persons who give high value to things we give little value. The world now appears to us as a pluralistic system of competing ideologies. Cultural and social conditioning in our institutions and structures becomes highly visible to us. Life has a mysterious quality that emerges because we cannot always see the link between what we believe and our observations of how the world “works.” In our spiritual life we recognize the mystery of God, yet we still function with dualistic thought and behavior.
If we are in Stage Three:
- We discover that we have a subconscious and unconscious part of ourselves, and that when they are left unacknowledged, we react to them constantly in our conscious life.
- Once we begin to pay attention to the unconscious part of ourselves new awareness breaks through to our conscious mind.
- We are able to self-reflect on our consciousness and our various mental states. Of these various mental states, we consider some to be spiritual.
- The undifferentiated interior being of Stage One evolves into awareness of the mind, the function of intelligence, the ego, and the will. Our understanding of the relationship among these interior forms of consciousness is rudimentary, but evolving.
- We are able to question the reality of dualistic thought. Dualistic thought gradually incorporates pluralistic thinking.
- Faith enters into the process of becoming an attitude and an understanding of God rather than a belief about God.
- Cultural and contextual conditioning are more apparent to us.
- Devotion recognizes mystery but not the fullness of our relationship to God.
From The Readings
2011-141 (Is there anything I can do to feel less anxious?) First you must understand that you cannot leave the path that you are on. Your choices will always bring you forward in your development and growth. So there need not be anxiety about remaining on the path or falling off the path. Second, there are times when the body and the mind must assimilate what has been learned. This process of assimilation can sometimes feel empty if you compare it to physical activity or mental activity, but this is not the complete truth. And so the ego may begin trying to grasp and take control of what is being felt or what is being taught. The only way to drive out the thoughts is for the ego to create anxiety that changes the focus of the body and the mind. You can see this in the parables and stories of Jesus’ healings when he drives out the demons. It is a descriptive way of describing how the process works. The ego can drive out the awareness of God, even though God is present. So then the ego must be driven out if it becomes demonic. So in a sense, you can drive out the anxiety through prayer and healing, just as if it were the casting out of a demon.
2011-142 (Why do I feel so tired? Is it because of this process?) This is a very important realization that you have just achieved on your own. The spiritual battles that occur in the mind and the body are very fatiguing. You can know by the fatigue that the battle is occurring. But when the body receives rest or achieves rest, it means a period of assimilation has occurred. (Is rest the same as sleep?) In many cases it is but there must be attention paid to the unconscious through the dreams and the other ways that Christ consciousness can speak to you, your higher self can speak to you. If you ignore this for too long then anxiety and other things occur as a means of calling your attention to the issues that exist.
2011-143 (Jeffrey doesn’t seem to be going through this same process. Is it because he has already gone through it?) Everybody has different stages. For some people, it may feel more emotional. For some people it can be physical. For some it can be mental. The being adjusts according to the needs of the person. And you must understand when we say the “being,” we are talking about the larger being, the higher self, the Christ-consciousness of the being. In this plane of existence, in the world, there is the perception at times that there are beings who are not having to deal with the developmental components of this level, but that is not true. All beings existing in this plane, and growing and developing in this plane, are dealing with similar developmental issues.
A brief summary of the dream referred to in the following reading: Jeff travels to Georgia [in the Soviet Union] and goes into an office building where there are several men. Most of the men are young, self-confident, and successful salesmen. There is an older man dressed up in a suit who is the office manager. He’s talking about something that doesn’t matter, yet all of the younger men build him up as if he’s saying something of value. The old man trips over the feet of one of the younger men and no one has the strength to help him get up. Jeff knows he can lift the man so he goes over to help, but as he gets closer, he can hardly stand the stench. The old man smells like something rotten.
2012-71 And here we come to the dream from this afternoon. We can see that Georgia is a place that has held fear. So rather than being in a geographic place, you must understand this as a place that holds fear. This is the state of fear. And so in the dream, Stelli and Jeffrey go into this state, and it may be that just like the dream, one goes because of a sense of purpose and because of a sense of moving into a different ministry, a different way of engaging the world. So we have Jeffery gradually coming out of the time, having to break out of the world of business to explore his creative side; having to learn how to channel his creativity—his writing, his ideas, and his sense of purpose. And then there is the further coming out of his spirituality and understanding the purpose and the ministry of the life. And then we have movement into the world. And so the first place that he moves into the ministry is like the family of origin. So we carry the journey of the realized self, the authentic self, back through the stages of life to move into the present. So we go to the state of being oneself with the beginnings of the business side, and eventually we’ll go through the period of life where the authentic self must pass through the stages represented by being in charge and being in control. And it is in these stages that the release will come. These are the cycles, and these go back to the feeling of Jeffrey of when he was 18 and he said to more than one person, in a moment of true authenticity, that he didn’t want to have anything to do with business. And so then we see there must be the work in relation to business and money, responsibility, accountability, and understanding all of these things in relation to being held, the authentic self being held. So in this state of fear, this state of Georgia, he’ll find the other fear, the manager of the fear; the office manager of the fear who works beyond his true usefulness placed there by the parts of the self that want to respect and want to honor or acknowledge the experience of the older person. Yet, they are unable to tell it the truth. They cannot tell the man the truth. And so this is the limitation of the style, the method, the understanding of the astute businessmen; so engaging, extroverted, appearing to give self-esteem. But the building up of the person, if not carefully understood, is the controlling of the person for their own ends. This is what keeps them alive in the psyche. They can’t tell the true self the truth because the real truth is they’re not needed. They don’t have anything to sell. The material well-being that they experienced was not truly well-being. The lifestyle can be an empty lifestyle. And if one is not careful, one experiences the finer things of life without really appreciating or valuing the creativity, the purpose of those who create the finer things. And Jeffrey encounters this. His strength is such that it hurts the respected, the knowledgeable, the honored person who sits in a seat of proximity to power but is not really the power. And of course, the false image, the image that’s been supported by all the men who want sympathy. He’s hurt. And he tries to come too close, he steps on the feet and falls down, as he should. And the others can’t raise him up simply because they don’t really have the authority and power to raise up a person they’ve built up with false understanding. They built him up without an authentic acknowledgement of his personhood and so they can’t lift him. Here is Jeffrey. He has the power to lift him, but even then, the smell is like the rotting of the person; the person who has allowed himself to be placed in a position of honor that is not truly being honored; a person who has allowed himself to be treated with only the appearance of respect; a person who is not wiling to hear the truth, and so prefers the false voices of support. But Jeffrey, who has gone to the state of fear, to the place where he is accepted, can finally see all the false structures that exist. He can see the false means of support and see the difference between what is authentic and what is really spoiled, what is really the veneer of the surface. It’s just the appearance. Only when he gets close enough to try to lift it up, can he really see and smell and sense what it is. It’s a part of him that doesn’t have a part; the part of him that’s not authentic; the part of him that’s supported by false personalities and false, hollow beings. So this is why the smell wakes him up. And this is a key part of understanding dreams that is often overlooked. And that is that one wakes up at a specific moment as that is the moment to wake up—to wake up to the reality being expressed by the dream. In this case, the Jeffrey who is present in the dream, who is conscious of the other people and things, the Jeffrey moving into the state of fear—this is the authentic self. And the authentic self, when it encounters what is false, what is spoiled, what is superficial, what has been done to mask the true nature of things, must wake up.
2012-165 In your own life, your own struggles, and Jeffrey’s life and in Jeffrey’s struggles, in moments of calm or in moments of equanimity, you are able to identify the struggle between the ego and the higher self. But in moments of difficulty and pain, of depression, of anxiety, there is not the recognition of what part of the self is producing the anxiety. You will come to understand what part of you points in what direction. What part of you can control and initiate feelings and emotional reactions, and what part of you is experiencing these feelings and emotional reactions? For now it is good to say that is it not always the same part of you that reacts or feels. The human experience tends to understand or believe that it is only one being that has these experiences, and that the one being understands or experiences all the same things. But just as your thinking and understanding can be divided into many parts, so too can your emotions and your feelings be segregated to different parts of your emotional being, or different parts of your thinking being. Understand each bit of anxiety or fear according to the place or the location inside of you, in the unique content of your human personhood. This is why it is so common for one to say, “A part of me wants this and a part of me wants that.” But one doesn’t stop to consider which part is speaking.
2012-178 There will be important changes for Jeffrey in the months ahead. Every effort should be made to be very stable. There are two things happening: One is that he is being touched at a deeper level by events and people, and the emotional content of his life will be very high. It is important to remember that human beings do not really have control of their emotions. They can suppress them and hold them, but the emotions are still present, even when not expressed outwardly. For Jeffrey, these emotions will be positive and they indicate change. Secondly, emotions tend to point to areas of weakness. This is very relative, but important because they show areas where the attention should be brought in order to understand the symbolic content of everything that is happening in the moment. For this reason, it is good for Jeffrey to be studying the symbolic content of his dreams, of the things he reads, and the things that he writes, and how the symbolic content holds archetypal forms that are deeply embedded in the consciousness. More will be breaking through. He will tend to notice this in the things he reads and watches, the things he sees. But just like all other psychic content, it is good to remember that these come from within him or within human beings. This is one of the reasons he feels content to just talk about the Bible this Sunday because the symbolic content is so high. He can just stand and ask questions of himself and speculate about the meaning. All of these things will help expose the meaning to everyone present. Because the content is symbolic, he doesn’t have to worry about whether it is understood or not, because the symbol or the form that arises in each person will show them according to their own need and according to their own understanding.