Paleontologists are able to map out branchlike trails of evolution from fossil remains of individuals embedded in the earth. Flesh, organs and behavior are not so easily disinterred. There is one feature of being human that is hardly ever considered in these excavations, perhaps because it’s so little understood. There are very few researchers exploring the evolution of the unconscious.

How has the unconscious evolved over the last 5 million years? How has the unconscious/conscious relationship transformed?

I’ve lived a life characterized by a succession of passions and professions. It is far easier for me to track how my conscious experience has evolved than changes occurring at the unconscious or subconscious level. I note profound differences in my dreams and changes in feelings but successfully tracking what is out of conscious awareness offers paradoxical results because becoming aware of what I’m not aware of brings the hidden to the light of day.

Decades of study and meditation have shifted my awareness to trust and identify with what formerly I would refer to as my unconscious. Identifying with my unconscious, consciousness changes. What was hidden is experienced as present. At this experiential level, I’ve noted a transformation of the unconscious/conscious split. My experience is that the division is slowly disappearing. Much less conflict. More trust. An experience of conscious delight with what emerges from out of consciousness. A growing expectation of good things on the way.

One of the paradoxes of meditation is that the unconscious becomes experienced as larger conscious. What was out of reach, formerly feeling out of control, is experienced as intimate and present. The nature of control becomes redefined. Formerly, I felt controlled by forces I was not aware of, feeling forced to behave and feel in ways that felt frightening, enraging, depressing. Over time, I grew confused about what was and wasn’t my unconscious as I experienced that the choices I make, that I thought were unconscious, were not.

What exactly the unconscious is has a lot to do with how much responsibility we take for our choices and our experience. Awareness expands in direct proportion to experience. Our experience grows with discovery of what we can or cannot influence. Even a growing awareness of what we cannot influence can result in consciousness awareness. Paradoxical.

If there is this much fluctuation in the unconscious in a single person in a single lifetime, what might be the protocol for tracing the evolution of the unconscious over time? How do we record evidence of the unconscious, let alone evidence of unconscious change over time?


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