As far back as I can remember, I’ve seen images in the bathroom floor. While sitting on the toilet, I have noticed that the cracks, blemishes and patterns resolve themselves into mostly faces. Sometimes I see faces with bodies. Often I see cartoon-like faces, and sometimes realistic pictures emerge. It happens that the same images pop out over time like friends saying hello, occasionally over periods of years.

While looking out the window, I see these faces in leaves and trees. The wind invests the characters with life, sometimes with moving jaws as if they’re talking. Usually, I’m thinking of something else when I notice that I’m observing a character that my mind has constructed out of the foliage. It’s rare I just decide to find the faces. I’m usually seeing them, and then I abandon the thoughts I have so that I can offer them my attention.

When I was a child, the dark green-speckled bedroom wallpaper would resolve itself into snakes and other creatures that I’d feel scared of when the pictures began to form. I remember whole walls vibrating with chattering animation, soundless yet alive. Mesmerizing, terrifying.

I discovered, maybe twenty years ago, that I can suggest to my unconscious a particular animal, and then that animal will appear in the leaves or in the floor. I can request a squirrel and my unconscious will quickly piece together the random information offered by the foliage or the floor and create the squirrel.

My relationship with my unconscious, over the years, has acquired a character of its own. It’s as if my unconscious is an amalgam of the dog I grew up with, a boy, an elfin bringer of gifts, a wise mother and an inscrutable grim reaper. Mostly, my unconscious seems to want to please me. It sincerely hopes I am able to understand the clues provided me so I can accept a wonder-filled life. My unconscious seems astonishingly young, yet patient and wise.

On occasion, I ask my unconscious questions, and it will respond in the affirmative with a spine chill. Spine chills, those vibrations of the backbone, are communication of affirmation. If my unconscious approves, I receive a chill. Nonapproval or no opinion, I receive no chill. If stumped by something I’m researching, I can ask for guidance in the form of yes or no questions. If I’ve put myself in a receptive state, I receive answers to my inquiries.

In other words, I am not the creator of the words I write or the patterns I observe. I’m just a guy lucky enough to be aware that I’m adored by this creative force. I usually think it’s me, not my unconscious, doing the writing and having the insights. I know better.

If my conscious self is simply an artifact of unconsciousness, as I suspect, then evolution is quite possibly deeply informed by deliberate, unconscious intent. Differentiating science from consciousness seems profoundly arbitrary. Why separate what we can see from what we can’t?


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