Like the unseen bottom portion of an iceberg, most of our thoughts, fears, memories, and motivations lie in the unconscious part of our mind. The unconscious is by definition unknown, yet it produces many clues about its secrets. Dreams, daydreams, intuitions, and strokes of genius and inspiration are all glimpses of this vast treasure trove of mind stuff.
It seems counterintuitive that, as adults, we would seek out the same style of family “love” that made us so miserable in our youth but it happens too often to be coincidental. The theory of the repetition compulsion predicts that we will indeed be drawn to that kind of relationship in the vain hope that we can somehow make things come out differently. Is there also an element of our believing that we caused the problems way back when and it’s up to us to rectify the chronic interpersonal malfunctions? That could very well be. In any event, awareness of why we might seek out people and situations that have not been good for us in the past is the first step in stopping that pattern.
On Wednesday, we discussed these and other confounding patterns in our lives. We heard each other’s stories. We contemplated the implications of unconscious motivation. We discussed how awareness of unseen, unfelt, unknown inner influences can allow us to glimpse if not perceive, to "inkle" if not grasp, and to examine if not know these mysterious drivers.
Jill Bolte Taylor is the neuroanatomist who authored the astonishing book, My Stroke of Insight, after an aneurysm dismantled all function in the part of her brain that houses the ego (the left frontal cortex). She defines sanity as having a peaceful heart. Albert Einstein was the physicist who proved his outlandish theory that matter and energy are manifestations of each other (that is, they are one and the same). He defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Between these two gems of reason lies a truth that you and I can use to counteract our dreadful compulsion to repeat old, faulty scenes from our trauma-laden history. That is, if you don't have the calm contentedness you want, look for it someplace new. If you'd like help looking for those new places, come to group. We can look together.