Balancing Acts

Bettering ourselves requires introspection. Our thoughts can have a powerful affect upon our external reality, and lot of time can be spent in our heads. Unfortunately, thought alone is not enough to change our behavior.

We must remember the importance of balance. For all the work we do to modify our internal beliefs, we must support them with a physical action. The physical world exists for the reason of obtaining experiential knowledge.

Although some knowledge can be acquired by observation, there is still a lot of information missing. It’s like reading a map to find a destination vs. physically driving to the destination. You have an understanding of where you are going, but a lot of detail is missing and can only be gained by going there physically. This is why it is simply not enough to understand something. There has to be an action component to create a bond between the internal and external world.

This bond also links the conscious to the unconscious part of our mind by activating the senses of our body. Our senses are under control of the unconscious. The more of our senses are involved while we experience a situation, the greater the impact the experience has on our total psyche (conscious and unconscious).

Sigmund Freud believed our conscious is only the tip of the iceberg, and that the unconscious is the largest part of our minds. All of our senses along with thinking must be integrated in order for change to occur at the level of the unconscious, which is where the majority of our behaviors reside.

However, thought and understanding are not enough to change unconscious desires and behaviors. For instance, we may know smoking is bad for our health and have observed the effects on others. Yet, somehow this knowledge is still is not enough to motivate some people to relinquish the habit. This is because the unconscious, the largest part of our mind, has been unaffected by this knowledge.

Also note that the action must be proportional or greater than the benefit gained by the individual for performing the now undesired behavior. If this is not the case, the unconscious will continue to perform in the manner it’s accustomed to, creating conflict with the conscious part of your mind.

This is not cause for despair, because the impact of your actions to change an undesired behavior is cumulative with continued practice. Eventually, you’ll reach the threshold necessary to impact the unconscious in a positive way.

Like a snowball that gets bigger as it rolls down the mountain gaining momentum, so does the consistent practice of positive behavior have on increasing impact on the unconscious.

So, remember to start small and practical. Be creative as you want with your actions. If you have a self image problem, write yourself letters about the things you like best and mail it to yourself. You’d be surprised by the physical response that you trigger in yourself once you receive the letter.

Customizing your action makes the act more personal and has a greater impact. Most importantly, remember to be patient as you continue to grow. Alignment of the conscious and unconscious is essential for continued spiritual development.

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” - Epictetus

Roderick Watkins is a Certified