Freud is sometimes credited with “discovering” the unconscious mind, but it has always been known that there is a part of the human mind that is deeper and different in nature from the aspect that dominates ordinary consciousness and thinking.
For thousands of years, it has been understood that it is possible to explore this deeper aspect of the mind through altered states of consciousness. In tribal cultures, this has been done through vision quests and other practices that have been meant to put people in an inner state of heightened knowledge and awareness. In modern industrialized society, the value of exploring consciousness in this way is not appreciated enough.
We know that human consciousness can shift. We also know that when it does shift in a certain way, there are differing modes of knowledge and perception that can be experienced. Sometimes, it is possible to know certain things that the mind cannot ordinarily perceive when that mind is in a deeper state. This is a well documented fact.
Over a hundred years ago, Freud and other Psychotherapists began to use hypnosis in order to access and study the subconscious, and the practice is still employed today. There are forms of hypnosis that can be used in a clinical setting to bring about visionary experiences of a certain kind. Like native vision quests, these hypnotic experiences can strengthen a connection to parts of the mind associated with a deeper understanding of life.
The greatest Psychologists and Philosophers have always understood that, in order to achieve true overall health in a holistic sense, hidden, subconscious issues and challenges need to be addressed. It is not enough to stay merely on the surface of things.
Some of the information associated with the unconscious part of the mind is stored in the form of memories. These memories tend to be emotional in nature and sometimes involve frightening or traumatic experiences. In some cases, these memories may be completely forgotten by the conscious mind. Even when they have been forgotten consciously, they can continue to be the root cause of fears and personal problems of a chronic nature. Someone who has a fear of fire or a fear of drowning may have some forgotten memory from many years before lying hidden in the depths of his or her subconscious mind, at the root of a pattern of thinking and behavior that does not make rational sense on the surface of things. Anyone who has ever had an issue that is associated with this kind of memory knows that these sorts of fears can be very real, and they can influence our lives in a number of different ways, even though they may not seem to have any known reason for existing. On the surface of things, a pervasive fear of crowds might be the sort of thing that seems random and pointless. But in a practical sense, such fears can create real obstacles and problems in people’s lives.
The depths of the mind are not only associated with fears and problems. There is also knowledge in the depths of the mind. As the ancient Greeks and many others have understood, this inner knowledge can help reveal hidden aspects of reality. What we know and believe about life based only on surface perceptions and thinking may be one thing. What we know when we have found a deeper inner understanding of what is real is quite different.
If all that we ever think about is what is on the surface, and the things that we need to do on a daily basis to survive and live day to day, we will never get a deeper understanding of what is real, or who it is that we really are. Modern academic and social authorities deal with this problem by acting as if the problem doesn’t exist. They claim that life has no purpose, which saves them the trouble of having to look beyond the superficial level of human knowledge and experience. But regardless of what ideas seem stylish or widely accepted by educated people in these modern times, the wisest people in human history have always known that life has a purpose and that its purpose can be found and discerned on an inner level. People who are willing to seek answers out on an inner level can and do find deep answers to important questions about their lives.
The human mind is a kind of frontier of knowledge. For people who learn how to explore it, there are fascinating inner destinations that can be visited. These areas of exploration are something that everyone should experience. They can provide answers for important questions that seem mysterious and elusive. They can even transform life as we know it.