In my new book, The Golden Palace, Chapter 16, there's a discussion of the unconscious mind that's been revolutionary for my own recent thinking and work. I'd like to share it here. The setting is a beautiful sitting room in the royal palace in Cairo, Egypt. The year is 1934. King Ali Shabeezar is speaking to his nephew, Walid, and Walid's best friend, Mafulla.
Ali leaned back on the sofa cushion. He said, “Something just occurred to me. Have you boys ever heard of the unconscious mind?”
“Not really,” Mafulla said, “I mean, I know my mind’s unconscious when I sleep, and sometimes in class.”
“Maybe I’ve heard the expression once,” Walid said, as he smiled at his friend.
“Well, there are many things stored in our minds, like information learned in the past, of which we’re not at this moment consciously aware. It’s in our minds for retrieval, but is not now conscious. There are also habits and dispositions that exist in the mind beyond our introspective self-awareness. You can consciously gaze within and not see them. And this is true of many other things that we take in about the world around us but that remain beneath the sweep of full awareness. We have huge resources in the unconscious mind that are not always quickly or easily available to consciousness.”
“I hadn’t thought about it like that, but this makes sense,” Walid said.
“What’s most important to realize is the perhaps initially surprising truth that the unconscious mind represents the vast majority of our mental possessions and abilities. Our conscious experience is like the very top few stones of the Great Pyramid. The rest of our mental ability is like the remainder of that huge structure, except that, in reality, the difference in the size and scope of those mental areas is much, much bigger.”
“I’d never really thought about that, Your Majesty,” Mafulla said. The king nodded and continued.
“Many things go on in our minds that we never consciously realize. There are patterns and indications picked up by deep processes of recognition within us that may or may not enter our explicit thoughts. But we can train ourselves to be more open to this deeper part of our mental activity. We can get to a point where we allow those otherwise hidden thoughts and hints to flow upward. That way, we become aware of much more than most people ever realize. Inventors do this. So do all great explorers and artists and scholars, and athletes. The most innovative scientists are very good at it. The best warriors like Masoon rely on it. Creativity in any walk of life requires it.”
Walid spoke up. “That’s connected to what we were talking about so much in the desert—the power of our minds.”
“Correct. And, Mafulla, in case you and Walid haven’t spoken of this, he and I talked much about the mind on our trip across the desert. Most people live in a terribly constricted and reduced circle of being. They’re in self-imposed exile from the best that life has for them. They can’t make the right decisions or even see the true possibilities that our world offers unless they access this deeper level of the mind. Exiles from their own greatness, they choose unhealthy relationships, pursue the wrong paths, and generally end up living in various levels of either misery, or emotional deadness. They exist on the most basic level as human beings, but they’re not fully alive.”
The king went on, as he looked over at Walid. “I’ve talked with you a great deal about the power of the mind. But it’s not just that our normal conscious awareness can be powerful. In fact, if it’s cut off from the deeper sources of thought and feeling, it will not be powerful at all. Only when we allow the deep parts of our minds and hearts to percolate upward into consciousness, and also directly touch our actions, can we tap into our true power. And only when conscious thought resonates with these deeper resources will it have its proper impact.”
He sat for a moment in silence, then said, “We have to get beyond the superficial chatter of our normal consciousness. We need to access all that’s available to us beneath the clutter, beyond the chattering voices and distractions of normal thought.” The king smiled. “We need to experience what I like to call the thought beyond thought. That’s where the deep power is.”
“How can we do this?” Walid asked.
“We calm our conscious minds. We relax our bodies and release whatever ordinary thoughts or feelings might be impinging on us. We then become open to allow deeper insights to appear. And they’re always near us, available to us, if we’ll just notice them and take them in. We’ll talk more about this in days to come, but for now, learn to listen carefully to any small thoughts that might seem to play about beneath the surface of your normal consciousness. When one appears, invite it to linger and develop in your mind.”
“This is what you do, Your Majesty?” Mafulla asked.
“Yes, it is. All the time. I want you boys to do this as well, to be sensitive to your inklings and feelings about the situations that develop around us. Never just dismiss these hints that sometimes fleetingly appear from the realm of the unconscious mind. Pay attention to them. They’re worthy of your notice. And then tell each other and me. That way, we can work together powerfully to resist and restrain those who have given in to the downward pull of evil. And that way, we can also make some very good and creative things happen.”
“Ok,” Walid said. “This sounds really important.”
“We’ll try to do exactly as you say.”
“Sure thing, Your Majesty,” Mafulla answered.
“As you seek to tap into your deeper potential, you’ll progressively grow in your ability to do so. It’s like any skilled behavior.”
“I’m sure you’re a master at it, Your Majesty,” Mafulla said.
“It’s very natural for me, and has been for many years. Just remember this. What we can know goes far beyond what most people suppose. And what we can do is just as vast.”