If you haven’t been following along on this series, let me briefly catch you up. A few weeks ago, I lost a very dear friend and counselor. In grieving this loss, I decided it would be quite cathartic and (hopefully) beneficial to others to chronicle my work with him, here on my blog. He was truly so special and absolutely one of a kind. He offered me priceless tools for my life’s toolbox and it would be a travesty if I did not pass them on where it is possible.
Ironically, I heard a sermon today, and it made me think on my next journal entry (which began over 2 years ago) in my work with Dave.
Today, I heard a very practical and informative sermon on the issues of pornography addictions. And while, I have not struggled with this sin in particular, sin, in general, does not leave any of us unscathed.
The speaker, today, gave great advice on how to deal with and even possibly avoid addictions to pornography all together. He also spoke about helping our kids with this issue. This is obviously huge and needs to be talked about, as I am surprised at how many parents just quietly hope their kids are able to dodge the bullet of pornography without any conversations at home. We MUST be talking to our kids about this subject!
So, how did this link back to my journal entry with Dave?
While today’s speaker did a great job on practical advice such as: accountability, remembering the consequences, and developing good habits to replace the potential threat of a porn addiction, I feel he needed to go deeper.
I believe with any struggle, we must get to the root. The “why”. Why am I struggling with this issue? Weather it be porn, habitual lying, overeating, substance abuse, WHATEVER!
Dave taught me a lot about the conscious mind versus the unconscious mind.
Please remember, I AM NOT a doctor, scientist or even researcher. However, this understanding helped me considerably in my journey to health and wholeness (that I’m still on). As Dave would say, “It’s a marathon and your still running.”
Conscious Vs. Unconscious
This article is helpful in explaining the difference between the conscious and the unconscious. He defines the conscious mind in this way:
The consciousness mind is your awareness at the present moment. You are aware of something on the outside as well as some specific mental functions happening on the inside. For example, you are aware of your environment, your breathing, or the chair that you are sitting on.
This is his definition of the unconscious mind:
The unconscious mind, consisting of the primitive, instinctual wishes as well as the information that we cannot access. Although our behaviors might indicate the unconscious forces that drive them, we don’t have easy access to the information stored in the unconscious mind. During our childhood, we acquired countless memories and experiences that formed who we are today. However, we cannot recall most of those memories. They are unconscious forces (beliefs, patterns, subjective maps of reality) that drive our behaviors.
Dave explained to me that the brain has approximately 100 billion cells. At any given moment approximately 4,000 cells are firing at the conscious level. 4 billion are firing at the unconscious level.
These graphics were helpful for my understanding as well.
Ant Vs. Elephant
He gave the analogy of an ant representing my conscious mind and an elephant representing my unconscious mind.
If the ant says: “1. This sin is wrong. 2. I need to be held accountable to this temptation. 3. I need to remember the consequences of this sin. 4. I should think of other things, rather than my desire to sin in this capacity.” And the elephant says “I want to -fill in the blank-” this is what it looks like…
So, I find myself in a pit of sin, when all I wanted to do was the opposite of what I did!
I truly believe this is the very phenomenon Paul is talking about in Romans 7!
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”
Making The Unconscious Conscious
I love this quote from Swiss Psychiatrist, Carl Jung…
In other words, the ant won’t be carrying the elephant. The elephant will win and you won’t know why.
So, what is my elephant made up of? That’s the million dollar question. One that will take blood, sweat and tears to get to the bottom of. In my opinion, the motives of the elephant can’t be totally realized without the help of the Holy Spirit.
The Good News
This may be the place in which a person decides to embark on her journey toward emotional and mental health. The realization that you have been hijacked by your “elephant” for most of your life. This is the place that you begin to unpack what lies beneath the surface. This is the place that the enemy’s power (which thrives in darkness and convinces you that your sin is WHO you are), begins to lose its power. This is the place, of deliverance, redemption and freedom.
Thank you Dave!
Happy Family Friday