An iceberg image is to describe our mental model. We can be aware of the tip of the enormous iceberg, while there should be a vast hidden, unknown area beneath the surface.
The tip part represents consciousness, and the other area is unconsciousness. It is a metaphor to describe our human potential. We could realize that life could be far more than we think by tapping and exploring this vast potential area.
Those figures like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are well-known in this mental model. While Freud focused more on the oppressed drives as individual subconsciousness, Jung was on the archetype as collective unconsciousness. Either way, their interest was with something beyond and beneath our self-consciousness.
Likewise, Joseph Campbell’s studies on the mythologies such as the Hero’s Journey should be part of this perspective. And Joseph Murphy’s Power of Subconsciousness could be the self-help version of the same view to appeal to public audiences.
The concept itself was not new, whether it could be unconscious, subconscious, or any other layers depending on each school and tradition. We all have noticed that certain motives or drives should control us beyond our volitions.
We feel, think, and do different things outside and beyond our intentions. The typical phenomenon should be our dreams, considering manifestations of our unconsciousness – the messages beyond and beneath the surface.
During sleep, we have dreams where we have a variety of different, weird, and enigmatic experiences. What are those things? We don’t know. That is why particular interpretations are necessary to understand the hidden meanings and messages in these dreams that can’t make sense on the surface.
Dreams have traditionally been the gateway to access something supernatural, divine, and metaphysical.
In the Bible, we can see many cases of these dreams as esoteric messages.
In Genesis, Joseph (the first son of Jacob and Rachel, Jacob’s twelfth child) knew how to interpret anyone’s dreams. Despite many ordeals he encountered, he survived and succeeded in Egypt because of this ability. The Book of Daniel had a similar storyline that Daniel (a noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem under the captivity of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon) survived amid many challenges because of his ability to read dreams.
In the Gospels, Joseph (Mary’s husband) received the messages from the angel in his dreams. On the other hand, in Mary’s case, her encounter with the angel was not explicitly in her dream. And yet, from the story, we can see the need to tame her conscious self to accept the message of conceiving the Son of God.
How about Paul? Did he meet Jesus in his dream? Not explicitly and yet, it was the case that he needed to cease controlling his conscious self. On his road to Damascus, suddenly, he received the light and the voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” And he got blinded for three days until he restored his sight by prayer, converting from the persecutor to the advocator and believer in Jesus Christ. Thus, he changed his name from Saul (Σαούλ: Desired) to Paul (Παῦλος: Humbled).
Our conscious selves always have limitations. They are full of biases, prejudices, and self-centeredness. We believe that our conscious decisions and judgments can be fair, appropriate, even rational and logical. But, the reality is far from this belief. Instead, we tend to reinforce our blinded self-righteousness.
On the other hand, our conscious selves had tremendous contributions to free us from various superstitions with biases, prejudices, irrationalities, and cruelties. That’s true. Once, however, it goes to the extreme, we become overconfident (like Saul) and lose sight of seeing the values of what we can’t know consciously.
How can we make a balance between both consciousness and unconsciousness?
It is not a matter of balance but more on the limitation of our conscious selves. For example, any esoteric messages are by themselves nothing wrong with them. However, they become harmful, even cruel and brutal, when we make erroneous interpretations with our conscious selves alone.
Let me repeat the words. As the messages from our unconscious realm, they are not wrong in themselves. It can be harmful, cruel, and brutal when our conscious selves make selfish interpretations. This way, they are no longer esoteric messages but mere manipulations.
Our conscious selves are limited. We can seldom foresee the exact futures. How carefully we make them, we almost always have to change or modify them in reality on our life plans.
The crucial moments of life are not the things we planned and anticipated. These are, by nature, always unexpected. In other words, they are beyond and beneath the surface of our consciousness.
Did you imagine who you are and what you do now beforehand? I hope you didn’t. If you didn’t, you encountered the crucial moments of your life unexpectedly and grabbed or embraced these moments by trusting something unknown beyond your conscious surface and shallowness.
Saul (Desire) never thought of changing his name to Paul (Humbled), converting himself from the prosecutor to the advocator. Joseph never imagined his life in Egypt. Daniel didn’t, either. Likewise, Joseph and Mary never thought of what would happen to them, yet they embraced the crucial moments.
We call them God’s will that we humbly accept and embrace them selflessly even though many unknown factors make us fearful.
In the crucial moments, those people in the Bible heard the voice saying, “Fear not.”
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.Matthew 1:20
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.Luke 1:30
Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.Acts 27:24
Do you have your crucial moments? Yes, you have. But then, let’s be careful with the manipulations from both inside and outside. Beyond and beneath our selfish shallowness, we must embrace God’s will selflessly. And yet, we tend deceptively to use it to fulfill our selfish desire. We can learn these mistakes from our human histories.
First, we must humble ourselves selflessly to be fearful enough to accept and understand something beyond and beneath our shallowness.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.Proverbs 9:10
And somewhere in our lives, there must be the crucial moments when we hear the voice saying, “Fear not.”
Let’s embrace the moments fearlessly.
Image by Randy Rooibaatjie