“Under all we think, lives all we believe” (Antonio Machado, Spanish poet)

By Charles w. sidoti, Visit Blog: https://sidoticharles.wordpress.com/

Antonio Machado’s words direct our attention to the very center of our being. It is interesting to observe, however, that in turning our eyes inward to examine our own inner landscape (our inscape) we are not able to see much beyond the thoughts that happen to be occupying our mind at that particular moment.  It is like looking into a deep lake. We are able to see a few feet down, but what lies beyond is mysterious and dark. The words of Antonio Machado point to what lies beneath the first few feet that we can see to the dark mysterious part of our inner world below the surface and beyond our vision.  The medical world, particularly the field of psychiatry, has theories about the significance of the deep, unknown realm of our being. Religious writers, including the writers of Sacred Scripture, address it as well. I will touch briefly on both the secular and the religious theories, exploring how they are similar, and more importantly, how we might benefit by becoming more in tune with the deeper, unknown parts of our being.

Antonio Machado’s statement connects what we think, our conscious thought, with what we believe, something that is much deeper. Our beliefs reach up, influencing us from a place within, a place beyond our comprehension. A belief is different than an opinion. Unlike our personal opinions, beliefs have more to do with our unconscious mind than with our conscious thought, and they are, for the most part, inaccessible and unknown to us.

One definition of the unconscious is, “The part of mental life that does not ordinarily enter the individual’s awareness yet may influence behavior and perception.” The theories of world-renowned psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung affirm the influence that our unconscious mind may have upon our conscious thought and behavior. The idea that your own beliefs are mostly unknown to you may sound absurd, yet that is precisely what the very potent words of Machado’s statement imply.

Psychiatry teaches that one way of thinking about the unconscious mind is as a place within us that is mostly inaccessible to our conscious awareness, yet is nonetheless real. It is, at least in part, like an inner storehouse of all our experiences, good, bad, or otherwise. From within, hidden from our awareness, it shapes our core beliefs, influencing how we think and how we interact with the world. The content of our unconscious mind emerges in our dreams and intuitions.  Acknowledging the existence of the unconscious mind helps us to truly appreciate that every human being is a deep and mysterious creation, and further, a creation that is still actively evolving and growing.

Sacred Scripture often refers to the human heart, the inner life, much in the same way that psychiatry refers to the unconscious mind. Both describe something quite real, yet beneath the surface, hidden from the view of others and for the most part hidden from our own awareness. The words of Jeremiah are appropriate: “More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart” (Jeremiah 17: 9-10). Perhaps the clinical term, unconscious mind, and scriptural references to the human heart are like two sides of the same coin in that they both refer to a place within each of us that holds the truth about who we really are, influencing what we believe, how we think, and spurring us on to continual growth.

The words of Machado”s quotation, “…lives all we believe” are significant. To say that something lives within us is a strong statement. It suggests that the source of our lives comes from within our very being and that it is intimately connected to the beliefs which make us who we are.

Believing that the source of life at the center of our being is the living God can help establish a life-changing connection between our conscious awareness and the indwelling presence of God.  The words of a beautiful St. Louis Jesuit song called, Your Eyes, written many years ago suggest that we look deeply into our own eyes and listen for the affirming voice of God that speaks to us from deep within. Trusting in God’s presence within us tunes us in to the divine communication emanating from the very center of our being.

If our unconscious mind or heart is something like a living, evolving storehouse of all our experiences and all the collective moments of our lives, it is comforting to realize that God is the author and master of all those moments. God was present in all the moments of our lives when they occurred. God is present in our unconscious where they now reside. God chooses to work from within us, permeating even the deepest part of our being.

“Under all we think lives all we believe.” Our unconscious mind may always remain mostly unknown and mysterious to us, and that is as God intended it to be.  We can benefit by choosing to trust that God is present at the very center of our being. As we sense God’s subtle way of communicating to us from within, we learn to reach out in love to others, discovering that God is indeed present in and fills all of creation. “Oh, that today you would hear his voice, harden not your hearts…” (Psalm 95: 8).

The Contemplative Connection:  The next time you are in front of a mirror take a moment to look deeply into your own eyes. Consider the awesome mystery of your being, and the indwelling presence of the Living God in light of the verse from Sacred Scripture, “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).

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This article is an excerpt of my traditionally published book: “Simple Contemplative spirituality.” Click below to view and / or purchase on the publishers website: http://amordeus.com/giftShopProductDetails.aspx?itemID=520 

The Intro: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/introduction-simple-contemplative-spirituality-charles-w-sidoti-bcc?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish

The Table of Contents: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/simple-contemplative-spirituality-charles-w-sidoti-bcc?published=u

 

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