Besides the obscurity due to complex causes, this method is also
concerned with embarrassing causes which are hidden from ourselves.
How can we possibly overcome our own barriers to seeing threatening,
unpleasant causes of our behavior? First, by increasing the value we
placed on awareness and, second, by decreasing the shame and
repugnance we feel towards an unconscious motive. Just being open-
minded and honest with ourselves is all we can ask. But it takes
practice. Remember from the beginning paragraphs, the question is
not, "What am I?" but rather "How much am I this way?"
STEP TWO: Look for evidence of unconscious needs or feelings.
Surely you occasionally have self-critical or even self-destructive
thoughts: "I hate myself," "I want to be mean," "I should be
punished," "I am bad," "I'd like to die," or some very negative feeling.
Do you take risks with your life by driving fast or reckless? Do you
smoke or drink (even one beer knocks off brain cells) or over-eat? Do
you neglect a possible health hazard? Do you unnecessarily disclose
your faults and mistakes? Do you break the law and, thus, risk your
reputation? Maybe there are more of these self-defeating thoughts and
impulses than you are aware of, i.e. unconscious influences.
Surely you occasionally have very mean, angry thoughts: "I'd like
to kill him" or "I wish I could prove to everyone what a jerk he is." Do
you hold grudges and want to get revenge? What about sexual urges
and motives? Do you have sexual dreams that embarrass you (or
would if you told)? Why do lots of people fantasize about being a
prostitute or gigolo? Do you leer and recognize your sexual attraction
to people other than your current lover? ("Oh, sure," you say, "I'm
human.") Well, besides these conscious feelings is it possible that
many other sexual needs are kept in your sub-conscious?
Surely you occasionally wish to be as free as you were as a child,
without responsibility and duties, taken care of completely, held and
stroked, and perhaps even feed by breast. Do you like to curl up in a
ball ("fetal position") under a warm blanket--is that returning to the
womb? Do you wish to be powerful, perhaps handsome or beautiful,
admired or even worshiped by others? Do you enjoy beating others in
some competition, perhaps even enjoy seeing others fail sometimes?
Might you be willing to neglect the needs of some people in order to
gain advantage for yourself over others? Might this overlooking of
others' needs be an unconscious way of avoiding seeing a
responsibility you have to help them?
I am not saying you will do awful things--murder, incest, steal,
abuse, lie, etc.--but I am suggesting that maybe you have tendencies
to do all kinds of things. Not very strong, but a little... a potential.
Instead of denying all evil impulses, I'd encourage you to explore
them, see if they might be there; if so, accept them and understand
them, and keep them under better control than if they were
unconscious. Are you resisting looking for certain feelings? The more
you resist and deny any possibility of feeling a certain way, the more