Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who's in Charge? A Visit from the Spirit of Transformation

Some people maintain that we're in conscious control of our thoughts and reactions, but Ho'oponopono suggests otherwise.  

In fact Ho'oponopono posits that we are run by information that is so far unconscious we don't have a clue what's going on.  The "information" running us can come from generationally-transmitted memory, or from Divinity as inspiration.  We never know which it is.

As a psychiatrist, this intrigues me.   Many psychotherapies aim to make the unconscious conscious -- hoping that by so doing, people can gain insight into their emotional troubles.  Healing is then possible.  Even cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is built on the idea that negative ideas about ourselves [negative self-talk] is what drives our sour emotions.   Yecchy, self-critical thoughts result in yecchy, depressive emotions and mood states.  Interrupt the cycle and you can interrupt the depression.

We hope.  :-)

A recent experience showed me how clueless my conscious intellect is, and how rapidly my unconscious can take over.

One balmy Phoenix evening this last week, I was leaving my friends' home after a visit.  We were still on their front porch, in lingering conversation -- the front door wide open.  We were relaxed, feeling good.  Two of the men had walked out ahead of us.

Suddenly down by my left ankle I heard a high-frequency rattle (or a sprinkler going off, if you were one of the guys).  Immediately my insides went cold, all senses alert.  "DANGER!"  cried my adrenals, before anything even registered in my mind.

In a split second, my body sprang off the front porch, every muscle focused on escape.   "Shut the door!" I yelled to my friend.  She slammed it hard, not exactly knowing what I was screaming about.  Mentally, I didn't know either.

Safely away from the sound, my brain kicked in that it was a rattlesnake . . . shown in the photo above.  Of course, this was taken safely from the front, not within a foot of the creature where our legs had been.  

The men ahead of us thought the sound was water, or sprinklers going off.  To them, we must be getting wet -- otherwise why would we be jumping around like that?

How funny that THEIR memories framed what they saw as "sprinklers going off, women getting drenched."  And mine, seemingly, were full of reptilian threats and the instinctive need to MOVE.  


There is no reasoning to what happened.  I stood out on the sidewalk taking things in, amazed at how rapidly all had transpired.  I wondered how my friend's husband, now standing in his front yard, would get back into his house.  (As if there was no longer a back-door entrance -- had ALL my intellectual reasoning vaporized?  Yes, at least for the moment.)  

Maybe my ancestors had more experience with "Snake!" than theirs did, and some of my 11 million bits of unconscious data had me leaping off the porch before anybody said "Boo!"  My body made the choice before my brain even thought what to do.

When snakes visit private homes here in Phoenix, the Fire Department will come and help the critters go back to the desert.  Thank heavens they could do this, and not hurt the snake.  S/he was just looking for a calm place to rest, after all. 

This situation of "11 million bits of data" goes on constantly, and there are more computer programs running in me than anyone can ever count.  From time to time, some of these come out to be seen, like "SNAKE!" This particular program/memory had me springing to safety . . . but what of all the others that don't? 

Time for more cleaning, and humbly realizing Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len really knows what he's talking about.  Also, thank you to the rattlesnake for this demonstration of who's really in charge -- surely not my conscious mind!

By the way, according to Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, the rattlesnake is the healer, transformer, and the spirit of life and death.  It is not really aggressive, since it will warn before striking.  "The rattlesnake," he writes, reminds us to be alert to warnings and to alert others before we strike. . . .   And when it appears as a totem or messenger, we can expect opportunity for healing our life and transforming our world."  

With that, I leave you to ponder, my dear Ho'oponopono friends.

Peace begins with me,
Pam