That dictum wa based upon the belief in a wicked self that needed to be disciplined and diverted into constructive activity. The belief in such an unsavory self stops many people from any exploration of the inner self– and, therefore, from any direct experience that will give them counter-evidence. If we are afraid of ourselves, if we are afraid of our own memories, we will block our associative processes, fearing for example that they will bring to light matters best forgotten– and usually sexual matters.
Sexuality is the only strong area of energy with which some people are connected, so it becomes the focus point for all of their beliefs about the self in general. In doing some of these exercises, we might come across images of masturbation, homosexual or lesbian encounters, or simply old sexual fantasies, and immediately backtrack because our beliefs may tell that these are evil.
We will not remember, or want to remember, our own dreams for the same reason. Many people, therefore, tell themselves that they are very impatient to discover the nature and event of the psyche, and cannot understand why they meet with so little success. At the same time, such beliefs convince them that the self is evil. These beliefs must be weeded out. If we cannot honestly encounter the dimensions of our creaturehood, we surely cannot explore the greater dimensions of the psyche. This blocking of association, however, is a very important element that impedes many people. The psyche’s organizations are broader, and in their way more rational than most of our conscious beliefs about the self.
Many individuals are afraid that they will be swept away by inner explorations, that insanity will overtake them, when instead the physical stance of the body and personality is firmly rooted in these alternate organizations. There is nothing wrong with the conscious mind. We have simply put a lid on it, allowing it to be only so conscious, and no more. We have said: “Here it is safe to be conscious, and here it is not.
Many of us believe that it is safe to make a nuclear bomb, but that it is insane to use our dreams as another method of manipulating daily life; or that it is all right to be consciously aware of our viruses, wars, and disasters, but that it is not all right to be consciously aware of other portions of the self that could solve such problems.
The idea, then, is not to annihilate normal consciousness, but quite literally to expand it by bringing into its focus other levels of reality that is can indeed intrinsically perceive and utilize.
Some exercises will necessitate variations of normal consciousness. Sometimes we may need to forget physical stimuli, or to amplify them, but nowhere stating that our mode of consciousness is wrong. It is limited, not by nature, but by our own beliefs and practice. We have not carried it far enough.