Monday 28 April 2014

Checking the Negative Chorus …. the force of the silent inner witness

Sometimes we are blithely unaware of the silent inner 'witness force' - the general collective half-formed and fairly vague mental monitor occurring usually after a positive thought which alerts us to our limitation when betting against the odds, contemplating risks or otherwise perusing land outside the comfort zone. This impromptu witness alert may come just as we have a thought about what we might want to do on a larger scale than usual, or in a different mode than would at first seem easy or possible, and directly after our more daring potential plans for the future.

For sure this silent force - which we are largely not aware of as being active or influential or of taking any particular angle or shape - is also part of a safety mechanism against harm or risk or extremes (and may be missing in psychopaths, sociopaths or others) but is essentially the negative chorus which disallows us from stepping out of the known perimeters we set automatically as we go and which become entrenched by repetition - or by never attempting anything differently.

The very negative side of this pre-conscious automatic alert is the 'Dweller on the Threshold' – a Jungian term for a constant and self doubting voice that sits on our shoulder like an invisible parrot and criticises, usurps or lowers self worth … in some cases the 'Dweller' becomes personified by actual people we call to us to act as custodians or jailers of our progress. Strengthening the determination and being unafraid of wrong choices and mistakes weakens the Dweller or the negative witness presence to one of a moderate cautionary echo.  But we first have to be aware of how pro-active it is within our thought process and to note how often we think of our most unattainable hopes, painfully unfulfilled wishes, difficult potential life steps etc only to have them immediately followed by the fleeting negative or prohibitive consciousness – quick or darting as it may be – rushing over the stage of our mind or lingering in the wings like the phantom of the opera, ready to take centre and do a whole aria about the woes of what has been lost or unachieved and the nostalgia and lamentation all of that creates.

The lamenting or the sadder emotions left in the wake are not the 'witness force' itself but the gulls that follow the ship. The vultures which feed on our bleakest emotions. By the time they are present the force which leads them has been and gone, unrecognized or unrecognizable for the next time.
The time to note the negative witness at its best is probably on waking, because during sleep the downloading of inspiring information and optimistic plans is keenest, and on becoming conscious to a fresh day we are filled with not only what we must do but what we ought to do to change and progress. Not all mornings or awakenings are filled with new ideas or the rush of things not yet aspired to, but on those that are the 'negative witness' may be noticeable, vying against the stronger optimistic tones of self, the moment the desire for newness has hit top note and caught our attention. The 'witness' heckles from the rear, loud enough and sharp enough to sway our attention, even if only for a second or two. It cannot be silenced but it can be checked and understood and countered by the continued attention to what is wanted and possible. The 'negative witness' may have something reliable or sensible to contribute, but that is a separate issue. To allow it to take the main script is like allowing the rescue squad into the scene before the disaster has occurred.

Note your witness and give it understanding. To befriend it is to disarm it at all but the most crucial of times.

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