Chapter 6: Encountering the Unconscious
So what to do to encounter the unconscious? As far as Freud is concerned the encounter is impossible: because it is unconscious, how can you encounter it? The question means the same as if someone says, “How to see in darkness?” Mm? The question is irrelevant, meaningless. If you put it in this way, “How to see in darkness?” and if I say, “With light,” then the question has not been answered at all, because you ask, “How to see in darkness?” and if there is light, then there is no darkness - you are seeing light.
So, really, in darkness no one can see. When we say “darkness” we mean that now seeing is not possible. What do you mean when you say “darkness”? You mean that now seeing is not possible. What do you mean when you say “light”? You mean that now things can be seen. Really, you have never seen light, you have only seen light reflected in things which you can see. You have never seen light itself, no one can see it. We see only things, not light, and because things are seen we assume, infer, that light is there.
You have not seen darkness; no one has seen it. Really, darkness is just an inference. Because nothing is seen, you say there is darkness. So when someone asks, “How to see in darkness?” the words look meaningful, but they are not. Language is very deceptive, and unless one becomes careful in using language one will never be able to solve any problem. Ninety-nine percent of problems are just linguistic problems, but if you don’t know how to penetrate the garb of language you will never be able to tackle the real problem.
If you ask Freud how to encounter the unconscious, he will say, “It is nonsense, you cannot encounter it. If you encounter it, it will become conscious, because encountering is a conscious phenomenon.” But if you ask me how to encounter the unconscious, I will say, yes, there are ways to encounter it - because for me, the first thing to be noted is that “unconscious” means simply “less conscious.” So if you grow more conscious, you can encounter it - so it depends.
Secondly, unconscious and conscious are not fixed boundaries. They change every moment - just like the retina of the eye. It is changing constantly. If there is more light, it is narrowed down. If there is less light, then it widens. It is constantly making an equilibrium with the light outside. So your eye is not really a fixed thing, it is constantly changing. Your consciousness is just like that. Really, to understand the phenomenon of consciousness by the analogy of the eye is very relevant, because consciousness is the inner eye, the eye of the soul. So, just like your eye, your consciousness is constantly expanding or shrinking. It depends.
For example, if you are angry you become more unconscious. The unconscious is now more spread, and only a very minor part of you remains conscious. Sometimes even that part is not there either, you become completely unconscious. But in a sudden accident - you are on the road and suddenly you feel that there is going to be an accident and you are on the verge of death - suddenly you become conscious and there is no unconscious at all. The whole mind is conscious. And this change is continuously taking place.