One of the scariest things about being alive is the fact that much of our behavior is driven by beliefs, assumptions, attitudes and habits of thought that are so deep in our psyche that we don't know about them.
There are many words for that deep part of our psyche: the unconscious, the deep structure, the schema, the core material. But the bottom line is it's the part of our psyche that is there and is working but of which we are not aware.
How can we become aware of the beliefs, thoughts, assumptions and attitudes that are buried in our deep psyche? Following are three ways of doing that:
Learning from your dreams
We all dream every night. Some of us remember all of our dreams and pay attention to them. Most of us remember some of our dreams and wonder about them. A few of us never remember a dream and believe that we don't dream.
Our dreams are very valuable to us because they are the messages from our mind when it is not under our conscious control. That's why Sigmund Freud called them "the royal road to the unconscious." There are various approaches to learning from our dreams. The ones I believe are most valuable help you to use the images in the dream to figure out what the dream is telling you. Almost always, it is a very valuable message that will help you live more the way you want to live.
Paying attention to "mistakes" that you make
We all make "mistakes" from time to time. We say a word different from the one we wanted to say. (I, for example, will often say "my mother" when I want to say "my wife".) We hear something different from what was said. We miss an appointment or are late. We forget something or lose something. We do something different from what we wanted to do or, at least, what we thought we wanted to do. The great majority of these mistakes have some meaning behind them. They come in patterns. They are the deep psyche breaking through. So one way of becoming aware of what is in the deep psyche is to pay attention to the mistakes and ask ourselves. "What are these 'mistakes' telling me?" or "What is the meaning behind these 'mistakes'?'
Quieting down and listening
By "quieting down", I mean finding a secluded, quiet place in which to sit, slowly allowing the tension to slide or drip out of your body, focusing on what is going inside of your body (many people focus on the breathing) and allowing your thoughts to come and go without holding onto them. Some people call this "meditation"; others call it "self-hypnosis"; others call it "focusing". There are various methods of doing it. But the basic approach is to get the internal noise level down so that you can "hear" some of the thoughts, beliefs, assumptions and attitudes that are in your deep psyche and so that you can begin to receive the wisdom that is down there.
Al Galves is a psychologist who can help you get access to the thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, attitudes AND WISDOM that is in your deep psyche. Through reading his book Lighten Up: Dance With Your Dark Side (in press - to be published in January, 2007) and attending his workshops, you can develop the skills and techniques needed to do that.