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Barriers in the Stream of Life


Life is a stream. Infancy a spring whose waters drop from rocks to form a pool and overflows in a rivulet. Youth is a brook, sparkling and dancing on its way; maturity a river that grows broad and deep as it flows toward the sea. When life’s development is unhindered the stream flows smoothly, expanding in breadth and depth. But when obstacles dam its course, its waters divide and may spread over lowlands or sink into the ground. Human life can be damaged by barriers that thwart its development. When this is done, emotions may become frustrated, mental powers weakened, reason twisted and the purpose of living lost. Memories of hurtful experiences may be barriers which dam the stream of life. Such memories usually are crowded into the dark area of the Deep Mind, or Subconscious, where they can produce stress sufficient to affect the health of both mind and body. It is well that we understand the various areas of our minds, so that we shall better know ourselves.


At birth the baby’s body is functioning automatically through the reflex mechanisms which are built into the more basic parts of the mind. The baby has had no contact with the outside world except the traumas and emotions of the mother while it was in the uterus. These have started a beginning of its relationship with others. After birth it is not as fortunate as some animals. It is not able to care for itself and is completely dependent upon those about it for satisfying its needs for food, shelter, love and protection. Through its contact with its environment it perceives a friendly, loving atmosphere or an uncertain or hostile world.


The baby is born with certain basic drives or instincts which come from what we call the unconscious mind. These seek expression. At an early age the baby experiences the world around it. It develops and adjusts to this world. This adjusting, maneuvering, thinking, realizing and planning part of the mind that develops, we call the consciousness.


This consciousness becomes the buffer between the drives of the unconscious and the outside world while it also becomes the coping mechanism with which it deals with pleasures and pains, hardships, problems, and misunderstandings with people and situations.


The more loving, appreciative, open, and free the environment which enables the child to understand the restraints placed upon it, the more wholesome will be the child’s development, both at home and at school and play. The greater the development of the conscious mind in regard to its stability and adaptability, the more sure is the child’s foundation of life.


Comparative areas of the Conscious and the Unconscious Mind might be made by drawing a large triangle to represent the Unconscious or Subconscious Mind, then drawing a line across the tip of the triangle to make a smaller one to represent the Conscious Mind. The illustration of an iceberg floating in the sea is also used, its nine tenths below the one tenth above the water, the Conscious Mind.


The Mind is one, however, and the Conscious and Subconscious work together like capital and labour. The Conscious Mind might be likened to an executive. Here is the power of thinking, reasoning, planning, purposing and willing. The plans of the executive are sent down to the Subconscious Mind which might be called the construction engineer, who acts upon the ideas given it. While the Subconscious Mind uses material sent to it by the Conscious Mind, it has great power over it, for it may refuse to act upon suggestions given it. This is true when the action called for is associated with some experience that has caused pain to the Subconscious. The Conscious Mind may have forgotten the hurtful incident but the Subconscious does not forget. Incidents which have caused deep emotional feelings are most likely to be indelibly impressed on the memory for feelings are stronger within us than reason.


The deep Mind, or Subconscious, seems to be a filing cabinet where every thought, act and experience of life is stored. Yet, the deep mind is not static like a filing cabinet but rather, as ever moving waves of the sea, it continually washes up onto the shores of remembrance fragments of past experiences. Every day of our lives we are sending material down to our deep minds. Although an incident may be lost from the Conscious Mind, it remains in the Subconscious, a powerful influence in our thinking and behaviour. We are directed by our inner urges, while these are coloured by our experience with the outside world. Altogether, this constitutes the basis of life. On this basis we act. The circle widens until it takes in the world about us.


The Subconscious Mind influences our actions, as well as governing the functions of our bodies. It influences our nerves and emotions. This explains why our faces get red when we are embarrassed, why we get sick at the stomach when repulsed, and why we get cold and shaky when we are frightened. Powerful interaction; we entertain a thought, this produces an

emotion and the emotion causes a physical response.


Although the Conscious Mind tries to forget, the Subconscious does not forget anything. So every new experience we meet becomes coloured by the memory of experiences which were comparable.


When an object is pushed down into mud and buried there, we cannot see the object that is buried but we see the bulges of mud where it was pushed down. Such bulges indicate a person's sore spots. They are the doctor’s lead to the cause of his patient’s illness. As more and more unhappy memories are pushed into this area, it becomes so unpleasant that the

Conscious Mind shuts out recognition of it and tries to deny that which is hidden there. As we refuse to admit the light of recognition and fail to incorporate these experiences into our lives, shrinking from them because we do not want to face them, they ferment a toxin potent enough to make us ill.


Children who are continually criticized and scolded, without love, whose efforts bring them no word of approval, usually react in one of two ways. One type may become belligerent, rebelling against parents, school and civil authorities. Such as these become the outlaws of society. Feeling the world is against them, they fight back. Since feelings are more intense

than reason, they strike out even at those who would help them. Such as these fill our jails and penitentiaries.


The second type are the submissive ones. These usually remain within the framework of society but are stunted. Like a tree that has been whipped by storms until its branches are twisted, such persons often are warped in their thinking. Fearful, they draw back and become secretive. Their self confidence is weak. While they seldom hurt anyone, they lack the self assurance to succeed at anything. These are the defeated ones whose energy is spent in dodging the blows of life, runners in life’s race with both feet tied together.


The hurts felt by a child often are out of proportion to that which an adult might feel. A child’s world is small and when his world is shattered, his whole life is broken up. The fact to remember is this: the emotional impact of a childhood trauma remains in the Subconscious Mind of the individual with the same emotional impact of its first occurrence, even throughout years of adult life, or until it is understood and released. Emotional experiences pushed into the deep mind and buried there evoke an emotional response in us whenever we face a situation of like nature in later years.


We have failed and we dare not try again.

We have fallen and we are cautious.

We have been hurt and we are fearful.

Betrayed, we dare not trust.

Beaten in competition, we shrink from rivalry.

Whipped by larger persons, our self confidence is injured.

Scolded, we cower.

Made to feel we deserve to be punished, we try to punish ourselves.


The more traumatic experiences a person has in which he is unable to cope, the more prejudices and biases he has. Intolerance of the wrongdoings of others indicates a similar weakness in one’s self.


A person who thinks he has no such weaknesses might answer the following questions. If he must answer in the affirmative to many of these, he should examine himself to find the cause of his responses.


Do certain people rub you the wrong way?

Do you bristle when some topics are discussed?

Do you avoid certain topics, persons, or places?

Do you feel sorry for yourself because you have been mistreated?

Do you feel the world is down on you, that nobody loves you?

Do you mull over grievances?

Do you draw away from people, fearing they may hurt or overshadow you?

Do you feel people do not understand you?

Do you feel you are not appreciated?

Do you feel you never can do things as well as others?

Do you feel that the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders?

Are you hesitant to speak your mind when you feel you are right?

Do you give in without standing up for your rights?

Do you justify all your reactions as the result of the way you have been treated?

Are you afraid to start a project for fear you cannot finish it?

Do you shut up like a clam, or explode like a volcano?

Do you feel poor and unworthy?

Do you long for the good things of life, but feel they are not for you?

Do you think mishaps are punishment meted out to you?

Do you dream of a Utopia far away and draw away from the world about you?


The foregoing information, written by a psychiatrist, should help in understanding persons who suffer from deep emotional distress generated from the barriers planted in their subconscious minds from childhood. They should experience greater freedom after understanding the cause of their problems and overcoming them. Hypnotherapy is one of the keys to accessing the subconscious mind and releasing the person to freedom.


Excerpt taken from: “Positive Living Through Inner Healing” by Genevieve Parkhurst



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