control

“Touch and Goes” and Unconscious Control

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In learning to pilot or control an air plane there is the practice of landing and then taking off without stopping over and over to master those two skills. This is called  the “touch and go” In the air wing of the navy we also used  this term to mean falling asleep and startling oneself awake  from the muscles relaxing in your neck causing your head to drop. Basically fighting to stay awake.

I think this is a good analogy for what we as humans deal with all day, coming in and out of consciousness. One minute we are coherent and clear minded the next we are raving lunatics and feel completely out of control. I imagine that many readers of this might think this as evidence of this universe being completely random universe and life is a roll of the dice. Completely out of our hands and others still saying this is simply not true and that we are awake when we are awake and asleep when we are asleep. The universe is black and white to them.

All are entitled to their opinion, as am I.  And in my opinion the awareness of these touch and goes or the fact that we are continually going in and out of consciousness, is evidence of us being a step closer in understanding how things really work. It is neither good nor bad it just is, and we are better for knowing it.

How are we better you might ask? We must consider the phenomenon of habit forming in human nature to see the benefit. It is a well-established fact that people are creatures of habit; if we do anything enough times with sufficient duration consistently it will become our habit and the stronger the emotions tied to it the more persistent the habit. Once something becomes habit it is done unconsciously and effort is then needed to stop doing it. It is not hard, I think, to see where this phenomenon, if guided, could be very useful. And especially in regard to being unconscious.

Let me pose a question; in our moments of unconsciousness, are we in control of our actions? I fear in this victim rich society of ours, most would answer that question in the negative. However, I believe the answer is yes and no. Let me clarify; when we are unconscious we are by definition unaware of what we are doing or what is going on around us, and to be in control one must be aware of the circumstances of which they are to control. So by this reasoning, in moments of unconsciousness one cannot be in control. But if we use the human affinity for habit forming we can insure that when we are unconscious we are doing what we would consider appropriate for the moment. We simply consciously form habits that work for our benefit while we are unconscious.

For example; I have found that I was constantly reacting with hostility towards those who criticized me, whether it was constructive or just petty insults, it did not matter. Now, is the reaction triggered by the critiques? I think not. It is much more reasonable to say that the reaction was not the habit but that the reaction was a symptom of my habit of viewing myself as always being deserving of criticism. Please consider this for a moment, before you continue reading.

Maxwell Maltz wrote a book entitled Psycho-Cybernetics in which he explains that a person’s life is fully determined by what they believe about themselves he calls it their self-image; what type of person they imagine themselves to be. He explains that most people don’t even know they have a self-image and so have had very little conscious input into what it contains. The kicker is that if they want to do anything at all they have to be able to imagine themselves doing it successfully. If you can’t really see yourself doing something you won’t be able to do it.

So, when I am continually, by habit, programming my self-image to be that of a guy who needs correction. I am attracting into or creating people, things and situations in my life that prove my self-image to be correct. This is also backed by the idea of the “law of attraction”. Whatever we focus on we invite into our lives.

So what’s the solution to this lack of control when we are unconscious?… We must simply create a self-image that supports all that we want out of life and all we want to be, and one that does so ceaselessly throughout the constant “touch and goes”.

And how do we create this self-image?  The answer is in the name self-image or self-imagine. One must use one’s imagination and imagine themselves to be the type of person they truly want to be and therefore see themselves acting and reacting like that person would act and react in similar situations.

The action steps are this: Take the time to figure out who you want to be and how that person acts on a daily basis, in all the situations in which one might find one’s self. Then focus on the image of yourself as this person. Focus on this image as often and for as long a duration as possible until you feel without a doubt that that image is who you truly are.

There are many ways to go about doing this. One that I use and like is the practice of repeating an affirmation that evokes the image of your ideal self for 5 or 10 minutes the same time every day for 90 days. As it is rather difficult to sum up an entire person in one affirmation and we all have our own areas that we need work in, one will find that they end up doing this with numerous affirmations over time.

What this repeating of affirmations in this regimented fashion does is get you in the habit of imagining yourself as you want to be for 5-10 minutes at a time. And believe me that is more than enough time. However, most will find that when you have been repeating the same affirmation for 10 minutes the thought will tend to linger for a few more unconsciously, an indication that the message of the affirmations, whatever they me be are getting through to the subconscious.

After 90 days of this you find you will find that you begin to both consciously and unconsciously act and react the way the affirmation you added to you self-image dictates. In this way one can engineer an entirely new and better life. And all through the “Touch and Goes” of life, your habit of imagining yourself self as your ideal self will ensure that you always act and react as the best version of yourself would. You will have accomplished the impossible, being in control, even without being conscious.

In the navy to land on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, using the arresting cable, (the cable across the deck the stops the planes) is know as a controlled crash, and seeing as touch and goes are the way they practice these controlled crashes, and the term crash can also mean to fall asleep or unconscious it is fitting to say that this is a way to master the controlled crash.

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