Fixing the inner hard drive

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star. – G. K. Chesterton

AS WE move along our evolutionary path and strive to attain higher levels of consciousness, we can learn a lot. We may read, listen to enlightened speakers, meditate and even enter therapy. We learn about ourselves and about how we want to be. We may even be making pretty good progress in our growth.

Then something happens. Something occurs that annoys us or that we perceive to be unfair. We have an issue with our child or an intimate partner. Suddenly, we are angry, hurt and perhaps critical or judgmental. We are worked up, to be sure, and that calm, Buddha-like equanimity evaporates.

What happened? It would seem that ego has made an unexpected – even uninvited – appearance. Seemingly just popped up out of nowhere. How can this happen after all the personal growth and spiritual work?

One explanation has to do with how our minds function. I like to think of the mind as a little like a computer. Our conscious mind is the word processing program. Our subconscious mind is like the hard drive. If there is a virus in our hard drive, we can hardly open a document and write a note to clean up the hard drive. The virus will continue to disrupt our programs until we can fix it.

It is known that many of our drives, needs and motivations originate in the subconscious, usually having been formed years ago. Often, survival strategies we needed or developed as children persist well into adulthood, whether or not they are still appropriate. Many ego impulses originate there.

So we can do lots of work with our word processing program: reading, learning, experiencing, forming intentions and making affirmations. We look at the “‘documents” we have created and it all looks pretty good. We can surely talk the talk.

However, when our guard is down and something happens that hits a subconscious “nerve,” a reaction comes swiftly, without even passing through our “word” or “consciousness processing program.” Others may be surprised at our reaction, but perhaps not as much as we are for we thought we had evolved beyond such knee-jerk reactions.

In one sense, when these things happen, it is simply the universe shining a light on the places where we still need to work. There is still some inner healing that needs to happen so that the “security guard” ego does not have to behave like a threatened pit bull.

As previously stated, we cannot “fix” the subconscious with the conscious mind. We can work to overcome our reactions and change our behaviours, but in some cases that is like painting over rust. At first it all seems good, but one day the rust pops through again. The problem cannot be addressed at the surface level only. Some issues require attention at a deeper level.

Just as we need a special program to get into our computer’s hard drive to eliminate viruses, we also need a special technique to get into the subconscious and clean things up. One excellent way to do this is with hypnosis.

Hypnotic techniques allow messages to be received at the deeper subconscious levels so that real change can occur. It allows one to bypass all the analysis, processing, self-doubt and self-sabotage that so often undermine our best intentions.

Ego certainly can be thought of as a virus in the hard drive of our consciousness. When it causes us to think, feel and react in ways that are counter-productive and out of alignment with who we perceive ourselves to be, it is time to take action.

Very often, clients express the frustration of knowing all the right things – how they should respond – but they just can’t follow through consistently. If we find ourselves stuck in this place, it’s a sign that it may be time to go deeper.

Gwen Randall-Young is a psychotherapist in private practice and author ofGrowing Into Soul: The Next Step in Human Evolution. For more articles, permission to reprint and information about her books and “Deep Powerful Change” personal growth/hypnosis CDs, visit

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