Today I want to share my experience with my first session of “Active Imagination”, as described by Elaine Aron in “The Undervalued Self”. Active Imagination is largely based on work by Carl Gustav Jung and intends to start a peaceful discussion with your subconscious in order to bring buried emotions to light and reframe them as well as adapt them to serve you better. Moreover, the idea is to eliminate inner conflicts and to build the undervalued self by acknowledging what has been felt, discover the reason for past and present bad feelings and show appreciation as well as understanding. The process takes 8 steps, that I want to list here shortly. For an in-depth insight into this process, which can be extremely useful in befriending your inner HSM if you want, then I recommend you to get the book “The Undervalued Self” by Elaine Aron. Just check the Amazon box on the right under recommended reads. 8 Steps

  1. Attunement
  2. Understanding
  3. Connecting to the present cause.
  4. Connecting to the past cause.
  5. A corrective emotional link.
  6. Disagreement when it is needed.
  7. Appreciation.
  8. Gentle treatment.

You go from acknolwedging the subconscious to showing understanding, together identify the causes of bad feelings, then you link (instead of ranking, since linking connects and builds the inner self) and then you disagree in a soft manner when the inner self gets too critical of itself, in order to build its self-esteem. Then again show appreciation and thank for opening up so deeply, to encourage further opening up. Talking To Yourself The idea of talking to yourself might sound weird, but please get over it and give it a try. You will certainly not regret it. So let me share my experience with you. “Not Having Enough Persistence” I started the dialogue like Aron suggests at the computer with writing small and upper case to distinguish between conscious and unconscious mind. Originally I set out to befriend my unconscious and just try to get a conversation going. I moved with the flow and saw what came up, just kept on typing to see what emotions would come out in me. It went from regretting my past relationship break up where I should have seen the signs earlier and take corrective action, my ex-gf understanding my real self better than I did myself. Then referring to the past cause I realized that there was a more general feeling of being passionate about one thing, throwing myself into it but then other people telling me in advance that it won’t take long, and I will stop doing this, because it is not really me. So just like my girl saw the inner artist and HSM while I was studying business and believed that I had to start a start-up to make millions to fit in, so did my parents know that moving into a dorm with 3 friends in Vienna (again to fit in and link) would not be the right living environment for me. Proven to the contrary? And there are multiple instances of this in the past where I threw myself into something, only to find out soon later that it did not really fulfil me. And wanting to be living a “life of purpose” since that is an important part of my masculine definition, that puts a lot of pressure on me. I discovered that I partly hated myself for not being able to just follow a course and find a purpose, that fulfils me. Instead, I am trying lots of different things only to find that they are not mine. Showing disagreement and corrective linking, my conscious mind showed however, that especially my close friends appreciate my persistence and loyalty. So I am persistent after all, and trying many things to find my purpose presents a persistence in itself. After a gentle thank-you for opening up, I feel that I strongly connected with my subconscious and now plan to go through this process of active imagination more often. It gave me a feeling of inner peace, as well as a deeper understanding of what is going on inside myself. Things came up during the session that I didn’t expect to play a role earlier. And this is of course what makes this whole process so very exciting. And revealing. Try it and let me know what happens :). – Chrisi Brand