By the psyche I mean the apparent ‘headspace’ in which I — and you, as the ‘I’ reading these words — actually exist, complete with its conscious parts and the rest. Everything that can enter into your awareness is already present somewhere in the psyche. If not, you could never become aware of it.
What’s in there?
Well, there’s typically perception of the environment (to a greater or lesser degree), a focus of attention (for example, at this moment I am focused on what I am typing and since I’m not a touch typist any more, the keyboard), sounds, other sensations, there’s what’s seeing all of the above, there’s thoughts of various kinds, and occasionally — for some, frequently — emotions.
Thoughts can be discriminated by their location in psychic space. For the author, intentional thought – reasoning thought – is at the level of the perception. If there is an up and a down in psychic space, then I the perceiver am near the top, and my reasoning thoughts are at my level.
Then there’s automatic thought. Automatic thought is just that – automatic – and not (at first) under conscious control. These are the thoughts that just are there. For the author, these thoughts are down and to the right, roughly in the lower right quadrant of the psychic space. However, their origin would appear to be what (in the body-sensation) would appear to be the belly, or just above it, where emotion is felt.
Automatic thought implies mechanical. These thoughts are just that, mechanical, automatic, the product of an automaton. They usually come from some process rummaging through the memory.
They can also appear to be about future concerns, but this is not the truth. No thought can be about future concerns because the future is not here yet, and when it arrives it is the present and not the future. Apparent future concerns are fears or troubles of the past projected into a non-existent future by the automatic thought process.
the I clue
There’s one very important clue in distinguishing the nature and origin of thoughts. Do they have the form ‘I didn’t know… I want to… I thought he/she… I don’t want…’.
Do they contain the claim ‘I’?
Because if they do, they are from a self. They are not from the true I reading these words.
The true I never needs to label itself as ‘I’ — because it simply already is.