In thinking about what has been helpful to me until now and what might still be helpful to future generations, I keep recalling a brief talk given by the late Bernard Lonergan S.J. He was the renowned philosopher in the mid-1900s whose book INSIGHT and many other books have led to the founding of Lonergan Studies Institutes In Toronto and elsewhere.
One day he departed from his usual presentation on theology to give us some tips on preparing future talks like homilies or sermons as they were called at that time. He said that when we have to prepare such a talk, we should begin by putting down on paper all the ideas that we think should be included with no concern for logical connection or relevancy. After we have noted all we want to say, then put aside our notes and turn to doing something else.
Take up these notes later, even the next day, and you will find that you will know how the thoughts should be developed and which ones should be omitted. You then are ready to begin the final presentation or almost final.
What he taught us that day went far beyond the what we understood of the sub-conscious. For us at that time, the sub-conscious was responsible for a name or word suddenly popping into our heard after being on the tip of our tongue some time previously.
What we learned that day, during the interval since the initial jotting of the notes, the sub-conscious mind had been ordering the thoughts in the proper sequence and logical importance.
I began to appreciate some years later what he taught us when I had the responsibility of producing a monthly magazine (The Canadian Messenger). For forty-three years I produced over 500 issues and the well did not dry up—thanks to the technique of using the resources of the sub-conscious. Also, at 93 years of age I am still producing articles.
May I mention that I know some others who have learned the technique from the little that I had learned from Father Lonergan. They surmised that it would require a substantial team of scientists to move the body of knowledge ahead a notch or two. They had some ideas but little confidence that they as individuals could achieve anything worthwhile. They were attracted to the problem technique of using the sub-conscious to pursue answers to what they had in mind.
They met with some success as their efforts bore fruit. A few years later they have a number of significant inventions that have been awarded United States patents. My point is that one tends to become more confident in trusting one’s own ability.
This basic understanding of the hidden mental resources of the sub-conscious will still be available when Canada celebrates future anniversaries. May it be more widely used.