To shape our destiny we must understand the power of our conscious and subconscious mind.
The human conscious mind is an awesome and spectacular creation. The most basic description of our conscious mind is that it’s the part of our mind we are aware of. It controls our voluntary thoughts and functions. For example, if I say to you to raise your left hand in the air. That’s a voluntary function, which is controlled by your conscious mind.
The conscious mind is also the logical portion of our mind. It’s the part of our mind that has the ability to think through a situation logically, analyze it, and make a decision based on the facts. Likewise, when we evaluate past mistakes and learn from them, that’s our conscious mind performing this task. When we go through the process of setting goals for the future, that’s another example of our conscious mind at work.
Sometimes you might hear someone say, “I made a conscious decision to do that.” That’s the power of the conscious mind. It gives us the ability to consider the situation, evaluate the facts, analyze the risks, and determine what we believe is the best course of action. It also gives us the ability to put together a thoughtful plan to implement the course of action we have decided upon.
Limitation of Conscious Mind
Like the above outstanding characteristics of the conscious mind, there are some inherent limitations of it. For one thing, the conscious mind has limited memory. How often have you had trouble remembering someone’s name, or even remembering where you put your keys? Those are examples of the limited memory of the conscious mind.
Another limitation of the conscious mind is that it can do only one thing at a time. If it tries to do more than one thing at a time, it has to switch back and forth very rapidly. An example might be reading while someone is talking to you. At any given instant, our conscious mind can focus on what we’re reading, or it can focus on listening to what’s being said to us. But it can’t focus on both at the same time. As the word “conscious” implies, the conscious mind can’t do anything that it’s not “consciously” focused on at any specific moment. And that’s where the subconscious mind comes into play.
Whereas the conscious mind is that portion of our mind that we’re aware of, the portion of our mind that we are unaware of is called our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is on duty 24 hours a day, and it can handle an unlimited number of functions at the same time. It’s like a computer running in the background of our mind, constantly controlling our involuntary functions, emotions and habits. Whether we are wide awake or sound asleep, our subconscious mind is continually at work controlling all the vital functions of our body, without the help of our conscious mind.
We don’t have to consciously think to breathe, to make our heartbeat, to digest our food, to blink our eyes, and so on. Our subconscious mind handles all of that for us around the clock, whether we are asleep or awake. Our subconscious mind is constantly communicating with every cell in our body, receiving input from those cells, and sending instructions to them.
Once Difficult But Now Easy
The subconscious mind also handles all of the routine tasks that you had to learn through a meticulous process with your conscious mind. A classic example is a task of learning to drive a car. Think back to when you first learned to drive a car. At first, you had to think consciously about everything you did. But later on, it becomes a hassle-free task for you. Once you went through the conscious learning process, neuro pathways formed in your brain. And gradually subconscious mind took over so you didn’t have to consciously think about every movement or action.
The same process applies to most of the things you have consciously learned to do… riding a bike, tying your shoes, swimming, you name it. These are all examples of things you had to learn how to do consciously, through a painstaking process, but once you went through that conscious process, the subconscious mind took over, and now you can do those things without consciously thinking about them. The reason your subconscious mind learned to do those things is because you did them repetitively through your conscious mind. Repetition is one of the keys to programming the subconscious mind.
Characteristics of Subconscious Mind
The subconscious mind is the “emotional” part of our mind. It is the source of all of our emotions, including love, hatred, happiness, sadness, jealousy, envy, anger, and joy. Just like repetition, emotion is also one of the keys to reprogramming the subconscious mind. The conscious mind has a limited memory but that’s not the case with the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind has virtually unlimited memory. In fact, everything you have experienced in your life (even before your birth) is present in the memory bank of your subconscious mind… including every sight you have ever seen, every sound you have ever heard, and every emotion you have ever experienced. They are all stored in your subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind is where you hold deep-seated beliefs about yourself, including whether you see yourself as talented or untalented, intelligent or unintelligent, successful or unsuccessful, deserving of love or undeserving of love, just to name a few. These deep-seated beliefs about yourself are the result of all of your life’s experiences, including your childhood experiences.
And this is important because as adults, we often hold many negative self-concepts and beliefs in our subconscious minds that were developed in our childhood years. Children often have cruel things said to them, and these things are easily implanted into the subconscious mind of a child, and often remain there for life.
Impact on Children
These cruel statements made to children may be said by classmates, siblings, or even parents and teachers. Here are some examples:
or You’re lazy
You’re good for nothing
You can’t do anything right etc.
When statements like these are said to a child repeatedly and with emotion, these negative beliefs are easily programmed deeply into the child’s subconscious mind, and the subconscious mind accepts these negative statements as facts.
And it’s not just childhood experiences that can negatively program your subconscious mind. Negative adult experiences can do the same thing. And regardless of when the negative programming occurs, the effects on your life can be dramatic.
The beliefs about yourself that you hold deep in your subconscious mind have a tremendous effect on the reality you experience in your life. If you hold negative beliefs about yourself at the subconscious level, you will tend to experience negative realities in your life. If you hold positive beliefs about yourself, you will tend to experience positive realities in your life.
That’s because your reality will ultimately match the subconscious image you have of yourself. Let me repeat that statement because it’s such a critical point. Your reality will ultimately match the subconscious image you have of yourself.
Let’s Understand it with More Examples
#1 If you have a deep subconscious belief that you are stupid, your subconscious mind will cause you to do things that make you look stupid.
#2 If you have a subconscious belief that you are destined to be poor or that you don’t deserve to be wealthy, your subconscious mind will cause you to mishandle money, or to be drawn toward circumstances that keep you poor because that’s where your comfort level is.
#3 If you subconsciously believe you are unhealthy or that you will experience health problems, your subconscious mind will cause your immune system not to function properly, and you will get sick.
The subconscious self-image you have of yourself determines your reality. So if you’re not happy with your reality today, you need to change your subconscious self-image.
The Universal Truth
Once you transform these deep-seated negative subconscious beliefs into positive ones, your reality will change accordingly. That is the “hidden” power of the subconscious mind.
William James, the father of American psychology said, “The greatest revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of the lives”. He’s right, except that it’s not a new concept. Consider what Solomon said some 3,000 years ago “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.
So this is not a new idea. This is a universal truth that has been around for thousands of years. The problem is, we often don’t do a good job of making this universal truth work for us.
(Excerpt from one of my favorite short books ‘Subconscious Mind Power’ by James Thompson.)