Our minds can be more easily understood if you think of it as having two parts – the conscious mind and the sub-conscious (or pre-conscious/unconscious) mind.
“What your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”
The Conscious Mind:
The conscious part of the mind is the very logical, rational part of the mind. It’s the part of the mind that we think with. It’s the part of the mind that we use to weigh up situations, work out problems, it’s the part of our mind that we use on a day to day basis. It’s the part of our mind we use for our willpower. It’s also the part of the mind that we’d love to believe is in control.
If you think of your mind as if it were an iceberg, The small percentage that appears above the surface of the water would represent your conscious mind. The rest of it – the largest part that is hidden underneath the surface would represent your sub-conscious mind.
The Sub-conscious Mind:
The subconscious mind is the part of your mind that really is in control. It is the storehouse for all your memories, it’s the part that controls all your emotions, it’s where your imagination lies and it’s also the part of your mind that takes care of your habits.
The main function of the unconscious part of the mind is one of protection. It’s designed to protect us. In fact, your sub-conscious mind is responsible for keeping you alive. The urge to survive is very strong. You breathe, your heart beats, your blood pumps, you avoid danger, you walk and talk and have the urge to interact with people, but you don’t really ever have to think about these things. Every cell in your body is managed by the sub-conscious which functions on the basis of information it has previously stored.
This reactive part of the mind works on a totally stimulus-response basis and can trigger a variety of emotions in response to stimuli. Take an instance when the smell of baking bread takes you back to your happy childhood, or where the particular sound of a pop song takes you back to a disastrous holiday.
It operates below the consciousness level rather than being within your control, so you’re not always aware of it. Surprisingly perhaps, it’s possible to learn things at a sub-conscious level without realising it on a conscious level!
The sub-conscious mind remembers everything – every thought you’ve had, every word you’ve spoken, every word you’ve heard – which it records in its own memory banks.
An experience for your sub-concious mind.
Have you ever tried to remember something, searching deep inside your conscious mind, desperately trying to locate what you’re looking for? Finally you give up and go about your business.
Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, up pops the answer you’ve been looking for. You weren’t thinking about it, you don’t know where it came from or why it appeared at that point, but there it is – the answer to your question!
That’s because while your conscious mind had, on your instruction, given up the search, the sub-conscious continued to search in the depths of all the experiences you’ve ever had and all the things you’ve ever learned in your lifetime until finally, in its own time, it came up with a result.
Your sub-conscious mind can also be programmed by your conscious mind – mainly through repetition. For instance, can you recall learning to drive a car? There were so many individual things to think about – clutch, brake, accelerator, gears, mirror, signalling…. You thought you were never going to be able to remember them all.
But now, you’ve done it so many times that you hardly ever think about it (unless you have a new car where the instruments are in a different place!) Your conscious mind did its job of learning the process and now your sub-conscious mind has taken over the job, so the act of driving becomes almost automatic.
It’s useful to become familiar with the way our mind works to better understand how to use it to our advantage. You may be forgiven for thinking that your conscious mind is the most important (or even the only) part of your mind.
Its most important power is probably the power to decide what information may enter into your sub-conscious mind.
Most people are not aware of this and so exercise no control over it. The result is that lots of negative information and messages get through and are stored in our sub-conscious mind, re-appearing later on to undermine us and our intentions. If you like – it’s a process of ‘garbage in, garbage out’. Next Making Changes.