The Power Of Subconscious Mind
Lies And Misconceptions
Before punching out an article, I like to first see what search results a keyword, or a combination of keywords (in this case, it's 'the power of subconscious mind') will bring up. I do this for the simple reason that maybe I'll find some interesting ideas on the matter I haven't yet considered, or else I might find an interesting counter-argument to my own.
That said, having read through the first fifty or so websites that Google listed in regards to the above-mentioned keyword combination, I found, far more often than not, that most of the websites gave either misleading information or 'facts' that were downright lies. So before discussing anything else, let me first address two points that you'll need to know in light of the main topic of this article...
1 - The Subconscious Mind In Regards To The Scientific Fields
The word 'subconscious' is a word that most academics shun.
Psychologists and psychiatrists instead generally use the word 'unconscious' or 'preconscious' when discussing those parts of the human mind that are more subtle in their workings than that of our conscious mind.
The unconscious is quite likely the deepest part of our mind (where repressed memories may lie hidden, for instance), while the preconscious is a level of consciousness found just below our conscious thoughts. One should therefore speak more precisely in calling the subconscious mind the unconscious mind.
Freud said: "If someone talks of subconsciousness, I cannot tell whether he means the term topographically - to indicate something lying in the mind beneath consciousness - or qualitatively - to indicate another consciousness, a subterranean one, as it were. He is probably not clear about any of it. The only trustworthy antithesis is between conscious and unconscious."
Unconscious thoughts (as opposed specifically to preconscious thoughts) are not easy to access with the conscious mind. They can possibly, however, be interpreted through 'free association' (of which a simple example of one of the many free association techniques can be found here), 'verbal/ Freudian slips', etc.
When I use the word 'subconscious', I only do so because it is the word which more people, more often, search for on the Internet. That said, for the remainder of this article I will most likely not use the word subconscious again, except if quoting another person who has used the word. Speaking of which, following are two segments I read online and liked concerning the UNCONSCIOUS mind...
- 'Your subconscious mind power is similar to fertile soil that consents to any seed planted inside it. Your habitual thoughts and beliefs are the seeds which are being continually sown and they will eventually produce a crop. So if you plant weeds you will get weeds, if you plant fruit, you will get fruit. In other words, you reap what you sow. Now the conscious mind is the gardener, and it is the mind power to choose what reaches our inner garden - the subconscious.'
- 'The Subconscious Mind...
* only thinks in the present
* does not know what is real and what is imagined
* only learns by repetition
* thinks in infinite or absolute terms, not in finite or partial terms'
2 - We Do Not Use JUST 10% Of The Brain
It is a fallacy that humans 'only use 10% of their brains'. When this myth began to perpetuate is not entirely known, but it has been proven to be false in a number of ways.
With the invention of MRI scans, you can clearly observe the brain being fully used, just not all at the same time. Just as you don't use all of your muscle groups at once, different parts of the brain also only work according to whatever you may be doing at the time.
The myth of using only 10% of your brain suggests that we have untapped potential, so could thus perform supernatural acts if we only learnt how to access these dormant parts of our minds. This is most likely one of the main reasons why the myth won't die. Giving people hope that they can - with the right teaching and the correct amount of money in their bank account - become super-powered, is highly appealing. Who wouldn't want to be telepathic or move things with their mind, etc? However, as an author at Snopes.com so eloquently puts it: if you only use 10% of the brain, then why do so many brain accidents result in people having to live with dire consequences as a result? In other words: if we only use 10% of the brain, then you would quite often have the situation where, after somebody injures their brain, the doctor might say to the family of the wounded person ' "But luckily when that bullet entered his skull, it only damaged the 90% of his brain he didn't use".' Yikes! I'll let you stew on that for a while.
Similarities Between The Human Brain And A Computer
Some argue proficiently that there are far more differences between a brain and a computer than there are similarities, but there ARE striking similarities nonetheless, and the following three are those most often agreed upon.
Your brain (both the unconscious and conscious part of your mind) is like a computer in that it...
* stores information
* makes calculations
* can be programmed
We would all agree wholeheartedly, I think, with the first two points, but the third point (that 'our brains can and are programmed') is a topic that's more debatable. Some people argue this point as being true because it's convenient for them if it is, while others argue the point as being false because it's less terrifying for them if it is.
Having a brain that can be programmed, you see, means that you can change yourself (your habits and your beliefs) if you wish to, but it also means that other people potentially can too, and that other people quite potentially have thus already helped make you the person you are today. Both of these sub-points are correct.
1) We can change ourselves if we wish to, therefore we can become the masters of our own destiny, but it does first require retraining the way we see the world and how we view ourselves.
2) Others can be (and have been) huge contributors in our having certain flaws (low self esteem, anger issues, etc) as well as helping us to be kind and strong in other respects. Other people, in other words, and in varying degrees, control us NOW, and have controlled us in the past, even though we have mostly never given them permission to do so, and they often haven't consciously meant to.
I fervently believe, however, that while you do usually become more fixed in your beliefs and habits with time, you are still always able to change who you are if only you put enough energy, as you need to, into changing howsoever you might wish to.
The brain is an amazing machine.
One of the fundamental differences between our brain and a computer (even a super-computer) is 'plasticity'. The brain will make itself act as you need it to act. For instance, it has been conclusively proven that if a person is blinded, then while their eyes may henceforth be non-operational, that part of the brain that primarily controls vision (the visual cortex) will most likely be reassigned to another part of your body that IS still working properly. The visual cortex, in other words, might then assist with your auditory sense (as a proved example).
And not just that.
The brain can furthermore make more of what is needed. When you exercise a muscle, you make it stronger. If you exercise your 'memory muscles' (the part of your brain that mostly controls memory) then your memory will 'become stronger', but eventually, when that part of the brain is being used as much as it can be, the brain will simply create more of that part of the brain for you to continue using. 'Usage effects development'. So the more you use the brain, the better it becomes, and the more of itself it makes to continue becoming better.
I hope that amazes you, because if it doesn't, then I'm perhaps not explaining this point clearly enough.
I don't profess to know exactly how the brain can make itself more into what it ascertains you're wanting it to be, but - AND THIS PART OF MY ARTICLE IS SIMPLY A GUESS - I would imagine it's because 'we are what we eat'. Along with our genetic make-up and how much we exercise, we grow and become the people we are in large part due to 'what we put into ourselves' and how much of 'what we put into ourselves' we put into ourselves. Maybe our brain takes what we put into our body and turns some of what it can into what it thinks you need it to be (determined by how you're using your brain and pushing your brain), whereas a computer piece that you put into a computer can only be what it is. If you wish for your computer to be quicker, then you'll need to physically PUT new memory cards into its motherboard. No amount of feeding it computer chips and plastic and wires will make it make itself better for you in the way you desire.
Lastly, we can tell how much storage a computer (or a storage device) has, but we cannot yet (and perhaps will never be able to) tell how much information the brain can store. This is because nobody has ever visibly come to a point in their being where there's no longer enough room to store data inside their brain, and - when you think about it - that's incredible, because we seem to be CONTINUOUSLY taking in external information through all of our senses (except possibly when we're asleep).
Perhaps another difference between a computer and a human brain is that the human brain can potentially store an infinite amount of information. If a person were to live to five hundred years of age, maybe (maaaaybe) his/ her brain would eventually grow so big as to push itself out of his/ her skull. This, however, is purely hypothetical talk now, so let me return to the land of science and facts again instead...
What Is Perception?
Perception is not so much what you see as much as it is what your brain sees.
There are a tremendous amount of studies that show this, and many psychological theories about why our brains are wired to see reality in whatever way we may see it. But when I say 'see', I mean 'hear' and all the other different ways in which we 'absorb' reality too. Have you ever listened to a song a billion times (and so can even sing most of the words to that song) and one day you hear what's really being sung, and it shocks you? Maybe, because of the song's tempo, you thought it was a lively number, but then you realize it's really quite sad or even a very militant protest song of some sort. Well you can blame your brain for this occurrence. Sometimes it's good that this happens though, but sometimes it's to our own detriment. For instance, we generally read text with more ease and a faster pace because of this 'brain condition', but sometimes we miss spelling errors when editing an essay paper (for instance) because our brain lets us see what should be there as opposed to what really is there. It would be nice if you could flip a switch on your brain, telling it to see reality as it is, in these instances, but this of course isn't the case. The most you could do is learn some methods that counteract what the brain naturally does to 'help you', like slowing your reading down and forcing yourself to focus on every word you read, or reading aloud what you've written, etc.
This brings me to my next point.
Not only do we perceive things in a slightly (or completely) incorrect manner with our senses sometimes, but OFTEN one of our senses aids another sense in perceiving reality in a 'not completely accurate manner'. In the above point, I'm putting across the fact that you see with your eyes, and then your brain reinterprets that; or you hear with your ears, and then your brain reinterprets that; but sometimes what you experience with one sense goes back to the brain and then the brain changes how you experience that same 'bit of reality' with one of your other senses. For instance...
An experiment was performed at a university where students were asked to assist a laboratory assistant who had 'mistakenly' dropped some of his papers. He asked them to please hold his beverage while he picked up his papers again, and sometimes some of the students held an iced coffee, while, at other times, others held a cup of hot coffee. And when these students were later asked in what way they viewed the lab assistant, the students who had held the cold beverage more often than not remembered him as being cold, antisocial, selfish, etc, as opposed to the other set of students who had held a warm beverage for the man, and thus remembered him quite affectionately instead.
This means that 'items' in the world can hugely influence your perception of something else (or of the world itself) and can thus also determine your attitude without you even consciously knowing it. To read about a few other thoroughly interesting tests in regards to this topic, you might wish to click on the outbound link in the above paragraph. What it's mostly all about though is something called 'priming'. And it's not a way to hypnotise or send subliminal messages to the brain of another person in a deliberate or devious manner; it's merely the way our brains work in regards to our external environment. Without knowing it, everyday you'll have 'things' (sights, sounds, tastes, etc) triggering you into experiencing reality either one way or another.
If you could surround yourself as much as possible with the 'right environment', that would be great, but for most of us this is not a very likely goal to reach in life. Your mind sometimes simply tricks your perception (and sometimes tricks your emotions) but it happens to all of us. One thing you can do if something negatively affects you is this... before letting it get worse, first try and logically analyse whatever situation made you upset to begin with, and that way you can say if there's any (or some) validity to what's creating a disturbance for you.
Growing up, I was always resistant to school. This being the case, my marks were always - to put it mildly - poor; but in my grade 12 year, things changed. More specifically, I changed. More specifically, I changed my thinking so that I could change. That year I decided that I LOVED school, and - more than that - I was completely addicted to studying and writing exams. I didn't just 'think it', I also told people this much, and both relatives and friends, who knew better, questioned me, and I think some of them wondered if I'd perhaps somehow gone insane. Many of them thought I was just being sarcastic, but when anyone questioned me on if I was 'pulling their leg', I told them I wasn't and that I really did LOVE studying. At first it was a lie, then it became the truth. While I can't unfortunately tell you that I passed with distinctions (although my marks were far better than what they'd previously been), I did feel more confident and relaxed (and excited) about it all; so while most people regard their final year of secondary school as being the most stressful year, I found it to be my most awesome year, and I don't use the word 'awesome' lightly. I use it heavily ;P
And so because reality is however and whatever YOU perceive it to be, maybe the truth is that things don't change with 'affirmations' (or don't change that greatly sometimes), but your perception seems to change a great deal, and ultimately perception is the most important thing in life. It's why a homeless person can be happier with nothing in comparison to a rich man who's completely depressed, but with seemingly everything a person could ever dream of having and aspiring to be.
So here I am at that point in the article where I finally discuss that keyword combination - the power of subconscious mind - that may very well have brought you to this page to begin with...
The Power Of The Unconscious Mind... In My Opinion
For the record, I'm a sceptic about many things (if that much isn't already plainly obvious) so please note that unless I specifically state something as being a fact, most of the following section of this article is not based on hard science, but rather it's based on what I believe to be the case from my own experience and logic and what I've read up about from seemingly reliable sources.
So, perhaps unfortunately, if you are expecting an article that concerns itself mostly with 'the secret' (from The Secret) or some other similar sorts of affirmations, then you're very possibly in the wrong neck of the web-ee-verse. Give me a minute or two more of your time anyway though (if you're able to) because that doesn't mean you won't necessarily like what I have to say. It just probably won't be ('hopefully won't be') the same sort of wishy-washy trash that is normally discussed by those who're trying to sell you a product to 'unleash your inner hidden mystical powers'. And I feel totally stupid using the word 'unleash' in the same context as the unconscious mind, even though it's simply in jest.
One website I came across that actually DID seem mostly accurate in portraying how you can use 'affirmations' to better your life is an online dating website. Strange, to say the least. They assert that...
'...once you have a belief, your brain will dismiss or disprove references that run contrary to it. The only way to change these beliefs once they’re solidly entrenched is to either use powerful references that can’t be ignored (such as a rape or car accident), or to use references consistently and with enough repetition, the same way the original belief was formed. That’s why simply talking about things and getting advice tends to be so ineffective... The suggestions and statements of others have no power to hurt you. The only power is the movement of your own thought. You can choose to reject the thoughts or statements of others and affirm the good. You have the power to choose how you will react. While it is possible that certain personality traits are partly caused by your genetic make up, it is my belief that learned behaviour is much more powerful.'
Concerning the above paragraph, I agree wholeheartedly with all that is stated, except for the one sentence that claims 'The suggestions and statements of others have no power to hurt you.' But that's a whole new topic for another article. I would add to the above paragraph, however...
Changing your beliefs, with affirmations, means you must repeat positive sentences in your mind about yourself that...
* aren't too long
* are in the present tense
* are phrased positively
Deciding what to say is the tricky part.
I would suggest you make a list of everything in life you want, and who you'd like to become (or who you'd like to become more of), then look at this list, and start writing out affirmations for what character traits you'd like to have or improve upon. Usually if you become the person you would most like to be, you will wind up achieving the things you most want to achieve anyway as a result.
When you start feeling more 'confident' or 'creative' or 'whatever', then begin writing out affirmations for what you'd like to physically gain in life. Don't start with impossible goals though, because imagining yourself coming into millions of dollars when you're in the business of selling shoes for a shoe company is ridiculous. But if you're thinking of starting your own shoe company (or if you have already recently started one), then repeating an affirmation like 'my customers enjoy my consistently wonderful service' is the sort of affirmation that won't make your customers enjoy your good service magically, but it will give clues to your unconscious mind that this is a goal you wish to achieve, and unconsciously YOU will begin to do the right things to achieve this goal, which will hopefully be one of a group of goals that will eventually, quite possibly, lead you into having a thriving business.
I would recommend that you repeat sentences in your mind that have fewer words in them because this is less limiting. Think about it in terms of a Google search. The more words you put into a Google search, the fewer results for websites you'll come up with; but the fewer words you use in a Google search, the more results for websites you'll come up with. As much as I hate using clichés, this is definitely a case of 'less is more'.
I would furthermore recommend you 'think' your affirmations when you're not able to do anything else (perhaps you're in a waiting room somewhere or sitting on a bus), but if you're in a situation where your mind is not on anything specific and you're alone (perhaps you're on the treadmill in your house) you can even repeat your affirmations out loud. I've never read of anyone making this suggestion before, but I think, with great conviction, that it works, because just as it's easier to remember information for an exam when you read aloud from a textbook, hearing yourself speaking aloud an affirmation further cements that same affirmation that you're additionally already thinking about. And truly believing what you're saying seems to make a thought settle more firmly, more quickly, into your unconscious mind, but that's not to say that you definitely have to push yourself to 'believe' what you're affirming. Repetition, as far as I'm concerned, is the key. 'Believing' is just using that key with more skill.
Lastly, I firmly suspect you shouldn't overwhelm yourself with too many affirmations. I think the brain knows that something (some thought, that is) is important because you repeat it often enough, but when you repeat too many thoughts too often, the unconscious mind doesn't know precisely what's most important of all of your thoughts anymore. This is based purely on my own conjecture though, so I stand to be corrected.
What this all ultimately comes down to is this...
Practising affirmations concerns your firstly using your unconscious mind to change your perception of reality and of yourself, then your unconscious mind will make YOU change your physical reality. The mind itself does nothing physical. It simply controls the physical world through YOU (through your physical body, that is). I don't believe in 'mind power' per se; rather I believe in 'mind & body power' (if I'm to try and sound snooty and clever about it).
You don't create mystical energy and make a reality merely from what you think... you create a mind-set that leads to a sort of 'self fulfilling prophecy' because your body, in many cases, listens to your mind. I'm not inferring that you can 'think away' a disease though, because that is nothing I've had any experience with, but I am inferring that, for instance, when you feel totally exhausted, but then somebody offers to take you out for a nice scrumptious meal, it's interesting how suddenly you may not feel quite as tired anymore, and may in fact not feel tired at all 'all of a sudden'. This is a true example of 'the power of the mind' over your body, even though it's only a small manipulation of sorts. But everything starts small. That, I think, is something well worth remembering.
If you have doubts about the very possible usefulness of affirmations, and that 'thinking certain positive thoughts repeatedly' is a definite waste of your time, then may I suggest you at least try and stop yourself from thinking negative thoughts. You'll lose no time in doing this, and it MAY be to your advantage. If nothing else, people will quite likely respond more pleasantly to you, because most of us respond more pleasantly to positive people, and you'll become more positive in both your mannerisms and your beliefs if you simply begin thinking less negative thoughts less often.
I believe in the idea of Holism... that everything and everyone's connected. Again, however, I don't specifically believe in it in regards to a mystical sense. I'm not sure at all whether we're all connected telepathically, for instance, but I am sure that we're all connected through this Earth of ours: What you DO on the world affects it just a little bit, in other words, and every little thing that every one of us does therefore all adds up, and the world as a whole is therefore ultimately changed on a colossal level. In a sense, I suppose I'm speaking about The Ripple Effect.
If you're to read further articles about The Power Of The Subconscious Mind, then please remember that websites using such words as 'magical' and 'supernatural' in conjunction with this topic are VERY LIKELY websites which should be taken with a pinch of salt. And if a smattering of these same websites are wanting to sell you a product that will 'easily allow you to release your full inner magical potential'... well these sorts of websites should be taken with a handful of salt.
The unconscious mind is still largely an enigma to the scientific community, so there are therefore many who will try and sell you the idea that it's a magical thing, as opposed to what it really is... a very powerful psychological tool, yes, but still one that is created from a totally natural biological machine... your brain.
The Information Highway is bursting with valuable information for you to discover and use in a beneficial capacity, but it's unfortunately also a highway that has many con-men and misinformed people trying to sell you lies or else preach to you about certain 'ideas' as though they're facts.
A website which speaks very well on the unconscious mind, and therefore one which I highly recommend, can be found here.
In conclusion to this conclusion, I must say that I hope you don't even take ME simply at my word about this topic. Check up on the matter yourself (I've added hyper-links and a reference section to this article for this very reason) because knowledge IS power, but only when it is TRUE knowledge that you possess.
OTHER RECOMMENDED ARTICLES
* The Mind
* Self Hypnosis
* Brain Enhancement Tests
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