The conscious mind, the subconscious mind and hypnosis
The conscious mind, the subconscious mind and hypnosis
Where does the idea of the conscious mind and the subconscious mind come from?
The concept of there being a number of mind states became popularised as a result of the work of the eminent Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in the early 1900’s. Freud theorised that as human beings, the way we consciously view ourselves is basically a delusion and what really motivates us is stored in a deeper part of our minds, known as the unconscious and of which we have no conscious awareness
Initially Freud considered there were three separate mind-states but most modern theorists now consider there are two primary mind states; the conscious and the subconscious/unconscious.
What is the conscious mind?
The conscious mind is that part of our minds that provides us with logic, reasoning and objectivity. It also acts as a gatekeeper to the more intuitive side of our personality. Have you ever instinctively felt something was not right but have convinced yourself you must be wrong, only to later find out your first instinct was right after all. Those over-riding and rational thoughts that told you not to be stupid were from your conscious mind and the initial feelings of doubt came from more primeval instincts provided by that inner consciousness, your subconscious.
Your conscious mind acts in the same way to protect your belief systems – the real you. The conscious mind does not like loose ends, so if you are presented with something that is contrary to your innate belief system, your conscious mind will process that information into a pattern of thoughts that makes sense to you.
How does it work?
Let’s look back to our example above. Here is a set of circumstances to fit that situation; you are looking for a second-hand car. You see one advertised and contact the present owner who says he will bring it around to your house. He arrives and you like the look of the car and can see nothing wrong. However, something about the seller makes you unhappy but you don’t know what. You love the car so you buy it. It turns out to be a stolen car. In this instance your conscious mind rationalised that everything must be ok because it looks ok. However, the more primitive, instinctual part of your mind sensed something was not right. Your conscious mind convinced you it was alright because your belief system would not allow you to accept you were being conned. Moral…trust your instincts. If it smells like an elephant, then it probably is an elephant and your subconscious mind was trying to tell you it is an elephant.
What is the subconscious mind?
We know then that our conscious mind protects us from what it perceives as harm by applying rational thought. In a similar way our subconscious mind buries things that we may not want to remember or even things that we were never consciously aware of in the first place. Freud referred to the conscious mind as ‘the tip of an iceberg’ conversely that means that the subconscious mind is the bulk of the iceberg. Our conscious mind is fed by our 5 senses; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Our subconscious is our sixth sense, fed by information from life experiences all of which are stored away and consciously forgotten. In fact research indicates that our subconscious mind processes and retains millions of items of information every second. All of this information will unconsciously influence us in every aspect both for good and not so good for the rest of our lives.
How does our subconscious affect us?
As we have illustrated above, our subconscious can protect us when we learn to trust our instincts. It also protects us by burying information that may harm us. People suffering from negative emotional conditions or poor physical health symptoms, may never know the cause of their suffering. This is because it can be due to past experiences too difficult for our conscious mind to process. Therefore it remains buried away in our subconscious, possibly forever. Often this buried information manifests itself in our conscious world in other ways, for instance physically in headaches, back pain and other sometimes serious health complaints. Very often it is not physical but emotional pain that is the result of buried trauma; we can then become victims of mental health issues, again without knowing the reasons behind it.
Our subconscious mind does also have another role in our lives. It is responsible for the autonomous actions of our body. Without it we wouldn’t breathe, our hearts wouldn’t beat and our blood wouldn’t flow. Our subconscious minds store football fields full of information; occasionally we get an insight into this huge warehouse……..possibly even when buying a second hand car!
How does hypnosis relate to our conscious and subconscious minds?
In our conscious and rational state we cannot reach into our subconscious. However, there are times when our state of mind in the form of our brain waves will allow us to access small parts of this information. During the course of meditation, when our minds are in a deep state of relaxation, we can become linked to our inner selves in what some of us would regard as a spiritual state. Hypnosis has the same effect. In the deep and trance-like state that can be achieved with hypnosis, we are able to subdue and by-pass the conscious mind and communicate directly with the subconscious.
By accessing the subconscious, we can actually be helped to recognise and deal with those aspects of our inner self that may be influencing our lives. This may be in the form of somatic pain or emotional or mental health issues. We may with practice, be able to reach these levels of deep trance-like relaxation and learn to achieve inner peace. We may seek help in the form of experienced therapists who are able to work with the subconscious. Hypnosis is proven to be highly effective in achieving these results and it doesn’t have to be in the therapist’s chair. Many people find they can release their inner traumas by self-hypnosis. Some find they are able to do so with the assistance of guided hypnosis audio tracks.
These transformations achieved through contact with the subconscious don’t just apply to health related matters, changing your life and fulfilling positive ambitions can be achieved in the same way. By reaching into your subconscious and changing your view of the world around you is the way that many people find they can realise their full potential.