The Unconscious mind and why you should make it your best friend
If I asked you to tell me one thing you already know about the Unconscious mind, my hunch is that you will raise your eyes to this side and that, you’ll eh, and you’ll ah, and then you might say it’s the stuff that make us do things without realising we do them…
So how about we keep this hunch for later and for now just hear me out. This is the good stuff and the best news is that you already got it. You just didn’t know!
We clearly differentiate between the conscious mind and the unconscious one (some may call it the ‘subconscious’ but really, there’s nothing ‘sub’ about it at all…).
The Conscious mind is where the logic happens. The linear thoughts, the ‘here’s what I had for breakfast and for the life of me I’ve no idea what I came into the kitchen for’. The conscious mind is the awareness of your thoughts, images, feelings, attitudes, sensations and beliefs you’re aware of. If you asked me, I’d say this is the smoke and mirrors. It’s the villain in our story.
And then we have the UNCONSCIOUS mind. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the real star of the show! The unconscious mind is where ALL our memories and experiences are stored. It’s the realm of the emotions and it’s the bit that keeps our negative experiences tucked away so that we can get on with our lives, and it’s what pushes memories and experiences up towards our conscious mind when it knows we’ve got enough learning and tools to deal with it.
Because when we actually learn from our experiences, the emotions attached to the story dissipates and then it really is just like thinking about breakfast. NO EMOTIONS!!
The Unconscious mind has a few top jobs it has to do and the main one is to look after us. It has within it our blueprint — the best version of ourselves — physically, emotionally and mentally and it does its best to stir us in the right direction…
But do you know what we do in return? We IGNORE it… and listen to the conscious mind instead! Ah the insult!!!
And here comes the sweet part of the unconscious mind, for it is like a cute little child that wants to please you and do as you ask. So when you say — I need some money, and you step into the street and you find a £1 coin — this is your unconscious mind doing what you’ve asked for! Well it could have been worse! It could have been a penny you found!!
So from this you know that what you say to yourself matters. You want to wish something, be specific. and simple. and make sure you can measure it. and when it happens, say thank you!
And another fun fact about our sweet little friend. It can’t deal with negatives! If, for example, I asked you not to think of a purple penguin, you have to think of a purple penguin before you tell yourself not to think about it. What do you think happens when you tell yourself you don’t want to be fat…? That’s right!! The Unconscious mind deletes the ‘don’t’ and congratulates itself for helping you so nicely to be fat!!!
So, I hear you ask, it’s all nice and good but how do I use this thing?
And that’s a jolly good question, really!
Here’s the answer:
Imagine you are sitting down for tea and all of a sudden a thought comes into your mind (conscious mind). It reminds you of something that happened 5 years ago with Sam, who by the way, you no longer speak with.
Surprised by the vivid thought, you ask yourself what the heck… and this is the unconscious mind passing you something you should be paying attention to. Maybe now you will remind yourself of that memory and now you will know how to deal with it (get the learnings…).
Say it reminds you that you proposed to Sam you started a new business and Sam said no. and you had a falling out and you never did anything with it. But now that Sam is in your mind, you also think about the business. And you realise that at that time you were going to make this a super complicated website that no one would actually get, but really you could just as easily make it into an app, and it can actually and probably going to be a hit!
Do you see what I’m saying? Your unconscious mind stored your negative experience until the time it knew you are ready to deal with it. Make the learnings, make up with Sam and do or not do something with the business idea. And now the emotion is gone and you’ve successfully freed some storage space in your mind.
There’s heaps more to say about the unconscious mind and maybe next time I will tell you about the terrible sibling fights that happen between the conscious and unconscious minds and how the Conscious way too often wins and how it should really be the other way around.
But this, as they say will come when the time is right and until then, I hope you start paying attention to that friend that works so hard to look after you and really, what do you do? You go and give all the credit to your conscious mind… and all it did was being the vessel that delivered the message…