Tapping into the subconscious mind

BY Archana Law

Do you remember the time you tried to play a musical instrument or ride a bicycle? How did you master a new skill, overcome an annoying habit or stop making the same mistakes?

Most likely your first attempts to synchronise a new set of complex actions were difficult; but once you became more skilled, these movements required less conscious awareness and began to flow naturally. All these automatic movements are guided by the subconscious mind, which is one of the most powerful inner forces that drive human beings.

So where is the subconscious mind?

Envision a floating iceberg. Though you can see parts of it above the surface, the majority of it is hidden beneath.

The conscious mind is like the visible part of the iceberg and works on simple day-to-day tasks such as controlling willpower and short-term memory, as well as logical and critical thinking. Typically, it uses about 10 percent of our brain power.

As for the subconscious (like the submerged part of the iceberg), it does the heavy lifting such as controlling beliefs, emotions, habits, values, reactions, imagination, intuition and long-term memory. It uses the balance 90 percent of the brain’s processing power.

Your habits are the result of conditioning and subconscious programming. These habits are automatisms triggered by your subconscious as soon as a certain situation – such as a certain time of day, place or person you see – occurs. In addition to physical activities, how you perceive yourself and others are mental habits too.

Here are a few common and easy ways to tap into what seems like an inaccessible part of the mind, and become more productive and successful.

SUGGESTIONS The subconscious mind is susceptible to repeated suggestions. Our minds can’t readily distinguish between imagination and reality, and our subconscious works with the power of repetition. Repetition creates habits.

Do you remember while learning to ride a bike how you had to pay close attention and focus with your conscious mind? But once you became more comfortable and competent, your subconscious began to grasp the concept and  riding a bike soon became an automatic task.

Between 1843 and 1846, Dr. James Esdaile performed approximately 400 amputations prior to the development of anaesthesia. Surprisingly, the mortality rate was quite low at only two or three percent. He attributed this to having hypnotically suggested to his patients that they wouldn’t develop an infection as a result of the operation.

POSITIVITY This is about unconscious learning through positive thoughts. Italian opera tenor Enrico Caruso used to be overcome by nervousness and drenched in sweat minutes before stepping on stage when he performed at famous opera houses throughout Europe and the US.

He overcame negative thoughts of a bad performance, being laughed off stage or heckled for a poor show by constantly telling the ‘small me’ (the conscious mind) to quit interfering with his ‘big me’ (the subconscious mind).

VISUALISATION It is said that 18th century priests successfully healed the sick by persuading them to believe that God would make them well. Author Joseph Murphy tells of a devoted son who brought his father, who was ill with TB, a piece of wood that was supposed to be a cross from a healing shrine. His father held the wood in his hands and prayed while visualising that he was better, and he was healed.

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) suggests a mental movie method to practise creating a desired mental image, and recalling it again and again until your subconscious turns it into a reality. The same principle is used in sports coaching to train athletes and players who see themselves as winners even before they’ve played a game!

NEGATIVITY Release all the negative thoughts that obstruct your progress because they are detrimental to your peace of mind and can prevent you from succeeding in life. If you were afraid of monsters hiding under the bed as a kid, you probably remember how relieved you were to find that this was not the case.

Even in adulthood, fears are constructed on false thoughts, and this terror can be mitigated by acknowledging and then counteracting them. Begin by spending five to 10 minutes three times a day, imagining yourself doing something that you’re scared of. Construct a joyous image complete with people cheering you on. By practising this way, you can overcome your fear, and your subconscious will grasp the idea and make it a reality eventually.

The power of the subconscious mind is limitless; it affects your view of things as well as your reality. Depending on how your subconscious is programmed, you will see and comprehend certain situations.

Good luck as you let your subconscious influence your world positively!