Freud explained that the mind has three parts: the consciousness (above water), the subconscious (just below the waterline) and the unconscious (far below).
The conscious mind contains all the thoughts, memories, feelings and wishes that we are aware of at any given moment. It deals with all the mental, rational processes of which we are aware, and this is seen as the tip of the iceberg. For example, you may become aware of thirst, so you decide to have a drink.
The subconscious brain contains thoughts, feelings and memories that we are not aware of, but can be easily retrieved and brought into consciousness. It exists just below the level of consciousness before the unconscious. It is like a mental waiting room, where thoughts remain until they succeed in attracting the attention of consciousness. For example, you don’t think about your cell phone number, but now that it’s mentioned, you can easily remember it.
The unconscious is the primary source of human behavior. Like an iceberg, the most important part is the part you can’t see. It is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, beliefs, patterns, behaviors, and memories that are beyond our consciousness. Traumatic and powerful negative emotions are often suppressed and unavailable in the subconscious mind. Therefore, much of the content of the unconscious is unpleasant, such as feelings of pain, fear, or conflict. Our feelings, motives and decisions are strongly influenced by our past experiences that are stored in the unconscious. Our deepest desires are also stored in our unconscious mind.
A huge memory bank
Our subconscious mind is like a huge memory bank. Its capacity is virtually unlimited, and it permanently stores everything that ever happened to you. By the time you’re 21, you’ll have saved over a hundred times the contents of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.
Under hypnosis, people often remember events from fifty years earlier with perfect clarity. Your unconscious memory is almost perfect. It is your conscious memory that is not always completely pure.
The function of your subconscious mind is to store data as input for future behavior and decisions. Its job is to make sure you respond exactly as you were programmed. Your subconscious makes sure that everything you say and do fits with the concept or image you have of yourself: your ‘master’s program’. That’s why repeated positive affirmations are so effective – you can reprogram your own thinking patterns by thinking, talking, and visualizing positively.
The battle of the conscious versus the subconscious
The beliefs of your subconscious often do not match the beliefs of your conscious mind, and this makes it difficult to make your behavior the way you would like it to be. As with animals, many of our decision-making factors are beneath the surface. An animal doesn’t “decide” to fly, hunt, sleep or fight the way we make many of our own choices about what to do — it simply follows the instructions coming from the subconscious parts of its brain. These same kinds of instructions come to us from the same parts of our brains, sometimes for good evolutionary reasons, but sometimes at our expense. Our subconscious fears and desires drive our motivations and actions through emotions such as love, fear, and inspiration.
While some subconscious parts of our brain affect us negatively, others are smarter than our conscious mind. Our greatest moments of inspiration often emerge from our subconscious. We experience these creative breakthroughs when we are relaxed and not trying to access the part of the brain they are stored in. When you say, “I was just thinking about something,” you noticed what your subconscious was telling your conscious mind. With training it is possible to open this communication flow.
Many people only work with the conscious mind and are not aware of the benefits of connecting with the unconscious mind. They believe that the way to achieve more is to cram more into the conscious mind and make it work harder, but this is often counterproductive. While it may seem counterintuitive, clearing your head can be the best way to make progress.
Knowing this will help you understand why creativity comes to you when you relax (such as when you’re in the shower) and how meditation helps open this connection. With inward attention you can feel the creative thoughts coming from elsewhere flowing into your conscious mind.
The power of the subconscious
Whether you are awake or asleep, your subconscious absorbs and stores everything. Thanks to your stored memories, feelings and desires, your subconscious mind plays a huge role in creating your dreams. This article from The Wisdom Post explains how it works:
“When you fall asleep, your conscious mind is asleep. However, your subconscious will never fall asleep. It works 24 hours a day, even when you sleep. Your subconscious mind controls your body, your breathing, your organs, the growth of your cells. Therefore, when you sleep, your subconscious is still wide awake. And that means that it is your unconscious mind that is responsible for your dreams. And because our subconscious mind thinks in the form of symbols, metaphors and visual forms, our dreams also tend to be projected that way. Therefore, most dreams are indirect and difficult to understand, but they are often connected with our experiences and the events of our daily life.”
Marisa Peer’s Rules of the Mind
Marisa Peer (founder of Rapid Transformational Therapy) explains that the main job of your mind is to keep you alive for as long as possible. To do that, your subconscious mind will always lead you away from pain and into pleasure. The subconscious mind is strongly influenced by the words you say and the pictures you visualize. And for the same reason, your mind loves what is familiar and avoids the unknown.
This TED Talk video from Marisa Peer explains how you can reach your highest potential by training your subconscious mind: https://youtu.be/zCv-ZBy6_yU
Hypnosis and the Subconscious Mind
Hypnotherapy uses the subconscious mind to bring out deep-seated childhood traumas or past events that have left behind feelings of negativity and limiting beliefs. These lie deep in the subconscious, on a biological hard drive, as it were, a database with everything about your life.
For example, your conscious mind knows that you need to stop that unhealthy habit, or exercise more often, but conscious willpower can only get you to a certain point. It is your subconscious mind that needs to be reprogrammed to achieve your goals, because it is your subconscious beliefs that sabotage your conscious efforts.
The more aware you are of your subconscious beliefs, the easier it is to interrupt them. You access your subconscious when you get a “gut feeling” or feel intuition. The more you pay attention to this, the better you train your subconscious.
Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) helps you achieve the goals in your life through the unique technique to reprogram the subconscious mind. Drawing on the science of neuroplasticity, RTT combines the most relevant principles of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, NLP, CBT and neuroscience.