Finally identified by the most widely known figure of psychology and father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, in 1893, the subconscious is the silent partner that weighs in on our every act, thought or belief. Freud thought that it was a repository for repressed memories or socially undesirable ideas or desires and that it could not be controlled or known.
Since then, Freud’s serious-faced academic brethren have continued to label, define and incorporate the subconscious into their theories, changing its official, scientific understanding. However, aside from their debates, it is important for us to note that all of them agree that the conscious mind – critical, rational thinking that we are aware of – is only a fraction of what goes on in our minds. More than that, it is not even the dominant part.
This has led many people to believe that the human brain has extraordinary possibilities that we are not yet able to tap into. The brain, and subsequently the mind, has been portrayed as an iceberg. While the top side is massive, it is only a fraction of the entire iceberg. Neuroscience has taken up the task of studying the matter from a biological point of view. Nevertheless, the unreachable and unknowable subconscious, which largely conditions our behavior, can be trained and our mind power harnessed.
Stimuli and Success
If, by definition, conscious efforts cannot provide passage to the subconscious, subliminal stimuli can. Going under our conscious level of perception, which can only translate them into senseless flashes without processing them completely, these messages activate specific areas of the brain. Stimuli that reach our subconscious have great action-priming potential, meaning they can get us to do things even without realizing it.
While this sounds dangerous, when we do it ourselves it can only have beneficial effects. The subconscious can thus be transformed into a powerful director-tool that can be put to serve our own goals. What was once an impossible feat that required efforts beyond our capacity can be overcome through mind power and proper stimulation.
Methods to Channel Your Mind Power
We have shown that the subconscious is a reality, known both to the scientific domain and to each and every one of us personally, and that it can be used to make our lives better. While external stimuli make up one way to provoke a response in the subconscious, other ways are not so invasive.
Meditation, aside from being healthy for mind and body, is one of the first ways to try when tapping into your subconscious. Put in an MRI machine while under meditation. Buddhist monks that have mastered the art during decades of practice have shown extreme brain activation. One of the most visible changes regarded neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to alter its structure and functioning according to new experiences. This means a virtual reorganization of the neural connections of the brain.
Moreover, the same study showed that mediation can expand your capacity for happiness, increase your empathy and lead toward achieving a state of oneness. Extraordinary changes in the brain entail changes in the conscious and unconscious realms of thought. One example is the monks’ ability to use the extrinsic (or outward-oriented) network of their brain together with their intrinsic (which deals in self-reflection and emotion) network. Meditation is no doubt a gateway to the mind power needed to live a happy, peaceful life, and a step toward achieving the impossible. If modern science is just discovering that, Buddhist monks have known it for thousands of years.
2. Use the tools
Even though the subconscious does not communicate directly with us, it can be made to respond to certain stimuli. Autosuggestion and affirmations are great ways to do this. While the first requires repetition and conditioning, the second works through positive thinking. Positive thinking is much simpler and therefore accessible to anyone at any time. To make it easier, you can start off with its negative form – the absence of constant worrying and negativity.
The fact is that no one can look at the upside of everything, all the time. Freud would probably call this psychosis. Instead, try to refrain from falling into the pit of depressive thoughts. Don’t dwell on sad moments of the past. Slowly but surely, you’ll start to feel better about yourself and your life as a whole. Boosting your self-esteem and happiness is one of the best advantages to tapping into your mind power. It is another step toward achieving the impossible.
3. Educate your subconscious
People evolve and mature through life lessons. Even though we might not be aware of the values our parents instilled into us, the subconscious does. Storing passion, grief, suffering, joy, jealousy or even hatred conditions our behavior. It also conditions the way we relate to others or think about certain subjects. Feelings are bottled up and repressed. They can can be translated by the subconscious into irrational fears, moments of depression or in explicable aggressive actions when confronted with certain triggers.
Aside from keeping you from reaching your true potential, these outbursts also damage your relationships and your state of mind. In order to get rid of them, you must explain them. For example, fear of the dark can be kept well into adulthood if it is connected to a traumatizing childhood experience. Similarly, certain words can be subconsciously connected to a lost love, throwing you in a downward spiral of sadness.
If you cannot tackle the weight of your subconscious alone, professional help is always recommendable. Once explained, these experiences that lived on in your subconscious lose their power. In their place, fixate goals, emotions and beliefs that are beneficial to you as a person. The inspiration needed to change your perspective in life can be found almost anywhere. Meanwhile, the forces that previously kept you down can be re-purposed to help you.
A Dreaming Species
We, as a species, have left behind the powerful and resilient bodies that were needed to survive harsh external conditions. Even then, man was not the fastest nor the strongest creature in the world. We survived through creativity and community, both in body and in spirit.
Also, we dreamed of being the fastest and of being able to reach the clouds – and we made it so. We dreamed that our will could shape continents, alter the course of rivers, defeat mountains and flatten hills. The track record of human mind power is impressive. What was once impossible, we made possible. Now masters and creators of our own environment, the challenges of our outside world can best be handled by first tackling those posed by our own minds. Through meditation, positive thinking, autosuggestion and a deeper understanding of ourselves, we can tap into our subconscious. Once explained and tamed, the demons that haunt us can be turned into powerful tools that shape our behavior for the better.