We are occupied with one little corner of consciousness which is most of our life; the rest, which we call the subconscious, with all its motives, its fears, its racial and inherited qualities, we do not even know how to get into. Now I am asking you, is there such a thing as the subconscious at all? – J. Krishnamurti
In my article about hypnosis I mentioned a TV show where a guy under hypnosis lay down in a bathtub for more than a minute. You may think: “What’s the big deal?” Well the water was only 3°C and the guy didn’t seem to feel any discomfort at all. A “normal” person could not do that. But wait a minute; he didn’t do it, his subconscious mind did it right?
So what is this mysterious thing that we call the subconscious mind? It seems to be a totally different entity separated from us, but is it really? People say, “I need to reprogram my subconscious mind” or “my subconscious mind is preventing me from ….”(fill in the blank with your favorite excuse).
If the man in the previous example can do such a thing under hypnosis why can’t he do it in his normal state? Is hypnosis giving him some kind of superpowers? Is hypnosis really changing who he is?
Is There Such A Thing As The Subconscious Mind?
We generally imagine our subconscious mind as some kind of strange entity totally separated from us and largely out of control. Here is a question for you: “Why do you think the subconscious mind exist in the first place?”
The fact is that the subconscious mind is very convenient. It is very much like a closet or an attic. You can hide in it everything you don’t want to see. What do we hide in it? Our fears! How convenient! Then, we don’t have to face them anymore.
“What fears? I have no fears. It is not me, it’s my subconscious mind so there is nothing I can do about it.”
Now we can go on living our life, pretending to be someone we are not, appearing very civilized and calm. It is as if all of our fears had miraculously vanished. (See Stop Pretending to Be Someone You Are Not). In reality, our fears are so well hidden that we may not even know about them.
Are You Responsible For Your Subconscious Mind?
In my article How To Be Fully Responsible For Your Life I explain that we need to take full responsibility for our life. Though I didn’t mention the subconscious mind, it could very well have been on the list.
Don’t get me wrong; my intention with this article is certainly not to blame you for not being able to control your subconscious mind. I’m full of fears too. We all are. My intention is simply to make you realize that your subconscious mind is part of who you are; not a separate entity that is totally out of control.
Your subconscious mind is actually trying to help you to deal with your fears. It doesn’t want you to have to go through your past traumas one more time. That’s how phobias work for instance; you had a painful experience in the past and your subconscious is trying to protect you by keeping you away from anything that could recreate that terrible experience.
More Awareness Means Less Subconscious Mind
We did not create our subconscious mind voluntarily. The process is largely taking place at an unconscious level. What can we do to become more aware of our subconscious mind? We need to start observing ourselves more carefully and develop mindfulness. We need to look at what is really behind our insecurity, our fears, our shyness, our anger, our jealousy, our greed, our stress etc. We need to have the courage to look at all these unpleasant things instead of running away. All our fears are part of who we are. We have a choice: leave them in the closet or open the closet and start cleaning the house.
In order to do that, our emotions are probably the most powerful (and probably only) compass we have. Using our awareness to bring focus on our emotions is I believe the best thing we can do.
If you have phobias or other traumas that you are unable to solve by yourself, you can of course seek help from a hypnotherapist. He will help you access your subconscious mind.
Now, let’s come back to the man in his bathtub before he freezes to death. Have you noticed how some monks or people who have been practicing meditation for a long time are able to do similar things? The most impressive thing I’ve heard of is this Buddhist monk in Vietnam who burned himself to death. He didn’t even move!
So, is there really such a thing as the subconscious mind? Can we really hide our fears forever pretending they are not there?
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