It is important to understand how your mind works. There are three separate and distinct parts of our mind. These three parts are: the conscious mind, subconscious mind, and unconscious mind. Each has different responsibilities with very little communication between each other. Imagine that the parts of our mind are at different levels, first, is your conscious mind. Your conscious mind is actively working right now. Below your conscious level of awareness is your subconscious mind. And going even deeper is your unconscious mind.
The unconscious mind is responsible for basically two things. It controls the strength / weakness of your immune system and your automatic body functions. Automatic body functions include the beating of your heart and blinking of your eyes. Our unconscious is fundamentally unaffected by hypnosis.
The conscious mind is where you spend most of your time. Primarily, it has four responsibilities. First, it analyzes information or an event and then decides how to solve it, making thousands of decisions that you face throughout a typical day. Decisions that appear to be automatic, but in fact, are not. Examples of such decisions are "Should I turn the light on?", "Should I open the door?", "Should I dry my hands?". These types of decisions may appear to be automatic but really you make a choice as to whether or not you want to do them.
The second part of your conscious mind can actually get you into trouble some times. It is the rational part of your conscious mind. It provides reason as to why you behave in a particular fashion. Understanding that if you do not have a reason, you become anxious, nervous, and frustrated. If this goes on too long, it can lead to serious mental illness. Now, just because the rational, conscious mind gives us a reason, does not mean it is an accurate reason. The biggest problem is that the reason is never original. Examples of this problem include a smoker saying, "I smoke because it helps me to relax.", "I need a cigarette when I drink coffee.", or "I need a cigarette after I eat.", an overweight person saying, "I eat when I am bored", "I eat when I am upset.", or "I eat when I am happy.". Really, before the habit was developed, they heard other people say these things. One of the reasons people smoke or are overweight is because of a need for security or belonging. Security is a basic need for all human beings. Generally, a smoker starts when they are young and because they want to belong to a group of people. If they feels that they don't belong to this particular group, their subconscious mind, which must protect against real and imagined danger, recognizes the lack of security as a danger. In order to feel secure, they accept a cigarette and are immediately rewarded with feelings of acceptance and increased level of security. It has nothing to do with feelings of relaxation.
The next part of our conscious mind is often referred to as will power. This part of your conscious mind is relatively weak and likely very familiar to you. A person might say, "I am putting down this pack of cigarettes and I am never going to smoke again!". You know how long that lasts. This is just as familiar for the person who tries to diet. Will power weakens in time and the old, poor habits return again. The last part of our conscious mind is called working memory or short term memory. It is the memory you need every day to get through an average day. "How do I get to work?", "What is my spouse's name?", "What is my phone number?", etc. In summary, the conscious mind is very logical, rational, and analytical; and frequently incorrect.
Where the real you lives, the level below the conscious, is called the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is extremely powerful. It is the most powerful part of your mind. It can make you anything you want to be. Whether you think of yourself as rich, famous, poor, thin, overweight, happy, or sad, that is the real you. To understand the subconscious mind, you need to know that it is very similar to a computer.
A computer, if bought new, with no programming, will not respond when given a command. It will only respond to a command once the programming has been installed. The computer must operate according to the programming, it has no choice. If you purchase new programming, install it in the computer, and eliminate the old programming, the computer can no longer operate according to the old programming. It must respond and operate according to the new programming. This is how your subconscious mind works, functioning with the same type of rules and regulations as a computer. Only your subconscious mind is much more powerful. When you are born, your computer has primarily not yet been programmed- there is some programming, but not very much. You program your computer each and every day through your life experiences. The primary rule of your computer is that it must make you into the type of person that it perceives you to be based on the programming that has been placed into it. Programming is continually added to it, day after day, until you die. If your subconscious mind says you are fat, then you are fat. If it says you are a smoker, success, or failure then that is what you are. By adding up all your programming, it makes a decision about you, about the type of person that you are, and then that is exactly what you are. To rise above any label, you must change your perception of yourself.
Continuing to think along the lines of a computer, your subconscious mind has operational software. The first software is your memory. Your long-term, permanent memory goes as far back as birth or prenatal, depending on your beliefs. The subconscious mind is similar to a video camera. Everything that has ever happened to you, that you have heard, seen, touched, smelled, and tasted is locked permanently into the memory banks of your subconscious mind. You never 'forget' anything. If necessary, in hypnosis you can access that memory bank and appear to travel back in time. In regression hypnosis, you can travel back and re-live your first birthday or birth. The sensation is much strong than recall, it feels like you are actually there and it is happening all over again. You can hear, see, feel, smell, and taste very clearly. You never forget anything in the subconscious, only at the conscious level.
You also have habits programmed in your subconscious mind. You really only have three kinds of habits, some are good and some are bad. Most are utilitarian, automatically responding in a certain fashion when something else happens. When the telephone rings, you do not look at it wondering what it is and why it is making that sound. You decide to pick it up or not depending on your mood.
Emotion are stored in your subconscious mind as well. Of course, you would not want to be without emotions like love, caring, and all the other good emotions but, sometimes your emotions get you into trouble. The conscious mind can not deal with emotions in any way, that is not part of its job. Any time you need emotion your conscious mind parts like the Red Sea and you deal with the particular situation from your irrational, juvenile-like yet highly intelligent subconscious mind. Hence, sometimes it gets you into trouble. Many times you deal with situations with an extreme amount of emotion that are not necessary. After the situation is over and the analytical conscious mind takes over again, you find yourself thinking or saying, "Why did I say/do that?".
Your need for self-preservation is likely the most important part of your subconscious mind. It must protect you against danger, real or imagined. A threat imagined by your subconscious mind is just as real as something truly experienced. It can not tell the difference, it simply must protect you.
There is a negative part of you in your subconscious mind. Even though the subconscious is the most powerful part of your mind, it is extremely lazy. It does not like to do the work that is required to accept positive suggestions and change in areas where you would like. It likes to keep things the way they are, it takes too much work to make positive change. Positive suggestions are one of the most difficult things to get into your subconscious mind. On the other hand, negative suggestions flow into you like a hot knife through butter, because it does not take any work to accept a negative suggestion. Even negative self-talk goes right into you subconscious. When you continue to think poorly of yourself, there is continued reinforcement of negative programming. Therefore, your negative self-image becomes even stronger, causing you to feel worse. If you randomly decided to think positively of yourself, your subconscious may reject the suggestion because it does not match your programming.
It is important to understand that if a thought or concept is allowed to go into the subconscious mind, it must happen. You can revise or eliminate the old programming and your subconscious mind would only respond to the new programming. If only it were that easy. There is one more part of your conscious mind, it is the critical factor. Its only job is to stop positive suggestions from entering your subconscious mind. If you want to change a habit, your critical factor communicates with your subconscious and asks if it can be let in. If you remember, once a suggestions enters your subconscious mind, it must happen. But your subconscious mind rejects the entry of the the suggestions because it realizes there would need to be years of re-programming and does not feel up to the job. The only place left for the suggestion to see the light of day is will power in the conscious mind and you know how long that lasts.
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