The subconscious, unconscious or other-than-conscious mind is a complicated thing to understand. It has been called inner genius, inner wisdom, robot, idiot savant, and likened to a seven year old child. For example, we are often advised to write affirmations in simple language, using short sentences, because the subconscious mind has the vocabulary of a seven year old, yet this same subconscious mind provided the genius behind Beethoven, Mozart, Edison and Einstein. How can we reconcile this kind of discrepancy? Which portrait of the subconscious mind are we to believe, or can they all be true?
To understand this you need to accept that the other-than-conscious mind encompasses all of these roles, and more. It is the intuitive force behind the genius that comes through in all of our lives. It has the capacity to receive, catalog, store and sort billions of pieces of information simultaneously, compared to the tiny forty-some pieces of information that our conscious minds can process. With all that information, it also holds the mind’s ability to discern patterns within that information, and is more powerful than any computer yet built by man.
Given the proper commands, the subconscious mind’s prodigious ability to chunk down copious amounts of information makes it a powerful ally in the creative process. But it is also a robot, a slave to the programming that it has itself accepted and put in place, usually in our childhood years. That programming provides the parameters that we function within, unless and until we recognize the frail walls for what they are, and break free.
Aristotle’s allegory of the cave was meant to describe the difference between ordinary people and philosophers. In the allegory, people live in a cave, staring at a blank wall, upon which reflections are cast from a fire behind them. This is their only experience of reality, and it is what they believe the world is. The philosopher is the one who steps out of the cave, and realizes that what the people are seeing is not the world itself, but only a reflection, a version of that reality.
Likewise the subconscious mind shows us a picture of the world, and on a conscious level we happily operate within it. The limits or parameters of our world are built of the beliefs that we accept as children and reinforce throughout our lives. We believe, for instance, that we can never be thin, or we can never be affluent, or that the world is a place of scarcity so we had better play it safe. We believe that we are from this or that segment of society, but these beliefs are only reflections upon a cave wall. When you step out of that belief system, by seeing it for what it really is, you find that there is a much larger world and that you can decide for yourself how to operate within it.
Another allegory that works is the one offered by the movie The Truman Show. Let’s argue that the character of Truman represents our conscious minds operating in the world. Truman thinks that he is in charge of his life, his actions and his fate; he thinks he can go anywhere in his world that he wants to. He has no knowledge that his world has parameters that he cannot and does not cross, and those parameters are established by his subconscious mind, which in this case is represented by the director of the Truman Show. When Truman finally realizes there is a puppet master that has been controlling his life, those parameters all fall apart.
The secret to working with and getting the most out of your other-than-conscious mind is to understand how it works, and by doing that you can learn to move beyond the functions of this part of your mind that may serve to limit you and more fully tap into the functions that bring creativity, insight and genius. The robot that cannot operate outside of its programmed parameters will accept new programming, if you know how to provide it.
This is best done using hypnosis, self hypnosis and/or meditation as tools, because programming that resides in the subconscious mind requires access to the subconscious to change it. Change the programming, create new beliefs that enable you to reach your true potential, and then keep the channels to your inner genius open through a practice of self hypnosis and/or meditation, and use these tools to learn to listen to the language of your inner mind.