Your subconscious is the work desk of your mind. Controlling and directing it is the key to personal change.
As I said in the conscious mind article, your subconscious is a bit like the RAM in your computer. (For those who don’t know – RAM is the term used for the short term memory in a computer, and its job is to hold the programs and data that are currently in use so they can be reached quickly and easily by the computer processor. It’s a lot faster than the other types of memory, such as the hard disk or CD-ROM.)
Your subconscious works in a similar way to computer RAM. It holds short term memory and current daily used programs.
The Role of the Subconscious
Apart from short term memory, the subconscious also plays an important role in our day to day functioning.
It works hard at ensuring you have everything you need for quick recall and access to when you need it. Things like –
- Memories – such as what your telephone number is, how to drive a car without having to consciously think about it, what you need to get from the shop on the way home etc.
- Current programs you run daily, such as behaviors, habits, mood
- Filters (such as beliefs and values) to run information through to test their validity according to your perception of the world
- Sensations taken in via your 5 senses and what it means to you
If it doesn’t happen to have a filter or reference point in its RAM for some bits of information that come in, then it has a direct line to the storage place of the mind – the unconscious. It will ask the unconscious to pull out the programs that it best associates with the incoming data to help make sense of it all.
The subconscious is also constantly at work, staying a lot more aware of your surroundings than you realize. In fact, according to the NLP communication model we are assaulted with over 2 million bits if data every second. If your conscious mind had to deal with all that you would very quickly become overwhelmed and not be able to get anything done.
Instead, your subconscious filters out all the unnecessary information and delivers only that which is needed at the time, around 7 chunks of information. It does all this behind the scenes so you can perform your daily work uninhibited. And it does this as logically as it can, based on the programs it has access to in your unconscious.
And as discussed in the “How the Human Mind Works” article, it then communicates all the results into consciousness via emotions, feelings, sensations and reflexes, images and dreams. It doesn’t communicate in words.
The link into the Subconscious
One of the truly great things about the subconscious (and one which we need to take advantage of to affect change) is … it obeys orders!
People often erroneously think that the subconscious is in charge and you are merely at its mercy. In fact it’s the complete opposite. Your conscious mind gives it the direction, the environment if you like, for which it operates in. The subconscious will only deliver the emotions and feelings of what you continuously think about.
Now I’m not saying it’s as easy as changing what you think of in one moment and your entire life will be changed. In most cases your default programs have too much energy attached to them to change instantaneously. It can be done though – such as after a massive life altering event or if enough pain is associated with the old behavior – but without a major shift like that it is likely the old programs will reemerge.
(The best way to direct your subconscious towards change was discussed in the conscious mind article.)
To create lasting change requires some specific techniques that will have to be the subject of another article. For now though, lets move on to part 4 … exploring the role of the unconscious mind.