Today we’re delving into the mysteries of the mind; how it operates, and how misalignment between your conscious and subconscious mind can create a state of inner conflict and hold you back from reaching your goals.
Your mind is essentially made up of two parts, the conscious mind (the tip of the iceberg), and the subconscious mind (everything thing we can’t see beneath the surface). Between the two is the critical faculty (the surface of the water), which serves as a filter between the two.
The Conscious mind
The Conscious mind represents a mere 5-10% of your mind power! Yes, only 5-10%!
This is the logical part of your mind that allows you to distinguish “right” from “wrong”, the “pros” from the “cons” when taking action or making decisions. It powers your short-term memory function, temporarily holding onto information before it goes on to be stored in your subconscious mind. This is also the part of your mind where your willpower originates.
The Subconscious is the other 90-95% of your mind.
This part of your mind contains all of your beliefs and is illogical and irrational. It works by association and doesn’t really understand the concept of past, present and future meaning that it will often operate in the present moment based on past events you’ve experienced, even if those events no longer represent a threat to you because its main role is to keep you safe from danger. Your creativity and emotions originate here and this is also home to your long-term memory.
How beliefs are formed in the Subconscious mind
Until age 2-3 the critical faculty, which acts like a filter for things we see, hear or are exposed to, is not yet fully established and so everything just drops right into the Subconscious mind and is stored there. In other words, if an adult tells a very young child the sky is orange, the child is going to take that for a fact because they don’t yet have the critical faculty in place to know fact from fiction.
Things start to change around age 2-3 and usually by age 8-9, the critical faculty is in place and begins to filter the information we receive day to day, giving us the ability to pick and choose the information we want and need to retain.
There is a catch here though…
The Critical Faculty isn’t foolproof!
There can be times throughout our lives when little gateways open up in the critical faculty and the wrong information slips through, creating beliefs within the subconscious mind that can then play out in unhealthy habits and behaviours.
This can happen when we’re:
- Dealing with people of authority (parents, teachers, medical professionals, etc.)
- Feeling overwhelmed or emotional
- In the presence of a person we look up to, or whose opinion of us matters
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
What does all this have to do with Hypnosis?
The Conscious and the Subconscious mind don’t always agree on things (because our subconscious beliefs don’t always align with our conscious awareness), resulting in an inner conflict. When the Conscious and the Subconscious mind are not aligned, this can make reaching certain goals you’ve set for yourself difficult. You might even find yourself saying things like “Part of me wants/feels like X, but another part of me wants/feels like Y”.
Let’s take the very common example of a smoker who wants to quit smoking. The smoker is very consciously aware of the many dangers of smoking. These dangers are plastered all over the cigarette pack, medical professionals have likely told them they need to quit for their health, they’ve seen articles about lung cancer and maybe even know someone who’s died of cancer. They know! On the other side of the equation, their subconscious is holding onto a belief that smoking helps them reduce their stress and anxiety, or it makes them look cool, or it’s the only pleasure they have in life, or whatever their personal belief may be, and this belief makes it difficult to quit the habit they consciously know could make them very ill, or even kill them.
In a state of hypnosis, the critical faculty can easily be bypassed, allowing access to your long-term memory and making it possible to establish a dialogue between the Conscious and the Subconscious during which:
- You can communicate your desired outcomes and goals to your subconscious mind
- Your subconscious mind can provide insight as to what beliefs are holding you back from reaching your goals
- Messages stored in the Subconscious can be reframed and updated
The result is an alignment between your Conscious mind and your Subconscious, making it possible for you to resolve the inner conflict and finally reach your goal!