In the diagram above, the conscious mind is shown above the level of awareness. It is akin to the left hemisphere of the brain and provides the following functions:
- Awareness - Anytime you are aware, you have your conscious mind to thank for it.
We constantly take in information on a subconscious level and selectively become consciously aware of only a
fraction of that information. For example, if you stop and think about your breathing, you just brought a subconscious
activity up to your level of awareness. You became consciously aware of your breathing. Think about your father's name.
Once again you brought information from your subconscious mind (your memory) up to your level of awareness.
This is a natural exchange of information that takes place all of the time. If you know someone who seems to be
extremely observant it is because they have acquired the ability to have a stronger sense of awareness.
- Contacts Reality - The conscious mind allows us to be aware of "reality" through our perceptions.
This information is taken in through the five senses. On a conscious level when we see something we believe it to be real.
This information can be erroneous however, such as when we see a mirage or watch a magic trick.
Traumatic situations often blur the line between what is real and what we perceive as surrealistic or unreal.
These experiences fool our perceptions to varying degrees and create a distortion in our sense of reality.
This can hold true with any of our sensory experiences, whether we hear something, taste or smell something, or
feel something. When there is a congruency between what we perceive and what we believe from past expereince we call
this "reality". This is a function of our conscious mind.
- Reason and Logic - The conscious mind is your intellectual mind.
It deals with the ability to problem solve through reason and logic.
It follows intellectual avenues of probability testing, analyzing information through inductive and deductive reasoning.
- Critical and Judgmental - The conscious mind is very analytical in it's approach.
Through the use of criticisms it passes judgements and conclusions about life's experiences.
These expereinces are sent to the subconscious mind to be stored as a memory.
- Time Sequence - The conscious mind operates within the parameters of sequential time.
On a conscious level things occur in a linear, orderly fashion.
- Space Sequence and Boundaries - The conscious mind operates within the parameters of space and boundaries.
Once again it functions in an orderly, sequential way, setting boundaries and parameters as a way to establish a sense
- Language of Words and Numbers - The conscious mind "thinks" in words and numbers. When we think in words or numbers we are processing this information through our conscious minds.
In the above diagram, the subconscious mind is shown to be below our level of awareness. The subconscious mind is very different from the conscious mind and is akin to the right hemisphere of the brain. The subconscious mind provides the following functions.
- Memory Bank or Computer - The subconscious mind stores everything that you have ever experienced.
Every image, sound, feeling, taste and sound are recorded here. This information is stored through memory in the cells
of the mind and the body. These memories are really nothing more than electrical impulses and chemical reactions.
Most of what we believe about ourselves is a product of our life's experiences.
The majority of these beliefs are primarily a product of the first 10 years of life.
This is when the neuropathways of the brain are being formed.
After about 10 years of age, everything that we experience simply reinforces what we already believe to be true!
Through hypnosis, old ideas and out dated beliefs can be changed.
- Controls and Regulates the Autonomic Nervous System - The subconscious mind is responsible for all of our
bodily functions. It keeps our heart beating, it keeps us breathing, we blink our eyes, our blood continues to flow
throughout our bodies etc. These things continue to function without conscious thought.
Even when we sleep at night, our subconscious mind allows the natural processes of our bodies to function.
This is why hypnosis can be helpful in eliminating health problems. When we enter subconscious activity, the
autonomic nervous system can be accessed and influenced.
- Emotions - The subconscious mind is the seat of our emotions and our feelings.
It is a feeling mind. When we tap into this subconscious activity we can learn to control our emotions and can learn
to improve feelings of self confidence and self worth.
- Imagination and Creativity - The subconscious mind is responsible for our imagination and our creative process.
When we participate in art or music we are stimulating the right hemisphere of the brain. When we dream at night,
it is our subconscious mind that creates these dreams. This is why they can often be bizarre and very creative!
- Goal Strives - The subconscious mind goal strives for us through the process of the imagination.
Everything that we have created in our world began as an idea, just a thought in someone's imagination.
We have a choice as to what we create as our reality. Positive and realistic goals are very important.
They perpetuate life, keeping us moving forward and serve to create motivation.
It is no wonder that depressed people typically lack motivation, for they also have no goals.
- Habitual Conduct - A habit is something that we do over and over again without having to think about it.
This is a process of the subconscious mind.
Addictions to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol and food are all habits which are perpetuated on a subconscious level.
This is why hypnosis can be effective in eliminating negative habits.
Hypnosis allows access to the subconscious mind so that these behaviors can be changed.
- Illogical Logic - The subconscious mind functions with an "illogical logic".
What that means is that it may create negative situations as means to an end.
For example, I once worked with a teenage boy who had serious food allergies.
If he ate certain foods his reaction would be so severe that he would be rushed to the hospital.
Through hypnotic regression we learned that his allergies started at the age of 4 when his sister was born.
When I asked him why they started he replied "My new sister gets all of the attention.
When I have to go to the hospital then I get all of the attention.
Bad attention is better than no attention at all."
After just a few Hypnotherapy sessions, I am happy to report that this teenage boy can now eat anything that he chooses
without any allergic reaction at all.
Of course this makes no sense on a conscious level but remember that the subconscious mind is not at all logical.
After 18 years of working with clients through Hypnotherapy and regression, I have witnessed that the subconscious
mind often creates negative expressions for an illogical secondary gain.
- Unreasonable - The subconscious mind is often unreasonable and manipulates the environment for a
subconscious benefit which does not always create a healthy outcome. The above story is an example of this type of behavior.
- Unbounded by Time, Space, and Sequence - The subconscious mind does not recognize boundaries, time or space.
Through hypnosis it is possible to regress back in time, explore a memory from long ago, deal with it in the present
time and change the perception of the situation. When you change the perception you can change the reaction.
Once again, the above story is a good example.
- Language of Feelings, Pictures, and Sensory Stimulation - The language of the subconscious mind is that of feelings, images, sounds, tastes and smells. In other words, sensory stimulation. Even imaginary ideas are powerful enough to create positive changes.
It is important to note that these two parts of mind are constantly sharing information. They both operate even in the state of hypnosis. When a person is experiencing hypnosis, they are consciously aware and can talk and function on every level. They are able to retrieve and understand subconscious information including memories related to the problem. It is important to know that you only remember information that you are ready to process. Your mind protects you. Deeply suppressed memories cannot be forced to surface. You are in control at all times and will only recall information that you are ready to work through.
From the beginning of our lives, our experiences create our beliefs. These thoughts create our reality, providing instructions for our body to follow. Think of a positive experience and you can feel it in your body. Think of a negative experience and the body responds with a different reaction. Fortunately, our minds are incredibly agile. Hypnosis provides an avenue to change old outdated thoughts and perceptions, allowing new ideas to flourish , providing new instructions for our minds and our bodies to follow.