The Two Minds: Conscious and Subconscious

To get a clearer understanding of the subconscious mind, it's important to have a basic understanding of the conscious mind as well. This page will explore the characteristics of both parts of our mind and how they work.

The Conscious Mind

The conscious part of our mind is the part of our mind we're most familiar with. The aware part of us. It learns through the five senses; it judges, evaluates and analyzes just about everything we run across in this world. And because it's the reasoning, intellectual aspect of our mind, it's the part of our mind that makes decisions for us. In essence, the conscious mind uses the five senses to perceive the world around us and then evaluates and analyzes that world. Now, many of us believe the conscious part of our mind is the more powerful part of our mind. After all, it makes sense; our conscious mind is the decision maker, the boss. Right? While that may be true, there's another level of mind just below the conscious level of mind. And it's actually the more powerful part of our mind--the subconscious mind.

The Subconscious Mind

It's a bit ironic that we go through our daily lives being completely unaware of the most powerful part of our mind. Our subconscious mind records everything we take in through our five senses. It stores our experiences, our thoughts, and our belief systems. It carries out all our patterns of behavior for us. It's home to our intuition and imagination. It regulates all the involuntary functions of our body, and does so automatically. It heals our bodies. It protects us from traumatic memories. And it's home to our emotions, which is why it often overrides our conscious mind when it comes to behavior. And if you want to make changes in your life, it is absolutely critical to get your subconscious mind on board. Without its cooperation, you're not likely to be successful when it comes to making changes.

Your subconscious mind never judges, analyzes, or rationalizes; it simply accepts all information presented to it. It takes everything in without the need for analysis. Children are mostly subconscious mind until the age of 9 or 10 when their conscious minds begin to develop. Every drop of information taken in by children is stored and organized within their subconscious minds. All their experiences, along with the corresponding thoughts and feelings that accompany those experiences, become the foundation for the belief systems children develop and subsequently rely on as they go through their lives.

Physiological Responsibilities--As far as our bodies go, our subconscious mind breathes for us, keeps our hearts pumping, circulates blood throughout our body, takes care of of digestion and elimination, and carries out all the other involuntary functions of our body. And while we take it for granted, our subconscious mind heals us when we're injured.

Our subconscious automatically carries out all our habituated patterns of behavior for us. This includes all of our physical patterns of behavior--the way we walk and talk, our facial expressions, the way we shrug our shoulders, even the way we are postured as we read this web page. We never have to think about any of these actions. They are all automated by our subconscious. You see, we've programmed our subconscious mind to carry out these physical actions for us.

Habituated Patterns of Behavior--Our subconscious mind also carries out our habituated patterns of behavior when it comes to our relationships with other people and the world around us.

The subconscious is home to our emotions--which accounts for its dominance of the conscious mind. In most cases, our emotions will easily overrule the rational, analytical part of us. Whenever a conflict between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind arises, the subconscious mind almost always wins out. Ever been on a diet and had someone offer you some kind of tempting sweet? Maybe a cookie or a candy bar? Your rational mind knows you're on a diet and knows you shouldn't eat sweets. But you're feeling this tremendous urge to have the cookie or candy bar anyway. Say hello to your subconscious mind. It's bringing you the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings associated with eating sweets. You see, subconsciously, let's face it, you love sweets. And there's a pretty good chance you're going to eat that cookie or candy bar. That's why it's so important to learn how to work with your subconscious mind when it comes to making changes in your patterns of behavior. 

Most of our patterns of behavior are automated. Ever experienced an immediate dislike for someone you just met? You don't know the person at all. You've never met them before. Yet you're experiencing some unpleasant thoughts and feelings about the person. So why is this happening? Because it's an automated response carried out by your subconscious mind. The person very likely resembles someone from your past that you didn't like or may have had a bad experience with, and your subconscious mind is simply responding to that similarity. There's something about the person (their energy, the way they look, or perhaps their body language) that reminds you of the person you didn't like. When you met or knew the original person that caused you some kind of emotional upset or distress, your subconscious mind recorded your thoughts and feelings about that person. And later on, when you met someone who reminded you of the person you didn't like, it triggered an automated response carried out by your subconscious mind. This is how habituated patterns of behavior work.

Our subconscious programming is constantly being triggered by the world around us. And for the most part, it's all automated. We react to life rather than living life in a spontaneous and creative way. We're on automatic pilot, doing the same things over and over again, day in and day out. Why? Because we have the same thoughts today that we had yesterday. And the day before that, and on and on. And these same thoughts keep creating the same experiences for us. And we keep following the same patterns of behavior. And we will until we choose to think differently.

And here's how we generally come to the decision to think differently and make changes in our life. One day we realize we're in a rut, and we're sick and tired of being in that rut. That's a good thing. Because now we have the desire and the motivation necessary to make a change. Once our desire is strong enough, we just need a clear idea of the change we want to make. Then we have to go about getting our subconscious mind to assist us in creating the change we want to make. And that leads us to the next page in this section, the Subconscious as the Creative Mind.

To go back to the subconscious index page, go here.

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