Your subconscious mind, the part of you that dreams and feels and regulates your body, doesn’t understand you. Well, at least not in the way you consciously understand understanding. Are you still with me? Oh dear.
Let me start with a basic premise: language is a conscious understanding. What that means is that it is a logical system of sounds used to communicate information from one conscious mind to the other. It’s how we talk to one another and express our needs, wants and thoughts. The words you are reading at this very moment are, mostly, being processed logically by your conscious mind. To be brief, your conscious mind’s realm is that of logic, willpower and decision making. The present moment is all the conscious mind knows.
Your subconscious mind is something much different and its understanding comes in different forms. This mind controls a vast number of systems, internal and external, at all times. It does not sleep, it does not rest and it does not stop until your heart does. The subconscious mind regulates your heartbeat and the temperature of your skin. It provides the conscious mind with information through association, be that through emotion or memory or both. For my purpose today, however, we’ll be discussing what I believe to be its most fascinating trait: Its language is not words.
To the subconscious mind, language is imagery, emotion, metaphor and memory. For example, let’s take a simple word like dog. To the conscious mind, a dog is well defined: four legged animal, furry, etc. Its understanding of the word is strictly academic. To the subconscious mind, a dog can mean so much more: a beloved pet with years of treasured companionship, a feared creature with gleaming teeth or a source of deeply sad and painful memories.
This part of your mind associates its understanding. Dogs are memories and the emotions that go with them, good or bad. It harbors our fears and defines what we know as love; it does it all through its perception of experience. That’s an important thing to understand and bears repeating: the perception of experience and not an objective or perfect recollection.
This understanding of images and emotion is the very reason that our fiction exists. Movies, books and all manner of other media exist both to engage the conscious mind and stimulate the subconscious; it does that through an understanding of the language of the subconscious mind. Let me demonstrate through an exercise you can use in your own life.
I want you to think of a memory that comes up a lot, not anything really bad but just something embarrassing or uncomfortable. When you have that memory I just want you to close your eyes for a moment and hold out your hand, palm up as if holding something.
Now take a few deep breaths and imagine, picture or pretend that if you could hold that memory or that thought in your hand, what would it look like? Does it have a feel and how heavy is it? In whatever way you can imagine, get as clear of an image of this thing in your hand as possible.
When it is clear and you can almost actually feel this thing, whatever it may be, in your hand simply see yourself set it to the side. If you wish, you may throw it away from you or place it on a shelf or in a box or whatever feels right to you. Please do not ingest the metaphor ball.
How do you feel?
Strange, isn’t it? Why does that actually have an immediate effect on us? It is because you used the language of your subconscious to communicate a simple message: See this thing, this feeling? I don’t want to feel it right now, thank you. Any time you have a thought, a feeling or an emotion that you do not think you are having at an appropriate time, set it aside.
That said, it is important to note the feelings and memories that you have set aside. You shouldn’t simply ignore them and need to explore and resolve your feelings when it is more appropriate. Do not simply use this as a handy tool for bottling emotion, that bottle holds less than you think and is under a huge amount of pressure.
Like any language, it must be practiced to be learned. Explore your subconscious with me, that part of ourselves that is both universal and all too often ignored. Let us speak with that hidden part of ourselves together; through that gain an understanding of ourselves and the world around us that surpasses simply the conscious.
After all, it’s all in your head. So are the answers, though.
Until next time.
J. Robert Parker, C.Ht
Twin Ravens Solutions