Conscious, Subconscious or Just Unconscious?
For those of you who are just now gingerly stepping into the self improvement arena and aren’t too sure about whether or not this mental programming concept is a possibility, here are a couple of examples that might help.
Just for the heck of it, let’s say our brains function on at least two different levels. Apart from automatically controlling respiration, digestion and all of the other functions necessary for us to keep living, let’s imagine that we have one section that we consciously use to analyze stuff and make reasonably logical observations and decisions. We’ll call this the “conscious” section. The other section, which we’ll refer to as the “subconscious” acts like a dumb old computer and blindly processes and stores the “facts” that we feed into it. It then automatically refers to these “facts” as we cruise through life and uses them to influence (control?) the rest of our thoughts, opinions or actions. Information that does not mesh easily with (or is not consistent with) the “facts” that are already stored are quickly, automatically rejected as false. Information that blends with that which is in storage is readily accepted and used to reinforce the previous programming.
A simple example. When we were born, we had no idea what the word “no” meant. After repeated reprimands and hearing the word “no” coupled with slaps on the hand or swats on the butt, we learned that “no” meant pain and that our caregivers didn’t want us to continue to pull the kitty’s tail or eat out of the dog’s dish. This important information was dutifully stored in our subconscious. We no longer had to think about what “no” meant. We just knew. OK, whether we then consciously forced ourselves past this knowledge to do those things we weren’t supposed to do was up to us. A separate decision. But we still automatically knew what “no” meant. We still do.
One more example. Think about your signature. When you first attempted to make those lines that represented your name, it was really an effort. You had to consciously think about what you were doing and actually drew the lines that formed the letters. Now whaddaya do? Zip – blap – you’re done! It’s all automatic. The programming (yeah, this is like a habit thing) is doing the job for you. Just as a sidelight here, watch an elderly person write their signature. It’s sliding back to the drawing mode again, isn’t it? And what happens if you try to write your signature with your other hand? With very few exceptions, we have to work really hard to get past our programming to draw something that resembles the scrawl of a five year old.
The bottom line? It appears to me (yeah, this is my programming – or maybe even reprogramming – talking) that our subconscious has stored and reinforced all kinds of “facts” that heavily influence our perceptions of life, our values, our prejudices, our beliefs and how we respond (or automatically react) to the multitude of events that occur daily. And – just as it is difficult for us to switch hands when writing our signature, it is not at all easy to switch our perceptions and modify our programming so that we are receptive to suggestions and alternate ways of thinking. It is not easy to see that with perhaps only a few small changes in our thought patterns, our lives could be so much better and so much more enjoyable than they are now. It just ain’t easy!
But it is possible! Maybe we oughtta think about it…
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