This month I’m going to be covering the unconscious mind and meditations twin sister hypnosis. Both meditation and hypnosis give you direct access to your unconscious mind, the difference between the two? Fundamentally, I don’t think that there is much difference, if any at all – self-hypnosis and meditation I believe are exactly the same thing; hypnosis to me is a form of a guided meditation. The bottom line is that both give you access to the unconscious mind.
When asked the question “what is the unconscious mind?”, one of my mentors answered quite simply: “It is the part of your mind that you’re not conscious of, right now”.
And that’s the simple answer.
It’s not where I’m going to finish this article though!
I’m expand on this definition given by my mentor further: the unconscious mind is the part of your mind that takes care of everything which you’re not actively thinking about, eg beating your heart, breathing, digesting, filtration through your kidneys, hormone production, homeostasis – and a whole bunch of other physiological actions which “just happen”.
These don’t actually “just happen”, but rather they’re controlled and regulated by the unconscious mind.
Now far be it for me to explain this whole concept in one article – psychologists and fringe psychologists have been studying the unconscious mind for years – it has even been studied by philosophers, scientists, writers, artists, theologists, spiritualists, psychics, metaphysicians, linguists and a whole lot of other academics – and we’re all still studying the unconscious mind for more answers, which in turn tend to produce more questions, and so we’re off to seek more answers…
What I aim to do is to cover the essentials of the unconscious mind, not present a complete work.
So What Does The Unconscious Mind Do?
Here are what are called “The Prime Directives of the Unconscious Mind”:
- The unconscious mind:
- 1. Stores memories
The unconscious mind can store memories in two ways: temporally and atemporally.
Temporal means that memories are stored in relationship to time – a chronological sequence.
Atemporal refers to memories that are not stored in a relationship to time, like languages and the meanings of words. There’s no significant need to store the learning of meanings in a chronological way.
2. Makes associations and learns quickly
The unconscious mind learns by associating – linking similar things and ideas with each other. This creates patterns of recognition and this is how learning happens quickly.
The first time you learn something brand new, it’s can take time, however learning similar things will be learnt rapidly. Think of the first time a baby learns to walk – they stumble and fall, but eventually get it right. Running is not as time consuming because they’ve learnt how to walk, and the action of running is similar to that of walking – and so by associating walking and running, the unconscious mind learns to run quicker, than when it learnt how to walk.
- 3. Organises all your memories
The unconscious mind stores memories according to your time line – a chronological system of storing memories. It also groups them using a Gestalt mechanism, which is nothing like Gestalt therapy, but rather a method of grouping memories based on emotional events and subject matter.
The result is that memories are organised by the chronology of the feelings and the subject matter.
- 4. Represses memories with unresolved negative emotion
The unconscious mind represses memories as a protective mechanism, otherwise life would get a bit intense and overwhelming. Often it’s not appropriate to resolve the negative emotion, so it needs to be postponed, and the unconscious mind puts it to one side until you’re ready to resolve these issues.
- 5. Presents repressed memories for resolution.
When you are ready to deal with repressed emotions, the unconscious mind will present them back to you at the conscious level for resolution.
It does this through processing through the emotions logically and rationally, in a calm way so that you can learn from the events that caused the emotion in the first place.
6. May keep the repressed emotions repressed for protection
Sometimes, you may never be ready to face the repressed emotions. Severely traumatising events may never be dealt with rationally by you, and as a result, the unconscious mind will keep them repressed for your protection. As such, often people have no complete recollection of events that cause significant emotional trauma.
- 7. Runs the body
So I mentioned it earlier – the unconscious mind does everything from managing your central nervous system, to keeping your heart beat regular, to releasing adrenaline when you are being threatened, to fighting infections.
In fact, the unconscious mind has what is commonly known as a “blueprint” of your body, both now, and in it’s condition of perfect health. This is why it effectively runs the immune system, or heals injuries, because it knows the condition of perfect health is where it needs to be.
This is why being in synch with your unconscious mind can help you be a healthier, more well balanced person; there are many ways to access the unconscious mind, mainly through hypnosis or through meditation.
- 8. Preserves the body
Preserving the body is the highest priority for the unconscious mind, and as such, it will do whatever it can to make sure that the integrity of the body is maintained.
The unconscious mind will respond to the world around you to preserve you. Sometimes in responding to what’s around you, it can get confused, and this manifests as dis-ease (spelt this way intentionally).
- 9. Is the domain of the emotions
Major negative and positive emotions are all sourced from the unconscious mind. Some people feel emotions in other parts of their body, like in the pit of their stomach when their feeling anxious, or in their heart when they’re feeling love – but the truth of the matter is that all of these emotions not only take form in the unconscious mind, but they are also ruled by the unconscious mind.
Now the unconscious mind always wants to do the right thing, and it’s foundations are based upon the morality you were taught and accepted.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that this morality is accepted by social norms, but rather it’s a reflection of the morality of the individual.
In part 2 of this article, I’ll go through the other prime directives of the unconscious mind, to give you a clear understanding of exactly what the job of the unconscious mind is.