In this first part you will get to know the meaning of the Conscious and the Unconscious mind.
The Unconscious mind got major recognition with Freud’s work. It was not that it was not known before that. The old Hindu scriptures are replete with references to ways and means of affecting your “inner self.”
Many people are confused or unaware of what the Unconscious is all about. In order to understand it, you have to look at the Conscious mind.
The Conscious mind is the aspect of us that allows us to plan our life, to think about philosophy of life or to create a routine in life. It is a “thinker.” It has made the world a materialistic place, with all the advancements in technology. It is associated with the left hemisphere of the brain. It is logical, factual, practical and business like. It is unemotional. From anatomical perspectives it is supposed to be located in the New Brain or Neocortex or Cerebrum. It is the part of the nervous system that makes us more intelligent as compared to other animals. It is considered to be the more mature, thinking part of the nervous system.
The Unconscious is a bit different form of consciousness. It is the part of the nervous system that is emotional. It is a “feeler.” It is supposed to be more influenced by the right cerebral hemisphere. It is the part that controls our habits. Anatomically it is associated with the older parts of the brain- the basal ganglia, hypothalamus, the hippocampus and is associated with the control of almost all of our internal organs. This part of the nervous system is oblivious to logic. It makes you cry and laugh and feel the feelings that you feel. Freud and others describe it as if it is like a child. It defies logic but plays a very important part in your life. It is a dreamer. This is where dreams come from. It is creative. It makes stories, fantasizes, creates images and enjoys music. And interestingly it helps the nervous system store images.
What influences do the Conscious and the Unconscious mind have in your life?
Suppose you are struggling with a habit of drinking too much. If someone asks you why you do that, you may say “I don’t know.” But you can also defend yourself by saying that you cannot control your drinking once you start. You may be asked to “just stop” drinking “too much” by someone who wishes you well. You know that it is a tall order. You cannot “just stop” drinking too much because someone tells you to do so. You just cannot control your drinking.
This example is true of many other habits you may have. You cannot control them. On the negative side, you may be gambling or you may be using drugs or you may be addicted to food. On the positive side, you may be engaged in doing regular physical exercise because you “enjoy” engaging in a physical activity. As long as you do them as a habit, they are controlled by your Unconscious.
All habits, good or bad, are controlled by the Unconscious. The Unconscious, as stated before, is illogical. But when you understand the power and the abilities of the Unconscious, you can change almost every habit that you would like to change. More than words, the Unconscious appreciates feelings. That is why almost all “life changing” experiences involve emotions and feelings. If you know how you can influence your own Unconscious, you can master your life.
There is another interesting thing about the relationship between the Conscious and the Unconscious. They influence each other.
If you are in the habit of leading your life as a professional or as a busy worker, it is likely that your Conscious mind has been more active than the Unconscious mind. With the logical Conscious mind so active, you are sometimes likely to lose the ability to be creative or even to enjoy music or arts. You will then probably describe yourself as a “busy” and “practical” person. You will find it hard to change your habits. You will believe, most likely, that you “don’t do emotions.”
Another interesting fact is that if you can influence your Unconscious mind to change, your Conscious mind naturally follows it because it has no option but to respect the change. This is the law of Nature.
How do we influence the Unconscious mind to change? We will explore in the future posts.