Firstly, thank you to the Rogue Hypnotist for inspiration on this post – for more in-depth, check out his book series on Amazon.
Understanding The Mind
What’s the difference between the amateur and the pro? The amateur gropes around in the dark and hopes to hit, while the professional knows with surgical precision how to hit the mark each time. How do they achieve such dramatic differences in results?
Simple: the professional seeks truth, while the amateur is swayed by biases and preconceived ideas. The professional desires truth above all else, even if (or especially if) that truth goes against conventional wisdom, socially accepted norms, and societal programming.
This TEDx Talk by Leonard Mlodinow explores how dramatically our lives are impacted by our unconscious minds, and we’re not even aware of it.
Societal programming is helpful for keeping tribe cohesion, however it often involves disguising the truth. We tell ourselves for example that marriage is good and everyone should do it, yet conveniently forget to mention that the divorce rate is about 50%. Would you buy a car that only worked 50% of the time?
The professional always seeks to have a clear and accurate understanding of the reality of how the world actually works, so they can navigate through it more smoothly.
In order to navigate smoothly through the world, you must seek truth.
In this case, truth is about understanding the mind and how it operates. By understanding the mind, we can help to guide and direct it in the productive directions we want to take it. Think of it like training a dog. Our minds are filled with untapped potential, yet they’re wild and rabid, and need some gentle guidance and direction.
The Conscious Mind
This is the layer of the mind we’re all familiar with, where we operate from a level of conscious decision. The conscious mind is highly analytical, logical, and it is excellent at concentrating on just one task at a time, but easily gets stressed and overwhelmed.
It has a powerful ability to focus narrowly, which is why hypnosis generally involves focusing the attention of the conscious mind, to keep it occupied. The conscious mind is always on the hunt, always alert for danger – this is the part of our mind that is always scanning and looking for problems.
When we get an academic education, it generally has a heavy focus at accessing the conscious level of the mind. This is why educated and smart people are so ‘in their heads’. The conscious mind works to make plans, and scans to ensure strategies are being used effectively.
The conscious mind generally just focuses on one single thing. For men this is doubly true, who are excellent at focusing on one singular task (the hunt). Women by contrast are better at multitasking as a way of maintaining the health and happiness of a whole group of children and the tribe.
The subconscious mind absorbs everything, but works to protect the fragile conscious mind by only letting through the information that is absolutely essential to avoid overloading it.
The conscious mind is curious and excited to learn new skills (build new defenses). The conscious mind is a rationalization machine – working to justify on-going behaviour – The conscious mind is always seeking to justify logically that what it is doing makes sense.
The conscious mind does have a strong ability to think critically, to ask questions and to defy the established order – however – this can be superseded if the person feels more strongly attracted to approval from the group, fitting in, and social cohesion.
People may develop multiple personalities or multiple ‘masks’ they show the world. If for example they were pressured by a parent to take a job they didn’t want, they’ll present one image of themselves to the world – while hiding their true self, feelings and desires.
Note: as we go deeper into the mind, we need different language to communicate with the non-logical, non-linear parts of our mind. They have their own ways of understanding the world.
The Preconscious Mind
Neuroscience has found that the brain will think thoughts before the persons consciousness is aware of them – meaning they are – preconscious.
The preconscious mind represents the ‘tip of the tongue’ phenomenon – when you feel like you have a thought or idea, but can’t quite access it.
This acts as one final filter between the subconscious and conscious mind. In essence the ‘Google’ of the mind, allowing you to make requests to the deeper subconscious.
The Subconscious Mind
Is responsible for dealing with everyday habits that have become automatic. Think of when you took a long drive familiar drive – and when you got to your destination you couldn’t even remember driving there – that was the subconscious taking over.
This is the power of setting strong habits. When you set a habit, it becomes drilled into your subconscious mind – and your subconscious mind just does it without thinking about it. This is why setting good habits is so powerful and important.
Remember, it takes 21 days to build a new habit, or a new way of being or a new lifestyle
Most hypnotic change occurs at this level of the brain – as it is this level that is responsible for emotions, and it is emotions that will override the logical functions of our brains, and make us do things we never wanted to do.
This layer of the brain is deeply affected by emotive language and vague trance / hypnotic language – Use emotion and vivid imagery to spark excitement at this level of the brain. Feelings and emotions rule the day here.
The Unconscious Mind
Nearly the deepest level of the psyche – however instead of being affected by feelings and emotions, this area of the brain sees symbols and is responsible for dreaming. It discharges all anxiety and emotional rumination that accumulates during the day: helping to keep you sane.
Symbols can dramatically program the human psyche and de-condition it too – with regards to the latter only as long as the symbols are subjectively generated.
Contains unconscious beliefs and awareness that may well be in conflict with conscious beliefs.
Can be programmed through song or music or symbols so that certain behaviours manifest as a result. The unconscious mind is the source of all creativity, insights, and ideas – it has vast deep pools of wisdom – full of untapped potential.
In this video Jordan Peterson dissects the unconscious mind based on the leading research by Sigmund Frued:
The Superconscious Mind
Suggestive part of the mind that is aware of more than consciousness, is ‘hyper aware’.
The conscious mind is able to lie to hide the truth, but the deeper layers of the mind always seek pure truth – and always seek ways to express it – even by ‘sideways’, non-linear or non-conventional methods.
The ultimate core of who you truly are – the place beyond your name – it contains your true sense of self, your identity.
Some hypnotherapists call this the ‘hidden observer’ or ‘the wiser you’ or ‘the wiser self’ – to speak to it, say ‘I’m not talking to the deepest part of who you truly are’.
This speaks to the religious level of the spirit.
So What Does It All Mean?
Bad habits, bad emotional responses, illness and disease tend to be caused when consciousness is out of alignment with deeper layers of the mind.
For example with weight loss, a client consciously wants to eat less, but the emotional subconscious overrides those feelings and makes them want to eat more.
Or for anxiety, on a conscious level they’re aware there is nothing to be afraid of, but the subconscious is bombarding them with fear signals.
This is why willpower alone can be difficult to change habits or to eliminate addictions. Willpower is limited only to the conscious mind.
Hypnosis is simply a vehicle to speak directly to the subconscious, and politely ask it to be okay with letting go of some past bad habits, and to be excited for the formation of some new good, healthy habits.
This video by Actualized.org takes you through how to use the power of visualization to reprogram your subconscious mind:
The subconscious and unconscious minds communicate through non-logical and non-verbal forms, relying heavily on emotions, feelings and symbols. Therefore in order to communicate with and influence them, we need to implement these forms of language.
Visualization uses the power of these feelings, emotions and symbols, to communicate directly with these lower levels of the mind, and in time, are able to reprogram them, and shift their behaviour.
If for example, you visualized your perfect day, or your perfect life, and you drilled that into your subconscious mind over and over and over again – your subconscious mind would then start making you act in accordance with those beliefs, it wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.
And that is probably the simplest way of understanding the subconscious mind: it makes you act in accordance with how it understands the world.
If it thinks that you’re weak and pathetic, it will make you act weak and pathetic. If it believes that you’re strong and powerful, it will make you act strong and powerful.
So the trick is to program the subconscious mind to believe you are the way you want to be, and as soon as the subconscious locks in this new understanding of the world, it will dictate that you behave in accordance with that.
Use the process of visualization to speak directly to the subconscious. If you’re serious about this, practice visualization 2-3x per day, for at least 10-15 minutes each.
Visualize the life you want to live, how it looks, how it tastes, how it feels – what emotions are you experiencing – what symbols are in your life?
You have the power to rewrite your own life as you see fit, you don’t have to be a prisoner to anyone else’s script (anymore).