Have you ever noticed how sometimes people say they want something in life, they have a goal or want to make a change, but they just never seem to be able to do it? Try as they might, they just seem to be held back by something. You might think it’s their circumstance or maybe a mental block. Or looking at your own life, have you ever noticed how you might create a big goal for yourself, but you don’t seem to be getting there very fast?
That’s because just saying we want something in life is not enough. Even if we go to the next level to get support in achieving what we want, sometimes nothing seems to work for us. What comes into play -besides saying we want something and taking action steps- is also a hidden element: our programming.
Our programming can also be referred to as our mindset. What are the thoughts, behaviors and ways of relating to this world that make you think and act as you do?
Each person is unique. Two people can have the same goals and same circumstances, but one person achieves their goal while another does not. The hidden element of our mindset is something we need to look at for ourselves.
The Conscious Mind vs. Subconscious Mind
Before we can understand our programming or get to the core of our issues, we must first understand the difference between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
Most people go through life without really understanding why they do what they do or what makes them operate. We tend to live at the conscious level, noticing just what’s happening to us on the physical level. What we don’t realize is that we essentially have our own internal operating system, which is driving all that we do. And if we can dig deep and get a clear picture of how we operate, we not only get to better understand ourselves, we also get to make better decisions and choices for our lives. We will have a better understanding of how we operate, and we can then work with it, rather than against it.
The conscious mind is whatever you are aware of in the present moment. The conscious mind can be characterized by your thoughts.
The subconscious mind is whatever you are not aware of in the present moment. The subconscious mind can be characterized by both our deep thoughts and feelings.
Take a moment to experience both your conscious mind and subconscious mind at work. You’ll need a blank piece of paper and pen for this exercise. On one side of the paper write “Conscious Mind”. On the other side write “Subconscious Mind”.
As you read these words, you are using your conscious mind. Stop for a moment. Notice the constant running of thoughts that are still there. Write down the thoughts you are experiencing at this exact moment on the “Conscious Mind” side of your paper.
Perhaps you wrote: “I am writing this down because I am being told to.” Or, “I like learning about the brain.” Or, “I wonder where this is going.”
These thoughts are your conscious mind at work. Your conscious mind allows you to process the external world around you.
The subconscious mind, on the other hand, is the processing of your internal world. To get in touch with the internal takes a little more work. Some people find this very difficult to do, so don’t worry if you have trouble with this portion of the exercise.
Before accessing the subconscious mind, write down one of the following questions of your choice on the top of your paper on the “Subconscious” side:
- Who am I?
- What do I need right now?
- What am I most afraid of?
- What am I really feeling right now?
Let go of the question you chose for now. To access your subconscious mind, sit quietly for a few minutes. Breathe in and out deeply. Notice your breath. Notice each time you inhale and exhale. If you experience a thought, let it roll off the top of your mind. Come back to your breath. Notice any sounds around you—birds chirping, the wind blowing, your refrigerator humming, the neighbor kids playing in the background. Breathe in and out deeply for another minute. Then open your eyes, read your question, and write down the first things that come to you.
Your answer may surprise you. It may not be something you have considered before. Or perhaps you felt your conscious mind taking over and answering instead. In any case, the subconscious mind was working to deliver an internal answer to the question.
If you feel the process is very difficult for you, or even impossible, to be able to move your life forward, ask for the support of an expert, ask for the support of a Coach. He/she will know to guide you on the path beyond your personal blockages and towards real solutions, so that you can reach your full potential and achieve your goals.
Nicole Mantzikopoulou, Sept 2019