Recently, I had a brief but poignant face off with positive thinking. Here’s how it shook down, and what we learned from it because growth should be a fruit of shakedowns:
I spend a weekend reading about the subconscious mind and how to access it, how it controls us, how to affect it. I then ended up on a phone call that quickly and seemingly uncontrollably turned negative. When I realized I wouldn’t be able to save it, I abruptly hung up.
I have very little tolerance for negativity or pessimism. Though it may have its occasional justification (somewhere, I’m sure?), hanging up on people isn’t something I do. In this instance, as an impulsive act of disallowing a situation to continue to exist, I chose to.
And promptly felt guilty. By cutting us off, I’d hurt us both. So, I disregarded my ego and redialed, because resolution is a cure for more than we realize.
I’m left alone with my now-full mind and feeling very affected but definitely wanting not to, having intended to snuff the negativity not ignite it.
Speaking of fire, I light palo santo and plug myself into a theta brain-wave playlist, determined that I will not think about it a second longer. Because indulging anything, even in thought and especially in word or action, is giving it time, which is life.
At that point I realize I’m basically brainwashing myself — quite actually cleaning my mind. The ideas of thought control and the subconscious that I’d been exploring all day in action. Which we can now get into.
Following are highlights from my reading around subconscious access, control and affects. By no means comprehensive but a fair summary and directly relevant to that cute anecdote above.
The Conscious and Subconscious Minds
The conscious mind:
Is responsible for acts and action. Determines and directs. Thinks.
The subconscious mind:
Supplies the material for determinations. Is expressive and impressionable. Reacts.
Neuroscientists have shown that the conscious mind provides 5% or less of our cognitive (conscious) activity during the day — and 5% they say is for the more aware people, many people operate at just 1% consciousness.
Impressing the Subconscious: Feelings, not thoughts, impress (as in cause impressions on) the subconscious. If uncontrolled, it is (we are) affected entirely by our environment. Which is the equivalent of being victimized. Unless you’re in a situation you’d like to be susceptible or receptive to, of which there are plenty. But, progress and power reside in selectivity. (Personal opinion.)
The mind that doesn’t control feelings is subconsciously impressed upon by anything.
If using thought to impress the subconscious, “the thought must be identical to the desired outcome”, not opposite. Meaning: It’s not productive to think “I don’t want to be unhappy anymore.” It is productive to think “I am happy.” Even more so to feel it.
This speaker suggested that “faith and desire” in alignment with the desired outcome is the most effective subconscious affect method.
I disagree with the requirement of faith, unless defined as choosing to believe something, which is actually how I define it, which then is one in the same as thought control, isn’t it? If the feeling is what we need to cause, to impress the subconscious, then the means is irrelevant.
Therefore, do not think “feelingly” about “wrong”.
On Control Addiction & Codependency:
Control is the root of all conflict. Addiction to controlling lifestyle, environment, others, causes feelings of anxiety and fear. Which is ironic, because our control addiction is all an attempt to control feelings. (Makes sense, if we are motivated by the subconscious. Is it protecting itself?) And, one in the same, that we are ultimately fear-driven. Control addicts require an opposite, corrective experience of giving up control (and surviving) to progress.
(In my experience, this has been the greatest cure for anxiety.)
Gestalt Paradoxical Theory of Change: Change does not take place by “trying,” coercion, persuasion, or by insight, interpretation, or any other such means. Rather, change can occur when the patient abandons what he would like to become and attempts to be what he is. The premise is that one must stand in one place in order to have firm footing to move and that it is difficult or impossible to move without that footing.
So, where do we currently stand? How about: Control your thoughts to teach your subconscious, knowing that it’s the driver of our lives, and that it can be fearful and controlling. That’s circular. Let’s take a step: Control your thoughts to teach your subconscious that it needn’t be fearful. That then we imagine leads to expansion rather than contraction. Enlightenment rather than preoccupation.
Now, let’s get physical.
Your Mind Has the Power to Change Your Genes
“A new study reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice. Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. Mindfulness-based trainings have shown beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders in prior clinical studies and are endorsed by the American Heart Association as a preventative intervention. The new results provide a possible biological mechanism for therapeutic effects.”
… gene activity can change on a daily basis. If the perception in your mind is reflected in the chemistry of your body, and if your nervous system reads and interprets the environment and then controls the blood’s chemistry, you can change the fate of your cells by altering your thoughts.
In the simplest terms, this means that we need to change the way we think if we are going to heal cancer. “The function of the mind is to create coherence between our beliefs and the reality we experience. What that means is that your mind will adjust the body’s biology and behavior to fit with your beliefs.”
Nocebo: a detrimental effect on health produced by psychological or psychosomatic factors such as negative expectations of treatment or prognosis.
“The power of the subconscious mind is elegantly revealed in people expressing multiple personalities. While occupying the mind-set of one personality, the individual may be severely allergic to strawberries. Then, in experiencing the mindset of another personality, he or she eats them without consequence.”
However, you can’t “tell” your subconscious things. (Per above, and feeling as the way to teach the sub.)
“The major problem is that people are aware of their conscious beliefs and behaviors, but not of subconscious beliefs and behaviors. Most people don’t even acknowledge that their subconscious mind is at play, when the fact is that the subconscious mind is a million times more powerful than the conscious mind.”
Neuroscience has recognized that the subconscious controls 95 percent of our lives.
How did my subconscious resole that testy exchange? I dreamed that I could fly.
Originally published at medium.com