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Most of us would like to think that we are consciously choosing everything in life—that we are consciously choosing what we do each day and how we behave.
We’d like to think we have control, that we have the conscious power to decide, that each move we make comes from our intention and our conscious decision.
But the truth is that most of the reasons for why we do what we do are not within our conscious control. They are automatic, habitual. They come from our subconscious, which makes up about 95 percent of our mind.
The subconscious houses our beliefs, our memories, our imagination, our emotions, and our habits. It houses all of our life experiences, each and every moment we’ve lived.
We’ve all had experiences that have shaped who we are and what we do and how we think and feel and move in this world—even if we don’t consciously remember those experiences or memories.
Over the course of our lives, we’ve come to pick up behaviors and patterns of thought and beliefs—about ourselves, about others, about how the world works, about how we relate to the world. We’ve developed ways of coping with challenges and difficulties. We’ve developed perceptions and ideas—filters that color how we see the world.
Some of these beliefs are affirming and some might not be.
We may even be consciously aware of “limiting beliefs” or behavioral patterns that don’t serve us but not know how to break out of these habit patterns or understand where they started. We may feel stuck with parts of our lives and not know what to do.
Unless we become curious about ourselves—about why we do what we do—we won’t be able to come more fully into ourselves.
With awareness and understanding, we can begin to live more intentionally. Through observing ourselves, we can become more acquainted with ourselves. And with this awareness and understanding, we can connect more deeply to ourselves.
It can also help to understand that most of the reasons for what we do lie in our subconscious, and if we’re not consciously aware of something, we cannot force ourselves—through conscious action or decision—to become aware, to know, or to understand. And even if we consciously understand something, we may not be able to change or shift something without accessing our subconscious.
We can’t force ourselves to understand or become aware. We can’t force insight to come to us. We can’t force our subconscious to do something, but we can work with it directly, and it’s one way that we can create positive shifts in our lives.
Our subconscious is wonderful—it’s smart and wise and is just trying to help keep us alive. Even our body’s autonomic functions happen subconsciously. We don’t have to consciously think about each part of our digestive system to make it work. We don’t have to decide to make our hearts beat or to have our lungs work so that we can breathe. It all just happens.
I’ve come to feel so fondly for the subconscious because I can see that it only wants to help us. It thinks it’s protecting us, even if its way of helping can, at times, be misguided.
Sometimes, a belief or habit or reaction or thought that once served us (maybe in the distant, distant past), no longer does. Maybe we developed a certain behavior or belief or fear or coping mechanism that some part of us once thought we needed.
We may not know why we’re doing what we’re doing, or parts of us may feel incredibly frustrating or limiting, but in some way, those parts are just doing their job to help us—they’re doing what they feel they must do to help us.
If there is something that we feel isn’t working in life, or if we feel stuck in habits or patterns that don’t serve us, or if we have beliefs that feel limiting or unfortunate reactions that keep coming back over and over—it’s because of something in our subconscious.
Awareness is powerful. Observing ourselves is powerful. And being able to work with the subconscious directly is powerful.
Sometimes insights can flow easily to us—when we’re open and present, something may just arise into our conscious awareness. We just see something, understand something, know something. Something just becomes revealed to us.
We can also work directly with the subconscious. There are different modalities that do this, different ways to access the subconscious. I like hypnosis and hypnotherapy. With hypnosis, we can bypass that critical part of the mind, the conscious part that is active and alert most of the time, and we can communicate directly with the subconscious. The subconscious knows the sources and reasons for our beliefs and actions and feelings.
While our conscious mind can be helpful if used intentionally, if we truly want to change or cultivate something in our lives, we have to reach the subconscious.
Our subconscious is powerful and being able to work with it directly can help us make positive shifts in our lives.
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