Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Well to know why this happens, we first need to understand the way our brain works.
Let's look at the unconscious & conscious mind...
What is the unconscious mind?
The unconscious mind (or subconscious mind) is the most powerful tool you have in your body as it runs every function, records every experience & is the part of your mind that you are NOT aware of right now.⠀
It stores & organises all of your memories, represses memories with unresolved negative emotion, presents repressed memories for resolution (contradicting right?), its job is to preserve the body (keep you alive & safe), controls & maintains all perceptions, generates, stores, distributes and transmits “energy”, maintains instances & generates habits, is symbolic, works on the principle of least effort, does not process negatives, and needs repetition until a habit is installed.
It never stops, not even when you sleep! It’s a super computer maintaining and protecting you all day long with the processing power of over 11 million pieces of information per second!! Even when you’re sleeping it’s still running all the functions to keep you alive, restoring & healing the body... WOW!
It is not suggestible, it does not understand the perception of good or bad behaviours. It only takes commands and then keeps you safe by ensuring you live by the beliefs it has adopted for you through your life experience. And for the record, research states that we are operating from our unconscious mind 95% of the time and only 5% in our conscious mind (this is sometimes where conflict can be born and is also where I do the work to implement life change!)
What is the conscious mind?
The conscious mind involves all of the things that you are currently aware of and thinking about. It is somewhat akin to short-term memory and is limited in terms of capacity. Your awareness of yourself and the world around you is part of your consciousness. Its processing power is only 40 pieces of information per second compared to the unconscious mind which is 11 million pieces of information per second.
The conscious mind contains all of the thoughts, memories, feelings, wishes & desires of which we are aware at any given moment. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally. This also includes our memory, which is not always part of consciousness but can be retrieved easily and brought into awareness.
So why do we want one thing, but do another?
As you read the above, the unconscious mind is our record keeper, our habit former & stores all the programs we learn for recall (i.e driving a car, tying our shoelaces, using a computer etc)
Have you ever finished off an entire bag of chips and then suddenly realised that you just ate the whole bag of chips! (unconscious behaviour). Dammit, I was supposed to be eating healthy! (conscious thought when being coming present into the now)
Or that time you wanted to start saving money (conscious wish or desire) and all of a sudden you find yourself spending more than ever on things you don’t even really need? (unconscious behaviour or pattern) And getting really frustrated and annoyed at yourself for buying sh!t you don’t need? Yep…!
This is when a wish or desire created by the conscious mind (thinking in the now or present moment) & a belief stored and programmed at the unconscious level isn’t aligned. This is where the battle begins.
So imagine this, let’s use an “I want to lose weight but never can” example;
You decide to start trying to lose weight today, you do well all day, until you get home, sit on the couch & somehow end up eating a whole packet of biscuits while watching your favourite TV series.
Why does this happen?
A possible answer could be found in your childhood.
Let’s say (hypothetically) that when you were a child all you heard your mum complaining about was how hard it was to lose weight. As a child (especially between the ages of 0-7) we have a blank canvas & we are learning our programs and beliefs from the adults that we are around the most. We adopt how to be a human, how to function in our tribe or society and develop our beliefs about the world & ourselves. Fast forward 20 years, guess what program & belief you are running at the unconscious level? That losing weight is and will always be SO HARD!!
Even if that belief isn’t true, the unconscious mind’s prime directive is to preserve the body. It will learn something, store it & repeat it to keep you safe. If you believe that it is hard to lose weight, your unconscious mind is going to keep you feeling that way & acting that way. To the unconscious mind, losing weight doesn’t align with its sole mission to keep you alive.
That’s why you eat the whole bag of chips without knowing, that’s why it will let you lay in bed and hit snooze on your alarm, that is why it will maybe make you feel scared of making that sales call, going on an adventure, or applying for that job, that’s why not matter how much money you make you never have any money, that’s why you always attract the “wrong” type of partner.
The job of the unconscious mind is to believe beliefs (that might not even be true) in order to keep you safe and alive. It won’t let you do something “scary” or “uncomfortable” because that means you could compromise your safety! Even though logically (to the conscious mind) it is just making a phone call, or filling out an application form, or not eating the biscuits.
The frustration, disappointment, sadness & that deep feeling of failure from not being able to achieve what you want, or make a change in your life, is because the unconscious beliefs do not align with the conscious desires. It causes inner conflict & takes up a tonne of energy while you battle it out in your head. Then you get motivated again, I’ll try harder this time, I’ll be better, I’ll more disciplined and the cycle starts again… exhausting right?!
Discovering, resolving & changing those unconscious beliefs can bring the unconscious & conscious mind together, working towards the same goal or result or way of life, resolving those seemingly sabotaging behaviours or patterns make long-lasting changes in your life.
How do we know what programs we have?
This is quite an easy answer. Look at your life, your life is a blueprint of your unconscious beliefs. For example, some people never have money troubles, so they have no limiting belief, or resistance to the abundance of money, while others seem to struggle their whole life, even with great incomes. Some people are always angry or always see life as a glass half empty, some people battle in relationships or their careers, etc. What are you struggling with? What doesn’t come easy for you? These are the answers to what unconscious programs you have stored that are running 24/7.
How do you work with, clear, and re-program the unconscious mind?
Between the ages of 0 - 7 years, the command centre is wide open & installs beliefs about the world based on your environment at that time. During this age period, we are in the brainwave Alpha & Theta, which is where the unconscious mind is suggestible & open to new orders as it adopts how to be human
So what if we are older than that, how do we get to alpha brain waves?⠀
Therapies such as change work, hypnosis & meditation are all about getting you into the perfect state for your unconscious mind to take on new suggestions and commands. These modalities work with your brain wave patterns, getting you into the right state to insert or change commands in the unconscious mind. Going through a huge shock in life (devastating news etc) is also another way the unconscious mind picks up new commands, however, this is not always a pleasant path.
We also all get two little windows every day where we have access to the control centre! You go through this gateway every morning upon rising & every evening upon going to bed.
As we go down into sleep we pass through the perfect time for your unconscious mind to be open to new suggestions & new thoughts. We go through the same brain wave patterns when waking from slumber: Theta - Alpha - Beta.⠀
As we naturally move through brain wave levels from Beta to Alpha to Theta, the critical faculty (the gatekeeper between the unconscious & conscious mind) guard relaxes and the door in the unconscious mind is wide open and ready to take new suggestions & beliefs! SO that is why upon waking & just before falling sleeping is the perfect time to add in all the goodies!⠀⠀
Hypnosis or trance is a totally naturally occurring state. You go in & out of it all day long, when you ‘drift off’ or ‘daydream’. Lots of people think they can’t be hypnotised but you are already doing it on your own throughout the day!
Why does this work?
Imagine having the unconscious & conscious mind on the same team. Imagine everything that you wanted was easy, effortless & flowing to you. Imagine being naturally motivated to go to the gym, inspired to make those work calls, earn the money your services are worth, or create the relationship you’ve always wanted. ⠀
When this comes naturally from the unconscious mind rather than being forced through conscious thoughts with conflict, you start being the person you need to be, to have the life you want. Now wouldn’t that be cool!⠀