The subconscious mind is halfway between the conscious thinking mind and the unconscious mind or collective unconscious. The thinking mind would be the consciousness and is able to reason and make meaning of things. The subconscious mind is the recording mechanism that records information based on how it was perceived by the judging thinking mind. The unconscious mind is a record of things how they innately are without judgement and is thought to be outside of time and space so therefore is a record of everything in the past, present and future. The subconscious mind takes info from the conscious mind and puts it into the unconscious mind and likewise, the subconscious mind pulls information from the unconscious mind and surfaces through the conscious mind in the form of ideas, inspirations, etc. (1)
A precise example of the subconscious mind at work and related phenomena can be found in a book written by psychoanalyst Gavin De Becker, “The Gift of Fear”. He describes how a victim “knew something was wrong”, but initially discredited her own instinct/subconscious mind, opting instead to respond to the perceived threat in a normal, “socially acceptable” manner, completely ignoring that the subconscious mind tried to tell the conscious mind “that something is wrong.” De Becker tapped into the mind of the victim regarding her “prior awareness by the subconscious mind that caused her to act instinctively” allowing her to realize that the perpetrator was going to kill her. The analyst brought her conscious mind to recognize how her subconscious was working on her conscious mind, by eliciting her original “inner thoughts/voice” through a series of events to which her subconscious mind ultimately drove her conscious mind to behave in such a manner as to protect her from being killed. Gavin was able to elicit her subconscious mind’s recognition of a dangerous situation that compelled her conscious mind to act to save her through its basic survival instinct, bringing to the victim’s conscious mind that it was the “subtle signal that warned her.” The victim describes this as an unrecognized fear that drove her to act, still unaware consciously of precisely why she was afraid. Her conscious mind had heard the words, “I promise I won’t hurt you, while her subconscious mind was calculating the situation much faster than the conscious mind could make sense out of WHY the fear was there. The victim stated that “the animal inside her took over.” (2)
The conscious mind is a remarkable thing but there’s a whole other level of awareness that, when tapped, can greatly expand your abilities and allow you to achieve your goals in life. Follow these tips to learn how to access your subconscious mind. (3)
1. Practice “Stream of Consciousness” writing. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write whatever comes immediately to mind, continuing writing until the time is up no matter how dull, strange, weird, or whatever it sounds. Although at first this will channel your conscious mind, it will bring up unconscious thoughts. Have patience. Writing, at first, will be difficult but, with practice, becomes rather easy.
2. Learn to meditate. There are many methods of meditation but all deal with focusing the mind, quieting it, and allowing you to harness it. Choose whichever appeals to you and be sure to practice daily, if only for a few minutes.