In this week’s podcast (episode #416) and blog, I continue my discussion of the different parts of the mind, and how they are connected. Last week, I spoke about the difference between the nonconscious, subconscious and conscious mind. This week, I am going to talk about how interconnected these three parts of the mind are, and the nature of the nonconscious, “wise” mind.
The nonconscious mind is incredible but often misunderstood. Even the word nonconscious is used incorrectly most of the time. Yet it’s worth putting in the effort to try to understand it, because it’s a key player when it comes to mind-management. The more you understand the nonconscious mind, the more you will see that you also have the ability to change your mind.
The nonconscious mind is not some preprogrammed tape on replay, making us operate like some kind of avatar, as it’s often depicted. It has often been confused with the subconscious and unconscious mind and relegated to a kind of fancy storage cabinet for mechanistic-style programs that run our conscious actions. However, the nonconscious mind is far more than that. It’s a swirling, organized aggregation of energy, hungry for change, growth, learning, and order, and is filled with wisdom. At your core, you are wisdom!
The nonconscious mind is always online, working with the conscious mind when we are awake. It’s that perception, that assumption, those implicit biases, that way we view the world; it’s involved in supplying information we need as we make decisions; it’s everywhere in everything all the time. It’s in constant conversation with the subconscious and conscious mind, working to bring balance and clean up our mental mess because it hates chaos and disequilibrium.
This is why it is so important to watch what we are allowing into our heads. Whatever has the most energy in the nonconscious mind reflects what we’ve spent the most time thinking about. Whatever we think about the most grows because we’re giving it energy. Just like a plant needs water to grow, a thought needs energy to grow.
Thoughts are real things. And, like all real things, they generate energy - little packets of energy called photons, which are the fundamental particles of light. Albert Einstein discovered this law (the photoelectric effect) and won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work. Though all of us have experienced photons in many ways, perhaps you’ve never thought of them in relation to your thoughts, so let me give you an example: You’re watching someone bullying people and suddenly you find yourself almost taking a step back, and you feel disturbed. It’s almost as though the person is throwing something at you. What you’re experiencing is the toxic energy from that person’s thoughts—and it’s real.
When we become deliberate, intentional, self-regulated thinkers, we tune in to the subconscious mind, which takes us deeper into the nonconscious mind. That’s how we draw out our problematic toxic habits or the traumas that are draining our mental and physical energy, which is the first step to dealing with them. We balance the toxic energy with the positive energy as we embrace, process, and reconceptualize our thoughts. Dealing with our toxic thoughts and traumas means that all the swirling, chaotic, toxic energy needs to be transferred from the negative thought to the reconceptualized, healthy thought in order to restore balance and coherence to the mind.
Essentially, our nonconscious mind is like a first-class housekeeper. It’s always looking for toxic disturbances, rooting them out, and dropping hints into the subconscious mind through emotional and physical warning signals. The toxic thought is then transferred into the conscious mind, where we gather awareness of it and change it when it is weakened so that we can restore order and wisdom to the mind, brain, and body.
Yet drawing out toxic thoughts isn’t the only thing the nonconscious mind is good for. It’s also where we find intelligent insight (those aha! moments), get discernment, and are able to be judicious and logical about any given situation. It’s the source of our rationale, foresight, and hindsight: it is our wise mind. As we tune in to the nonconscious mind, we can make use of all this good stuff!
There’s also another part to our relationship with the nonconscious mind. Through it, we can access our good thoughts and use these in a multitude of ways, such as remembering a good time with a loved one to help calm down or deal with grief, recalling a time when we got through a challenge to encourage ourselves to press forward, and remembering vital information for a test we studied hard for.
And, when the memories go back into the nonconscious mind, they’re always more complex than before, like adding another layer to a painting. You don’t simply add more information to the thought, nor do you try to cancel it out with another thought. Rather, you redesign the memories in the thought to be less painful and more manageable. Your story is included in the new memory, but in a kintsugi version. Kintsugi means “golden joinery”; it refers to the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. In my research, I call this “creative reconceptualization.”
When you harness the power that’s in your nonconscious mind, you’re capable of making mental and emotional strides in your life. Through your thinking, you can actively re-create thoughts and redesign the thought interior of your mind. I love the fact that no matter what happens, we can use our minds to change our minds. This is real power!
For more on the nonconscious mind, listen to my podcast (episode #416) and check out my latest book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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2:30 Our minds are filled with wisdom!
4:30 The present, past & future are connected in the mind
7:10 How the messiness of life can impact us mentally & physically
8:13 How we can manage our life experiences, even when things are a mess!
9:48 How our wise, noncosncious mind can help us manage the messiness of life
11:50 Why the mind is like a forest of trees
16:15 Why it takes time to manage our mind & change our thinking
18:20 We cannot forget what has happened to us, but we can change our story! We have the power to re-create
This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.