Human beings are different from the rest of the animals on our planets in so many ways, and, one significant difference is that we have, and kind of understand, the difference between our conscious and unconscious minds.
Your conscious mind helps you live a happy and healthy life. You really wouldn’t be able to survive without it. Sigmund Freud is famed for his use the idea of the iceberg to distinguish the conscious mind from the unconscious mind and it is one model that makes it very easy to explain.
The “tip” of the iceberg that extends above the water represents the conscious thinking mind. This part of your mind is the objective or thinking mind. It only holds one thought at a time. It also identifies information, and processes it through the senses or through sight, sound, smell, touch or taste.
This part of your mind is constantly observing, matching patterns and categorising what is going on around you. The unconscious mind, which is the part of the iceberg below the water, represents everything else – which is a hell of a lot.
Even though the conscious mind helps you as you go through your day, it can also hold you back by keeping you stuck in unhealthy patterns. Learning how to break through these limitations is critical when using self-hypnosis because the conscious mind can interfere with all your good work.
Preventing Conscious Interference
Just for example you decide to plant flowers in your garden. There are a several ways you can go about it. You could research different seeds and figure out the best ones to plant, and then even add some fertiliser into your soil if it’s lacking nutrients for the plants.
Now, let’s look at different approach you could take. After following all of the steps above, you chose to go out into the garden everyday and dig up the seeds to check on their progress. Every time you did this, you would reassure yourself that everything was going to plan. However, as you can see, your constant interference actually did more harm than good, because if you took this approach, your garden would never progress.
The same thing that happens when you overthink something. This is your conscious mind interfering. If you want your mental garden to thrive and prosper, you need to leave it alone so it has space and time to grow.
The same thing applies when using self-hypnosis. In a sense you are placing an order just like you would at a restaurant. If you ever worked for someone who micro-managed you, how much work actually gets done as a result of them constantly interrupting and sing for progress checks all the time, wanting to review what you’ve done and constantly adding to your workload because they want to make changes and add other things in. It’s a bloody nightmare, frustrating and a complete waste of time and effort.
When you give your mind an order and constantly worry about how the order will be fulfilled, you are in a sense doing the same thing, you’re micro-managing yourself. If you find yourself doing this, there are some steps you can take to counteract this…
1. Keep Your Conscious Mind Busy
When you do keep your conscious mind busy, it can’t interfere as much. What you need to do is find other things to get involved in, this way your conscious mind is focused elsewhere and not on the problem.
If you have time, go for a walk or get stuck into a different task; this allows you to let it go and allow the unconscious mind to work its magic.
2. Stay Focused and Engaged
It’s important to trust your unconscious, and yes I know that it can be frustrating “waiting” for the unconscious mind to work its magic. If you find yourself in this little cycle, and you decide to try a different approach before the first method has finished, you are actually disengaging from the process which keeps leading you further from your goal.
The key is to keep yourself engaged, without being too engaged.
3. Utilise Ancient Chinese Secrets
The Chinese philosophy Taoism is based on the idea of trusting your inner nature and letting your unconscious mind do its work. This approach allows the conscious mind to sit back and appreciate things, setting the scene and then letting events play out as they will.
I appreciate that this may be easier said than done at times, however, here are few tips to help explain this…
Act without acting
This is also known as doing without doing or “Wei Wu Wei”. This might be a tad confusing at first, because it may be hard to imagine doing something without really doing it. When you hand the responsibility over to your unconscious mind, you are trusting that it knows how to do its job.
Know without knowing
This is also known as “Pu.” In the Tao philosophy, there is a saying that goes:
“The Tao that can be named is not the true Tao.”
What this means is that if your intellect can grasp it, feel it away and put it into a neat and tidy box, then you have probably missed the entire point.
The Four Taoist Stages
The Pre-Hypnotic Suggestion
The Big Drift
Pre-hypnotic suggestions: These generally involve positive affirmations, visualisations and self motivational talk. Affirmations are statements that emulate the state of mind or condition you want to be in, and they are always set in the present tense. Affirmations can be incredibly effective and they are easy to create and use.
Hypnotic questions: These are sometimes called afformations, are also a great way to keep the conscious mind busy. You can say statements like:
“How quickly am I mastering the power of self-hypnosis?”
“Why is it that I am such a master of self-hypnosis?”
These are simple to create and by saying them, it actually gives your mind something to answer.
Emotional streaming or Emo-streaming: This is similar to the principle of hypnotic questions, except it’s based on emotions and moods. For those who find themselves getting stuck on the content of the goal, emo-streaming works well.
For example, imagine yourself at a certain point in the future, say a year or so down the road. Take yourself there in your mind and ask yourself how you would be feeling having already achieved your goal. Avoid “thinking” and focus on “feeling” instead.
You can even imagine yourself going way beyond that goal, imagining how you feel having achieved that all-important milestone.
The Big Drift: This involves allowing your mind to become a casual observer, noticing the responses that are happening, without making any judgments. In other words, you’re just allowing things to happen in their own time and way.
Trusting in the process of the unconscious mind is what this is all about. The Big Drift allows you to create a space in your mind where new possibilities can appear.
7 stages of the Big Drift
Review your purpose or problem
Choose a behavior or action
Get on with your life!
All of these techniques work through the process of distraction. In the Big Drift, you start by preparing yourself by raising your hands up infant of your face, palms facing you and looking at your hands as if they weren’t really your hands. In step two allow oner arm to lower automatically, while you review your life lessons.
Once your arm reaches your lap, you can then review your problem or purpose for self-hypnosis. Step four involves allowing your second arm to descend while you review the myriad of possibilities.
The next step involves you simply choosing for yourself a new behavioural pattern. Step six involves closing your eyes, if you haven’t already done so and integrating all of the steps together.
Step seven is all about learning how to “let go” and learning how to get on with your life. Focusing on something too intently only slows the process down; so there is no need to think too much about your issue once you finish your session.
In order to listen to your unconscious mind, you need to begin tuning into your intuition and paying attention to your gut feelings about whatever is bothering you. The messages of the unconscious can be subtle, but other times they may metaphorically slap you in the face.
When you use self-hypnosis you really have no idea how your unconscious mind will present the opportunity or change to you. Using these methods allows you to open up your mind to a host of new possibilities – possibilities that your conscious mind could never come up with!
A top tip is not to take self-hypnosis or yourself too seriously, it’s meant to be a fun process. You can take as many or as few of these tips as you want, because only you know what works for you and you will only really find out what works for you when you play around with them all and practice with these techniques. This will enable you to find the combination that works best for you. With your conscious mind out of the way – anything is possible!
You need your conscious mind to help you make important decisions throughout your day. Without it, you could not function. Always keep in mind though that your unconscious mind is vastly larger than your conscious thinking mind. Using the idea of the iceberg once again, you can clearly see that your unconscious mind plays a huge role in your life.
Programming your unconscious mind is easy, once you decide what you want to work on. The truth of the matter is that many problems you have can be solved using self-hypnosis because your unconscious mind is quite brilliant and it can help you achieve any goal.
The trick is getting your conscious mind out of the way and these techniques can help you do exactly that.
One Final Word
Obviously I am a firm believer in what we can achieve when we learn to access and harness the power of our unconscious minds. However, sometimes we need a little outside assistance because when we are the root of our own problem/s, it can be extremely difficult to solve it from inside our own minds. If this is the case for you, then I strongly recommend that you do your homework and find yourself a Hypnotherapist in your area that you feel comfortable working with and use their knowledge and experience to help you resolve your problem/s and make the changes you want and need to make.
Whatever path you choose, I wish you every success and much happiness.
Adapted from a post by the Hypnosis Training Academy