The Conscious and Subconscious Minds
Most people agree our minds are incredibly complex and wondrous. They are designed to constantly seek ways to "make sense of" and "respond to" what is happening both inside and outside of ourselves. They are also designed to "learn" from these experiences and to develop patterns that allow us to deal with these, or similar, events in the future.
Skills and Habits
From our experiences, we learn skills and habits. We develop patterns of thinking, solving problems and behaviors. We develop beliefs and patterns of relating to ourselves, other people, and the world that serve an important purpose for us at the time they were learned.
The Sub Conscious
And all of this learning becomes "sub" conscious, operating at a level below our normal everyday, conscious awareness.
You could think of the subconscious as the hard drive on your computer.
Your normal everyday, conscious awareness, is more like the computer's monitor screen and keyboard, always relaying information to and from the subconscious.
It is that part of your mind that is always interacting with the world; the part most of us consider "me". It involves our short term memory, is engaged in the immediate world, and is analytical. Yet it represents only the "tip of the iceberg" of who you really are.
The subconscious is much more powerful and is really the driver in our lives.
Your subconscious is the seat of;
- our autonomic processes (like breathing and heart rate)
- our automatic habits (like teeth brushing or tying your shoes)
- our values and beliefs -(maybe you don't think teeth brushing is important!)
- our long term memory,
- and our feelings and emotions.
Thank goodness for the subconscious!
It directs us in so many aspects of our lives, that without it, our lives would have little context and not much would get accomplished! For better or for worse, what is stored below our conscious awareness, what is ingrained into our subconscious directs what we think, how we feel, and what we do.
The Subconscious and Change
Anyone who has ever tried to change a behavior understands how the subconscious mind likes to "snap back" to old patterns - they are familiar and do meet some real need inside us, that's how that learning got there in the first place!
Sometimes we try to use our "will power", that is the force of our normal everyday, conscious minds. Sometimes this works. More often, will power does not work, especially if it conflicts with our deepest subconscious learning.
The lessons and processes we have developed over a lifetime and which exist in our deep subconscious mind are resistant to change, mostly because on some level, they have worked for us.