By Toby Moore
For Capital Region Independent Media
In 1889, the French psychologist Pierre Janet coined the term “subconscious mind.” Janet argued that underneath the layers of critical thought functions of the conscious mind lay a powerful awareness that he called the subconscious mind.
Freud described the subconscious as a repository for our desires, thoughts and memories not currently in conscious thought. As the concept gained traction, countless psychologists, researchers and self-help gurus alike delved into its depths, striving to decode its mysteries and understand its profound impact on human behavior.
It’s as if our minds operate on two planes – the conscious, where our active thoughts and decisions reside, and the subconscious, a quieter realm that holds profound sway over our actions, feelings and beliefs.
So, is the subconscious mind real? Modern neuroscience and psychology have found evidence supporting its existence. Functional brain scans have shown that many mental processes occur outside our conscious awareness, influencing our choices, emotions and actions.
The powers often ascribed to the subconscious are vast. Many believe it powerfully shapes our reality, from influencing our daily choices to potentially manifesting our deepest desires.
One of the most intriguing attributes of the subconscious mind is its seeming inability to distinguish between reality and imagination. When we vividly visualize a scenario or outcome, the subconscious processes this imagery as an actual event, triggering emotional, physiological, and even behavioral responses akin to a real-life experience.
As an artist, I think of it like this: Your conscious mind is like a play’s director. It chooses the script, decides the plot direction, and instructs the actors on their roles.
The actors who bring the play to life don’t write their lines; they rely entirely on the director’s vision and guidance. If the director hands them a comedy script, they act out humorous scenes. If it’s a tragedy, they act out a tragic story. They don’t question or modify the script — they perform it.
Your conscious mind is the director of the play that is your life. Your subconscious mind, in turn, is akin to the troupe of actors who turn the script into reality.
If you feed your subconscious with a story of success and positivity through your thoughts, words and actions, your subconscious will reflect that narrative. If you provide your subconscious with doubt, negativity and victimhood, it will work to make it so. It won’t question; it will only act.
Ensure you’re directing a story you want to be told, for your subconscious mind performs ceaselessly, day and night, bringing your script to life.
Books cite numerous anecdotal instances of individuals achieving their dreams or overcoming challenges through subconscious belief and visualization.
Autosuggestion, a technique where one influences the subconscious through repeated affirmations and visualizations, plays a pivotal role. Emile Coué, a French psychologist, popularized the concept that feeding positive affirmations to our subconscious leads to positive outcomes.
In “The Power of the Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy, he recounts a tale relayed by British doctor Evelyn Fleet.
The story is of a father who repeatedly expressed, “I would give my right arm to see my daughter cured.” His daughter had severe arthritis and a so-called incurable skin condition. After years of medical treatments proving fruitless, a tragic accident occurred: their family car collided with another, and the father’s right arm was torn off. Astonishingly, following this incident, the daughter’s ailments disappeared.
It’s worth noting that while Dr. Evelyn Fleet, who relayed this story to Murphy, was indeed a real individual, I’ve been unable to locate the original article cited. As with many accounts of this nature, it’s crucial to approach them with a discerning mind, recognizing the blending of anecdotal experiences with broader principles about the subconscious.
Ultimately, whether we believe in the power of our subconscious or regard it with skepticism, there’s undeniable wisdom in monitoring our internal dialogue. The stories and research suggest there might be more under the surface than we realize. As readers and thinkers, it’s up to us to decide.
The takeaway from delving into the depths of the subconscious mind reminds us that our thoughts hold power. Whether it’s the narratives we tell ourselves or the dreams we chase, nurturing a positive, constructive inner dialogue can shape our world in more ways than one.
Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.