We talk about accessing the subconscious mind in hypnosis, but WHAT IS THE SUBCONSCIOUS?
Often the terms subconscious and unconscious mind are interchangeable. One theory has it that the subconscious mind is just under our conscious awareness and, therefore, knowable (which Freud coined the preconscious), whilst the unconscious mind is the automatic part that handles body functions like breathing, circulation etc. and cannot be known consciously.
Freud stated that the subconscious is a repository for socially unacceptable ideas, memories, and emotions. Carl Jung divided the unconscious into two parts: the personal and the collective unconscious. Modern psychoanalysis views the subconscious as a force recognized by its effects (symptoms).
Edgar Cayce demonstrated his understanding of the collective unconscious using a multi-pointed star:
The points of the star represent us as individuals, each with our own consciousness levels according to the diagram below, with our conscious minds as only the very tip:
Some have likened the mind to a computer. Our conscious mind is the RAM, what’s happening here and now, our awareness of and responses to the present moment. The subconscious mind is the hard drive, where all information is stored.
The subconscious mind has even been described as the soul, or divinity within us, creating a deeper layer of consciousness described as superconsciousness, which parallels Edgar Cayce's diagrams above.
In almost all theories, there is a filter between the conscious and the subconscious which represses unconscious thought from coming to the surface. Altered states of awareness loosen it's hold on this selective process.
So the science of mind, is still being discovered. We DO know, however, what can affect the subconscious: affirmations, autosuggestion, binaural beats, hypnosis, prayer, meditation and contemplation, and, to a certain degree, subliminal messages, any type of imagined or real sensory experience. Advertising and marketing use color, photos and scent to create moods conductive and open to desiring their products.
Jung used hypnosis, dreams and inkblots to communicate with the subconscious. Visual artists (like yours truly) use spontaneous scribbles or intuitive doodling to connect with and express subconscious ideas.
Any type of art or sensory experience can trigger our imagination and widen our awareness, because imagination speaks in the primal languages of symbology and pictures, sounds and scents, the same language of deeper or altered consciousness states.
As Albert Einstein once said:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
Any corrections or additions to this essay are welcome! Email me.
For more about the sub-conscious mind, read this excerpt from Henry Reed's book "Edgar Cayce: On Mysteries of the Mind":