BY: CONNOR BRIAN
It is necessary to know that two distinct selves exist within us: the active conscious and the remembering unconscious. The conscious self possesses a very unreliable memory, while the unconscious registers everything, without our knowledge, even the tiniest of events; it accepts everything it is told with unreasoning docility.
The Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior published a study that showed subjects are more likely to rate as true, the statements that they have already heard, regardless of their validity.
So when a child is told he is untalented, he will unconsciously remember this fact for the rest of his life and will likely never do that activity again. If a doctor tells his patient that he has only one year to live, the patient will most likely succumb to this fate. According to Psychologist Emile Coué, this happens due to the process of Autosuggestion: when someone makes a suggestion to you, for you to accept it as fact, unconsciously you must suggest it to yourself as so.
Freud has compared human mind to the tip of an iceberg. We are consciously aware of only 5-10% of what goes on in our mind. The other 90-95% of our brainpower goes into unconscious thought.
This experience creates an implicit memory, an illusion-of-truth effect. In everyday life, people rely on implicit memory. This is the kind of memory that allows you to remember how to tie your shoes or ride a bike without having to consciously think about these actions.
In a recent study published in Science Transitional medicine, Harvard researcher Dr. Ted Kaptchuk found that by using a placebo to affect his patients’ unconscious minds, it significantly reduced their tendency for Migraine headaches. They felt significant relief even though they swallowed nothing more than a sugar pill. Kaptchuk attributed this to the fact that he would praise the medication, and provide the patient with support telling them how much better they will feel. Believing a medicine will work has a strong effect on its actual result. This proves the importance of positive person-to-person transactions for stimulating mental and physical healing.
Our unconscious presides over all of our bodily functions including pain reception, but according to Emile Coué, it also presides “over all of our actions whatever they are.” It causes us bias in decision-making and the way we view the world. Our unconscious “always forces us to act, even, and above all, against our will.”
Peel open a dictionary and look up the word “will”. It will be defined as: “The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action.”
Nothing could be more false.
Imagine I placed a metal beam across the ground that was 20 feet long and a half-foot wide then asked you to walk across it. Without hesitation every single one of you would be able to walk across it flawlessly.
Everything you perceive is filtered through your unconscious memory bank.
Now lets change the terms a bit, what if I then raised the beam 100 feet up into the air, balanced upon two pillars, and then asked you to walk across it? I think the common response would be “There is no way in hell I can do that.”
Even if you attempted to cross the beam, since you had already experienced a flicker of self-doubt, in spite of your every effort you would certainly tremble and fall.
So if the dimensions of the beam have not switched, why then would you fall when I simply raised it higher in the air? The reason is that the first time you imagined it was easy, and the second you imagined that you could not do it. Coué says “The imagination always overrules will.”
If you imagine you can’t, it will be completely impossible for you to do so. The same is true for the smoker who thinks they can’t quit, the artist who thinks they can’t create, or the hypochondriac who can’t feel better.
To become more creative you must expose your mind to positive stimulation and constructive visualization each day.
Often people will develop symptoms of ailments they think they have. My girlfriend predicts in advance when she will have a headache, and sure enough she feels it.
Our unconscious processing largely drives the way we experience the world. We are merely puppets of our imagination, hence the term ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. What’s interesting though, is that if we are aware of this, we can positively mold our unconscious processing and use it to our advantage.
Man cannot live without self-deception. Inside he is occupied—always dreaming, always remembering.
But we can prime ourselves for success. To do this we must enter a supremely relaxed state using the Autogenic Method that was developed by Dr. Johannes Schults.
All you have to do is close your eyes and begin a process of deep breathing, where your exhale is twice as long as your inhale. Silently repeat the first half of each phrase (the part before the “/”) as you inhale, and the second half (the part after the “/”) as you exhale:
|My arms and legs are / heavy and warm||1–2 times|
|My heartbeat and breathing are / calm and steady||1–2 times|
|My stomach is / soft and warm||1–2 times|
|My forehead is / cool||1–2 times|
|I feel / supremely calm||1–2 times|
Repeat this process as many times as you desire until you self-produce a sensation of warmth and heaviness throughout your body. A feeling of deep physical relaxation, bodily health and mental peace should come over you as you progress through this exercise.
You are now seated in your unconscious and are ripe for autosuggestion, like a cultivated field where a seed can sprout and grow. Now simply plant the seed by repeating these words to yourself:
“EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, I AM GETTING BETTER AND BETTER.”
In your mind emphasize the words “IN EVERY WAY”, which applies to every mental or physical need. According to Dr. Coué, general suggestion is always more effective than special ones.
Repeating this exercise daily will expose your mind to excessive positive stimulation, which the brain will use in its natural biological processes to enable the self-healing mechanisms that already exist by reducing blood pressure, normalizing heart rate, and stimulating glands to produce more hormones.
This is not “mystical” but rather pure physiology that is scientifically backed. A 2002 meta-analysis of over 60 studies concluded that autogenic training often has positive effect on patients with emotional and physiological issues.
By learning to observe and fine-tune your unconscious processing, you can find self-mastery
There has been a trend in Western medicine to overemphasize treatment of symptoms and overlook the unity of the individual. This has resulted in our preference for prescription, operation, injection, and self-medication (alcohol or drugs) when we face a mental, physical or emotional disorder. Yet drugs are not a silver bullet and many psychiatric, and chronic pain disorders cannot be treated from the outside.
We should rather view the mind and body as a single unit, and treat both functions simultaneously by altering the way our unconscious mind perceives things. The practical implications of this technique are obvious; we are freed of our reliance on drugs, become less affected by stress, and can apply this state of well-being to any aspect of our life from education to sports or creativity.