The Subconscious is another
of those concepts like the ego that we use to fill in the blanks of the analogies and metaphors that are employed in the pursuit
of understanding our existence. There is considerable confusion around the Subconscious and often it is
just a source of anxiety as it seems to be something affecting our lives and beyond our control. This is
how I have come to understand the Subconscious.
The basic order of events that
take place thousands of times a day is: 1) we perceive something (a thought, an event, an object, etc.), 2) we have a reactive
thought about what we just perceived, 3) we experience an emotion in response to the relative nature of the thought.
(More on the relative nature issue later.) Examples: You observe an obnoxious driver, You have the
thought of how awful and disgusting and inconsiderate they are, you feel the emotion of anger. Or, you
observe you child or pet doing something delightful. You have a thought of how fantastic they are.
You feel the emotion of appreciation or love. There is obviously a lot more to it than this but
this is sufficient to illustrate the Subconscious.
When you are very young, you
do not have a lot of preconceived notions about the phenomena you perceive. Therefore, the process described
above takes place in a very clear manner. You can still see this in toddlers. Watch
one if they stumble and bump their head. It takes a moment for them to process what has just happened.
The process unfolds as: stumble, bump head, moment of confused surprise, (this is when they are processing the data
and concluding that: "Hey! That sucked!"), then crying.
we grow up and older, we put together a data bank of experiences. We learn. We know
that crying comes after bumping our head so we don't have to actually stop and process the data. The series
of events is reduced to: bump head, cry or, phrased another way: experience, emotional response. In truth,
we have thought the thought of "this sucks" but it has passed through our consciousness so quickly that we did not
have to bother to recognize it. The thought has attained "reaction" status when we experience
This has some beneficial effects and some not so beneficial
effects. That data bank of automatically deployed thoughts that pass through our consciousness so fast
that we don't know they have passed is the Subconscious. And as our life circumstances change, we find
ourselves reacting very strangely to phenomena for apparently no reason at all. Some event that clearly
is not of significance from today's standpoint evokes the old emotion and we end up surprised at ourselves. That
surprise is comparable to the moment of confusion experienced by the toddler - it is us learning to question the emotional
response. That is how so many wander down the road of negating emotions. When the real
answer is to slow down the thinking process to a point that you can find the reactionary thought and replace it with one more
up to speed with where you are today.