In the first part of this article, ‘How your mind works (Part 1), I stated that the human mind is categorized into three functioning divisions. If you haven’t read the first part, I recommend you do so. I elaborated on how the conscious mind works, and what mental awareness is about. This particular article, however, fleshes out all there is to know about the subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind is the central processing and information storage unit of man. There are two phases of the subconscious mind: The active subconscious and the dormant subconscious mind. The active subconscious mind is not exactly the same as the semi-state consciousness, and should not be mistaken for it. In the active subconscious mind, there are thoughts and visions that are likely to reoccur or reappear (even in seconds or microseconds), but you are not presently mindful of them. They reoccur or reappear because there is an internal or external trigger; without a trigger, these thoughts will not occur.
For example, if you are an alcoholic, you may not presently be thinking about drinking alcohol. But that thought will spring up once you start dealing with stress or feeling depressed. It is because of the reoccurrence of such thought that you find yourself drawing close to those bottles again. Addictions arise from the works of the subconscious mind. Reinforcement (repetition of habit) makes euphoria and fear more active in the mind, thus making them more likely to be remembered and re-experienced.
There are different kinds of pleasure and different kinds of fears of course. Your basic needs will always lie in your active subconscious mind. You will always desire food, water, perhaps fruit juices, and so on. You will always desire sleep, sex, and freedom. If your house is always overrun by mice, and you are terrified of mice, while you are at work, the thoughts and visions of mice will always lie in your subconscious mind, even though you may not be presently thinking about it.
Mental awareness (Semi-state consciousness) and the manifestation of the active subconscious mind are not the same. For example, you know you have a son, and he is in school at the moment, but you are not thinking about him, although he’s not entirely out of your mind (because he is in your subconscious mind). Perhaps, you are consciously working on the annual report in your office, still you are semi-conscious of the intensity of the air-conditioning system, the music down the street, and the fact that your boss will call you soon for the report. Subconsciously, you believe your children are fine at school and you will meet your family in the evening.
Your dormant subconscious mind contains thousands, millions, or zillions of information that you have saved from each experience you’ve had in your life, especially the ones that have had great impressions in your life. For example, you may have the fear of snake, but would never relive this fear in your conscious mind, neither would such fear settle in your active subconscious mind, until you come across a snake. The fear has always been present, but laid dormant in your subconscious mind.
If experiences are saved in the subconscious mind, then you can always revisit those experiences, thereby bringing them to the conscious mind and reliving them. Saved experiences in the subconscious mind will only be awakened by a stimulus (or trigger). Something must stimulate the experience into being relived. Your subconscious mind has the remarkable capacity to store unlimited amount of information, images, and emotions; all of which can be revisited through stimuli.
For example, while I may be afraid of pythons, I may not experience the “fear” emotion until I come face to face with a python. The fear has always been present, but dormant, and would only be awakened if a stimulus was present, which in this case is the sight of a python. Some experiences you have had about twenty years ago can be remembered if you come across something that takes you back to those times. As I set my eyes on my ten-years old birthday party, I remembered a lot.
If you were bullied by a giant 50 years ago, and such experience had quite an impression on you, after 50 years, you may still be terrified at seeing a giant. This is because that experience was saved in the subconscious mind. So, it is probably impossible to delete information, images and emotions that have already settled in the subconscious mind. We are not reliving so many experiences because we just haven’t yet come in contact with the stimuli that can trigger those experiences.
The subconscious mind is like a computer’s hard drive disk; only that while a hard drive disk has limited capacity, the human brain or subconscious mind has limitless capacity for the storage of memories. It provides images and information to the conscious mind when stimulated by an old experience or some other form of trigger. The conscious mind then compares the ongoing event with the information (of a similar event) given by the subconscious mind. The conscious mind easily compares what you have perceived with a similar experience in the past, stirring up the same images and emotions felt at that time. The more this takes place, the closer the thoughts will be to your active subconscious mind.
You can only make judgments and deductions from the information given to you by the active subconscious mind; even though sometimes the information may not be sufficient, thus making you give wrong judgments. You might detect wrongly because you have emotional wounds and insecurities which streamline the information in your active subconscious mind. This could be the reason you are overly self-conscious in public, misinterpreting other people’s behaviors, or having false suspicions.
People who lack experience in certain areas of life have little to no useful content in their subconscious mind as regards these areas. Insufficient or false judgments, as well as poor decisions can be made if such people do not seek counsel from other experienced people. Everybody makes judgment from their limited subconscious content, but while some people may have sufficient information in their active subconscious mind to give a consistent and right judgment, some people do not have the sufficient information needed, or may generalize in cases where generalization is not appropriate.
When our present experiences are similar to a past experience, the subconscious mind immediately compares the two experiences and sends information to the conscious mind, stimulating the same emotions experienced at the first experience and causing a relive of thoughts, visions, and emotions. Some dormant images might suddenly become active if they were stimulated by a stimulant, and if they had a strong effect at a previous experience; e.g. horror movies.