The Honeymoon Effect #3: Your Insanely Powerful Subconscious Mind
Hello Mill Valley Book Club! So good to see you again! This week’s topic is so, so important! In the context of Dr. Bruce Lipton’s book The Honeymoon Effect, and learning to create the life we deeply wish to be living, let’s explore the profound role played by our subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind is, at times, working in direct opposition to what we would choose consciously. Because our thoughts create our reality, the thoughts we place the most attention on – consciously or subconsciously – win out. I’m about to share with you why the subconscious mind is significantly more powerful than the conscious mind when it comes to issuing forth our thoughts and therefore creating our reality.
I’ve summarized much of the following material from Bruce’s book. For a fuller explanation of these concepts, be sure to pick up a copy.
Your Subconscious Mind
Let’s imagine I come to your house for a cup of tea, and we begin a conversation. We’re both in our conscious minds then. But my cell phone rings, and I tell you I need to take the call. You decide to move laundry from the washer to the dryer and leave the room for a few minutes. Boom! You’re most likely immediately drifting into your subconscious mind, thinking whatever thoughts it has been programmed to send your way.
Or how about when you’re driving down the freeway and you miss your exit? You’ve just been completely enthralled by the compelling things your subconscious mind has you pondering. Your conscious mind may focus on your plans for later that day, or what you want for lunch; but in no time at all, if you really pay attention, you’ll likely notice that you’ve shifted imperceptibly into contemplating the favorite topics of your subconscious mind – fears, doubts, and worries. According to Bruce’s book, scientists believe that approximately 65% of the thoughts emanating from our subconscious minds are negative and disempowering.
You Are Mostly Operating Subconsciously!
Scientists believe that our subconscious mind is in charge about 95% of the time! So the thoughts and beliefs you would consciously choose are at work only about 5% of the time! This information has allowed me to begin to unravel the mystery of why I sometimes experience my world negatively when I work so hard to create positivity.
As much as I try only to focus on positive thoughts, I find it difficult to sustain this practice consistently. I often start my day with gratitudes and affirmations, repeatedly stating to myself positive thoughts about myself and my life. But as I move into the day, I drift into autopilot and lose touch with that practice of positivity. Now I see why.
Conscious vs. Subconscious
Our subconscious mind is one million times more powerful a processor than our conscious mind. The activity of the conscious mind is primarily associated with the area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is approximately only 10% of the mass of your brain. The remaining 90% of your brain activity is attributed to your subconscious mind. Here’s how Bruce describes the conscious mind:
The conscious mind is the seat of your personal identity. It identifies you as a distinct individual, a unique spirit. The conscious mind manages your personal wishes, desires, and aspirations. When I ask you what kind of relationships you want in your life, your lovely, high-minded answer comes from the conscious mind – I want a relationship based on love, equality, and respect as well as sexual chemistry. This is the “positive-thinking” mind that optimistically sticks Post-it notes on the refrigerator that say, “I deserve a loving relationship” or “I eat healthy food.”
This is also the creative mind that can look to the past and the future; it is not bound by time. It’s the mind that can “detach” from the current moment and daydream all day about what might happen… but wait a minute: if your conscious mind isn’t paying attention and “managing” the present moment because it’s busy thinking great thoughts or daydreaming about the kind of life you want to live, who is left to manage the “show”? Neuroscience researchers tell us that because of the conscious mind’s ability to flit from thought to thought… [nearly all] of our cognitive activity is controlled by previously acquired programs downloaded into the subconscious mind. – The Honeymoon Effect, Chapter 4
And how does Bruce describe the subconscious mind?
The subconscious mind is the mind that, Post-it notes be damned, compels us to lunge for the Krispy Kreme donuts in the refrigerator or fall for the biggest jerk at the party – again.
[It’s like a television set.] Is your television good or bad? Neither. What are you watching? Don’t blame the television set, blame the programming! Is your subconscious mind good or bad? Neither. The subconscious mind is primarily an amazing record/playback mechanism that, unlike the conscious mind, expresses little creativity and has no sense of time. It is always in the present moment. – The Honeymoon Effect, Chapter 4
How Does Our Subconscious Get Programmed?
Scientists believe that our programming begins when we are in utero! Here’s how Bruce explains it:
The developing fetus is influenced by more than just the nutrients in the mother’s blood. Maternal blood also contains a vast array of “information” molecules, such as the chemicals, hormones, and growth factors that influence and control the mother’s emotional and physical health… Now we know that the very same chemicals that shape a mother’s experiences and behaviors cross the placenta and target the same cells and genes in the fetus that they do in the mother. The consequence is that the developing fetus, bathed in the same blood chemistry as the mother, experiences the same emotions and physiology as the mother. – The Honeymoon Effect, Chapter 4
Once a baby is born, the first six to seven years of life experience are believed to install most of the programming into the subconscious mind. Young children’s brains operate frequently in the two lowest-frequency electrical brainwave states – theta and delta – which allows them to assimilate a large number of behaviors and beliefs incredibly quickly.
Children observe the people and events around them, recording vast amounts of information; but they are not yet capable of evaluating what is being downloaded. So they end up with a storehouse of behaviors and beliefs in their subconscious mind that they never consciously chose! They are the behaviors and beliefs that happened to be most prevalent in the environment during approximately the first seven years of life.
This is where we begin to understand the importance of conscious parenting. Many of us parents see our role as teaching our children how to behave, correcting them when they don’t conform to societal norms. The words we choose in playing this role are paramount. If parents say things such as, “Don’t do that! Sit still! Be quiet! You’re bad!”, children under the age of seven are unable to understand that parents don’t mean to communicate that their child is unlovable or unworthy, but this belief can get programmed into a child’s subconscious mind quite easily.
I’ll admit… when I read all this information, I began to wonder what beliefs I had programmed into the minds of my own children (who are now ages 11 and 12). Unfamiliar with these mechanisms, I doubt that I coached my children to behave “properly” using just the right words. In moments of exhaustion, surely a few choice words escaped my lips! Fortunately, Bruce explains that any damage done can be reversed, both in us and in our children.
How Can We Reprogram Our Subconscious?
How do you know that you need to reprogram your subconscious mind? Since our thoughts draw to us our experience of reality, we need only look at the life we experience to see whether it is desirable or not. If you constantly struggle with money, it’s likely that your subconscious mind has been programmed with some harmful beliefs about money. If relationships are difficult for you, as Bruce describes in his book, you’re likely to find that your beliefs about yourself or others are to blame. What’s happening is that your more powerful subconscious mind sends forth thoughts that override your conscious thoughts, moving you away from the reality you would consciously choose.
Bruce suggests that we need only address areas that we feel are problematic in our lives. You don’t need to reprogram your entire subconscious mind. In fact, many of the beliefs you hold serve you well.
In his own quest for healing, Bruce discovered many modalities that allow a person to reprogram their subconscious mind. And the good news is that it is not nearly as time-consuming or costly as traditional psychotherapy. Bruce writes that it’s not necessary to relive those difficult moments in your childhood or discover why they happened; it’s important only to change the beliefs that they installed in your subconscious mind. For a listing of resources for belief change, visit this section of Bruce Lipton’s website. You can also take a look at his resources for conscious parenting here.
I’ve recently begun to explore a few of these belief change modalities myself. Some can be learned quickly and easily. Each of us must choose the one that works best for us, and some experimentation may be required. I also recommend reading Bruce’s suggestions in Chapter 4 of the book for reprogramming the subconscious mind. If you feel this topic is heavily at play in your life, please consult the book directly!
What Role Does the Subconscious Play in Creating the Honeymoon Effect?
We’re all trying to live the life of our dreams, right? Hopefully you see now how powerful an influence your subconscious mind has on the thoughts that create your reality. And if you take the step of reprogramming any subconscious beliefs that seem to be blocking your way, that’s when you really set the stage for the honeymoon effect in your life. In essence you will install subconscious beliefs that correspond with those you would choose consciously, eliminating the conflicts that previously existed.
And that’s what we’ll talk about next week in my final post on this wonderfully informative book – creating the honeymoon effect. Stay tuned!