The question for today’s blog post is; How can we use messages from our sub-conscious mind to live more purposefully? We have been exploring the notion of purpose and purposeful living over the past 33 posts and hence I assume the notion is clear to you. Therefore, let’s directly move on to exploring the sub-conscious mind and how we can use it to live purposefully.
The idea of deeper levels of information processing was developed and extensively studied by famous Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939). According to him, the mind could be divided into conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels. The Conscious Mind – defines all thoughts and actions within our awareness. For example, the beauty and pleasance of the smell of a red tulip. The Unconscious Mind– defines all past events and memories, inaccessible to us no matter how hard we try to remember to bring things up. For example, the first time you had ice cream, or how it felt to be able to speak for the first time. The Subconscious Mind defines all reactions and automatic actions we can become aware of if we think about them. For example, our ability to ride a bicycle: once we get skilled we stop thinking about balancing, when to pedal, when to break, when to speed up, when to slow down, when to bend etc., but when we think about it later, we become aware about all the action we took.
My experience is that the subconscious knows what’s right and what’s wrong and it tries to guide me by communicating through non-voluntary signals. When I make a decision sometimes I feel comfortable about it and sometimes I feel unconformable. This comfort or discomfort to me is a signal from my subconscious to help me make the most appropriate decision. When I take some action, I sometimes feel good about it and sometimes feel bad about it. This feeling to me is a signal from the subconscious. Sometimes when I leave home I have a feeling that tells me I have forgotten to take something that I was planning to take. I can’t consciously figure out what it is. However later during the day I realize what I had forgotten to take. I also find that dreams, headaches, forgetfulness, irritation etc. are subconscious feelings.
Let’s now examine how we can use messages from our subconscious mind to live a purposeful life. I see the possibilities in being guided by the subconscious in finding a glimpse of our purpose, attempting to live purposefully and getting more clarity about our purpose. We explored how to find a Glimpse of our Purpose and how to live purposefully in this series earlier (please click on the links to explore, engage and refresh). Finding a glimpse of the purpose requires reflecting on some questions.
Reflecting on the questions; ‘what makes me feel most alive?’, requires your subconscious to give you that feeling of being alive to know that such activities makes you feel joyous. Reflecting on the questions; ‘what are/were my struggles?’, requires your subconscious to give you that feeling of pain and discomfort for you to know that such activities were struggles that prepared you to serve a higher purpose. When reflecting on the questions; ‘what concerns me about my world?’, requires your subconscious to give you that feeling of concerns to know that such issues matter to you.
After having reflected on these questions, when attempting to articulate the beginnings of a purpose, that consists of the ‘why of my life’, ‘Noble values for purposeful living’ and ‘what will I say yes to’, might present you with many options. When reflecting on the options, the subconscious helps inform you by making you feel good about some options and not so good about some of the other options. Sometimes if you go to sleep with each of the options in mind over several days, the option you had in mind on the day you slept well might be the best option, although it might not be the most rational. This is because the subconscious can analyse each option using millions of pieces of information inside and outside the brain, that the conscious mind is not capable of doing.
After having formulated the glimpse of a purpose, attempting to live it requires making choices in the way we live spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally, physically, financially, ecologically, societally and temporally. When such choices are contemplated, the sub-conscious informs us of what might be the best choice through the same signals discussed in the earlier paragraph. While listening to the subconscious sounds counter-logical, it is best to experiment being guided by the subconscious with small choices and decisions, and once you become more conformable with its accuracy and usefulness you could move on to bigger, more risky decisions and choices.
My blog posts of the last eight months addressed the impact of violence, religion, politics, sports, professions, stress and releasing on the lives of people and how to respond from the frame of purposefulness. We continue to explore purposefulness, this time in relation to the ‘subconscious’.
I hope this short blog post inspires you to find ways of making sense and dealing with experiences and struggles you encounter trying to live purposefully.
I wish you purposeful living!