Our conscious mind is all we really know. It gives us our thoughts and our perception of the world around us: the two main components of what we think of as our reality.
Yet, truth be told, we owe our entire existence to the silent partner in our mental corporation: the unconscious. It does pretty much all of the heavy lifting for us, leaving our conscious attention with just the fleeting illusion of control.
And we should be thankful for this. If we had to consciously control our entire beings, we’d never get anything else done. In fact, we’d likely not survive very long. After all, our unconscious mind makes sure we breathe at regular intervals, it pumps blood around our bodies, and it actually makes most of our decisions for us.
We’d be lost without that constant and essential whirring of the unconscious cogs hidden within our hidden mind.
Our unconscious mind is not, however, totally silent; it can, and does, reach out to the conscious parts of our psyche in a number of different ways. It is these bridges between unconscious and conscious that this article will explore.
We often speak of intuition as if it is some mystical force that guides us, but it is mostly just the final act of your unconscious mind that has made calculations based on the available informational and sensory inputs.
When you intuit something consciously, you are merely interpreting the signal that has been sent from your unconscious. It feels as though it appears from nowhere, but that’s only because you haven’t previously had any conscious awareness of the work being undertaken below the surface.
Many decisions are taken by the unconscious and acted upon without thought, so it might be that intuition is simply those times when these decisions require final executive approval from the conscious part of our minds – when they have significant bearing on our lives, or when there is conflict between different parts of the brain.
2. Random Thoughts
Have you ever been walking down the street, minding your own business when WHAM! the thought of a childhood crush enters your head? Or perhaps you’ve all of a sudden begun to contemplate the pros and cons of taking up chessboxing as a hobby while you’re busy at work.
Our minds can often be found chattering away – sometimes with a purpose, sometimes aimlessly – and every now and again, a completely random thought will emerge as if from nowhere. When these thoughts are of a disturbing nature, they are referred to as intrusive thoughts, and you can read more about these here.
Much of the time, these random thoughts will be exactly that – random and without consequence – but occasionally one will hold more significance. It might reveal a hidden feeling, one that is being suppressed in some way or another, or a longing that you have to do something or see someone.
The challenge is to spot which is which; when to ignore the thought and when to take notice of it. The key is to watch how your emotions evolve when the thought pops up: are you passively watching as if you are a bystander, or are feelings stirred by the whole thing? Ask yourself this, and then if it’s the latter, ask what this thought is trying to tell you.
When you go to bed at night, your mind (hopefully) switches itself off. At least, the conscious part of it does. You no longer think thoughts in the same way you do when you’re awake, you don’t respond so much to the sensory inputs your body is sending your brain, and you enter the world of dreams.
Now dreams can be whacky, freaky, even thrilling experiences in their own right, even as your body lay there motionless. Your unconscious is where your imagination lives, and when the conscious portion of your mind is switched off, your unconscious can run wild. And it often does.
Some dreams are just fun romps through fantasy worlds that would put Middle Earth to shame, while others have a tangible anchor in reality. Either way, dreams can offer an insightful peek into the inner-workings of your mind. The type of dream you have will often reflect your underlying feelings in wakefulness, and many meanings have been ascribed to various dream themes.
Understanding these messages can be tricky because of the subtle differences that might exist between various storylines. So whether you want to know what dreams about dead people mean, the significance of tidal waves and other natural catastrophe, or what to make of being unfaithful to your partner, don’t jump to conclusions. Search the internet and you will find various interpretations for every possible dream sequence – look for one which really resonates with you and your particular circumstances.
Your body is a machine of such beautiful complexity. The sheer number of functions that must be carried out at any given time makes you appreciate just how powerful your unconscious mind is. You breathe, you digest food, you circulate oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body, you make very precise movements – all without conscious awareness.
It’s no wonder, then, that changes in your bodily functions can hold messages from your unconscious mind. Your gut is especially sensitive to fluctuations in your mental state, and how it feels and the products of its work (yes, we’re talking poo here) can reveal signs of an underlying emotional issue that needs resolving.
Our skin is another place where the effects of our unconscious can readily be seen with blotchiness, rashes, and acne spots all common symptoms of stress or irritation. Our hair, our eyes, and our joints are further places where our issues may manifest themselves.
Sticking with the body for a moment, it has long been thought that pain will sometimes have its roots in your general mental wellbeing. Many civilizations have linked pain in different parts of your body to different mental and emotional issues.
Some attribute pain in your knees to stubbornness, an inflexibility on your part, and fear. Gum problems are said to reflect your indecisiveness, while sciatica supposedly comes from being hypocritical and/or fearing the future. Headaches and neck aches are frequently caused by feelings of stress, confusion, and overwhelm, even if you feel consciously calm and in control.
Now, clearly, not all pain can have its roots in your unconscious mind – many times there will be a structural problem in a muscle, nerve, bone, etc. which causes the pain, but there will be some instances where discomfort and irritation occurs in the absence of any physical ailment. When this happens, it could be that your hidden mental turmoil is the source of your physical condition.
When you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall physically, you better believe that your mind is playing a big part in it. Tiredness and fatigue – even when it feels like you’re getting plenty of sleep – are signs that something needs your attention.
It is often the case that we feel tired and yawn a lot when we want to escape the drama and problems in our life. We end up feeling mentally and emotionally drained to the point where no amount of rest is enough.
Your unconscious mind is trying to tell you that action needs to be taken to resolve some of the most pressing issues. In fact, it is working overtime to try to figure out some solutions, which is part of the reason why your conscious mind is so strapped for energy. Don’t expect your energy levels to rise again until you have addressed the things that are troubling you.
Without us really knowing it, our unconscious minds are running our lives, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for this. What’s more, we can tap into its messages and use them to help us grow mentally and spiritually by identifying the potential lessons it has to teach us. Our unconscious mind can help us realize our dreams, find solutions to our problems, and tackle deep, underlying issues.
Are you in tune with your unconscious? Do the points above make sense to you? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.