Over the course of three or so decades, thousands of people have come to me seeking advice and guidance on how to create change in their lives. The changes they said they wanted ranged from the very simple — such as giving up a habit like smoking — to the abstract or deeper-seated, like healing a relationship or a physical pain or accomplishing a long-held goal. In every case, the first order of business was to remind them what the best tool to enact change is and always has been: the mind. There is nothing that exists in the world of form that did not first begin as a thought. Oh, one can tease a belief to the contrary, but such effort is futile. Thought comes first. Form follows, whether it’s material or behavioral.
Mind Games. Admittedly, we cannot accomplish anything without using the mind. Any change, any action in fact, originates in the mind. And it’s crucial to recall that we have two basic parts of the mind which we all understand: the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. If we were to describe what each does, we could summarize that the conscious mind analyzes, judges, intellectualizes, calculates. It crunches numbers, essentially, and that’s about it. And my laptop is faster and better at it.
The subconscious mind does everything else. It runs our digestion, our heartbeat, respiration, immune system, focuses our eyes, keeps our balance, hears, controls blood pressure, metabolism, sweat, tears — the list is almost endless. Once trained, it directs the body to do amazing feats that the conscious mind can barely stumble to do. The subconscious drives a car for us, plays music, types, dances. Try thinking your way into a good golf shot or baseball swing or arpeggio or even something so simple as a sneeze. The subconscious mind controls 90 percent or more of our existence. And more than that, as we all realize, the subconscious is a vast storehouse of all the information we take in through our senses, even the observations that escape the conscious mind or that the conscious mind chooses to ignore.
Of the two parts of the mind, the subconscious is by far the most powerful. Learning how to engage and work with it is how we can make lasting and real change in the world of form/behavior as well as recall memories of things that we have experienced or thought during our entire life.
Thought Creates Form. The way we create or manifest anything follows the simple rule of Cause and Effect. All things have a cause. In order to manifest an effect, we must make change at the level of cause. If we restrict our action to the realm of form, we are able to make what appears to be change but is neither lasting nor transferable. It’s like the proverbial “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”: You’ll get an immediate response but no real change where it matters most, the level of cause.
To help understand exactly what the process is, keep in mind that there is a chain of command. It is simply: Thought creates a belief. Belief creates a feeling. Feeling manifests form. So, Thought > Belief > Feeling > Form. Identifying this sequence is important because though both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind are capable of thought, they do so in dramatically different ways. Thoughts in the conscious mind typically present as word streams. Thoughts in the subconscious are more abstract and the coin of the realm is actually feeling. The conscious mind “thinks”. The subconscious “feels”.
So the chain is used to manifest form. Put simply, you cannot “feel” something unless you truly believe it. And you cannot accomplish something in the world of form unless you feel it. As an example, a pro baseball player isn’t going to hit the baseball if he only “thinks” he can do it. He’s more likely to hit it if he really “feels” that he will. So using the conscious mind to interface with the subconscious, thereby creating a feeling, is the mechanism we most effectively use to manifest change.
Who’s on Top? Though the subconscious is the more powerful part of the mind, the conscious is the noisiest, the most active. Even Yoda teaches that we must silence the drunken monkey mind to most effectively invoke the subconscious power base. So it’s clear that learning to quiet the nerve-wracking babble of the conscious mind is of paramount importance. That can be a simple step that is easy to learn though takes eons to perfect. But even a beginner can see results when following simple routines.
Step one is easy: Close the eyes. One of my teachers said that closing the eyes cuts down conscious mind activity by 90 percent. I am not certain how the metrics bear out but it certainly does make sense as a first step. It’s interesting that some folks find it challenging to actually keep their eyes closed through a sound or other sensation. It takes a little discipline but it’s important.
Step two is to take a set number of deep and easy breaths, say three to five, but always the same number. Yogic practice often suggests breathing in through the nostrils and out slowly through slightly parted lips. Oxygenating changes the biochemistry of the body in myriad ways.
Step three is to use a method to distract or entrain the conscious mind. We want to slow it down by keeping its attention on something other than its own thoughts. This is done by way of focusing on a singular point of interest. It could be moving our attention through the body (fractional relaxation) or it could be giving our attention to a particular word or phrase that is repeated (mantra). Eventually the conscious mind becomes bored and like a dog laying in the sun or even absentmindedly chewing a bone, becomes still.
When the busy, noisy and rambunctious overactive conscious mind is stilled, it’s time for the next step. We’ll cover those parts in the next feature column.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com. and like us on Facebook.