How to access the power of your subconscious, easily, every day
March 31, 2015
Wikipedia Extract ‘In psychology, the subconscious is the part of consciousness that is not currently in focal awareness. The word “subconscious” represents an anglicized version of the French ‘subconscient’ as coined by the psychologist Pierre Janet (1859-1947), who argued that underneath the layers of critical-thought functions of the conscious mind, lay a powerful awareness that he called ‘the subconscious mind.’
Did you know that your subconscious has the capacity to retain every license plate you see throughout your whole life? Various sources suggest that conscious processing accounts for between just 4% and 15% of our overall thinking. Furthermore, recent research suggests that we never forget an experience, so our subconscious is the most powerful source of creative stimulus available to us and it goes wherever we go.
Many people often wake up just before the alarm goes off. This is our subconscious keeping track of time while we are asleep. If it can do that, imagine what it can bring to the party when you need to think creatively. The trouble is we spend most of our working lives in a rational, logical state making it very difficult to access the benefits of our subconscious. The most creative people go with their gut, their instinct. They have a sense for how something FEELS.
In a research study by Ran Hassin and a team from Israel, they concluded that “unconscious processes can perform every fundamental, basic-level function that conscious processes can perform”. There is growing evidence that your sub-conscious is smarter than you think and advances in neuro science lend weight to that argument.
In a video clip entitled The Neuroscience Behind Epiphanies, neuroscientist John Kounios describes an experiment designed, using a set of puzzles, to look into what happens in the brain when people are having breakthroughs. They found that when people solve a puzzle in a moment of insight, there is a burst of activity in the right hemisphere of the brain which is making new connections. However, they wanted to know how people could have creative insights at will so they tracked back the brain activity to see what pre-cursers existed before the flash of insight.
They looked at brain activity just before the puzzles were presented, when people were looking at a blank screen. In those cases where puzzles were solved using rational reasoning, the visual cortex was lit up. However when problems were solved with a flash of insight, there was previously less activity in the visual cortex and instead the area of the brain that deals with words and concepts was lit up. This is effectively the mind turning in on itself and disengaging from the world, empowering a person to imagine new and different ways to creatively transform reality into something better.
As John Kounois says in the video ‘The artist Paul Gaugin said “I close my eyes in order to see.” ….. So if you really want to solve a problem, get rid of all the distractions and potential distractions that could yank you back to reality as it is and prevent you from formulating your own new reality. Listen to that subtle voice from within.’
Where ideas happen - infographic from Upping Your ElvisBreakthrough moments come when we have more access to our subconscious and we have more access when we are in Alpha state. This is not the rational logical state of work or when you are fast asleep, but somewhere in between. It occurs when we are relaxed, perhaps just falling asleep or waking up, or out in nature. We conducted a survey asking where people had their best ideas. The results were no great surprise; in bed, bathing, walking, traveling, in the pub. You can download this infographic to remind yourself and others (a boss perhaps?) that we are unlikely to have our best ideas sitting at our desks thinking hard. (click to open in new window first then right click ‘save image as’ for best resolution)
One of the most successful inventors of all time had a technique to help access his subconscious. When he had a problem to solve, he used to sit on a chair with a coin between his knees with his feet on a tin tray. He would lock in the problem he was wrestling with and then just daydream until he almost nodded off. At this point his muscles would relax and ‘the penny would drop’. He wrote down everything going through his mind at that moment. Thomas Edison has well over 1000 patents to his name.
What this technique actually achieved was a change of state for Edison. It allowed him to move from a logical state to a more emotional one. Instead of THINKING he was FEELING.
So when you are in need of a creative breakthrough or have a burning question to wrestle with, change your state. Try this simple technique and, if you want to Improve your Creative Leadership, encourage others to do the same.
It is like a walking meditation. In essence you are slowing down your brain to help you access more of your subconscious, and therefore sensitize yourself to internal processing, to external stimulus and to universal consciousness. Give it a go, you have nothing to lose, and let us know in the comment box whether or not it worked for you.
Slow down, breathe deeply and maybe go for a slow stroll outside. Notice everything around you and really drink in every detail. See the beauty in everything.
Stop somewhere you can relax, and breathe in all the colours and shapes and shadows. Notice the sounds around you – there are layers to them when you listen closely. There are scents on the air that, as you breathe in, you become conscious of; and there are tastes in your mouth.
Notice how your body feels, its temperature, the feel of your clothing on your skin. As you move, be aware of your muscles and bones. Go very slowly. Watch your feet as you walk, and then stop and look up to the sky. Breathe deeply.
When the time feels right, ask yourself your question or consider your challenge. When asking this question, focus on the things that you can control and that relate to you, rather than things that are external to you.
As you breathe, you will know which ideas have more potential because they will have more energy attached to them – they will tangibly produce more excitement in you and your body. It will take a little practice, but you will be amazed how quickly reading your inner thoughts can become a part of everyday life.
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