The subconscious is a concept. It can’t be measured or physically located. In relationship to learning to be a better hypnotist, I define the subconscious as everything within our nature, within our whole entire being that we are not aware of right now while reading this text. So right now your eyes are reading, your mind is thinking, you’re in a space, in a room where your ears are hearing, your body is touching; this is your conscious mind, the part of yourself you’re aware of right now. Your subconscious mind is everything else.
Within you right now are all your memories, your dreams, aspirations, intuition, inner resources plus all the knowledge you have acquired and can call up as needed. The subconscious is the magnitude of all that you are.
And in that way, we can think of the conscious mind as a reductive filter. It organizes you to be here right now reading these words and thinking about these concepts. You are not thinking about yourself when you were five and baking cookies or climbing a tree. You are not thinking about who you will be in 5 years. And you’re not thinking about the knowledge you access to add or multiply when you need to calculate the cost of something at a store. If we look at the subconscious and the conscious mind as simply as this, the role of a hypnotist becomes to bypass the conscious mind, accessing all these other resources. Now, of course, the subconscious is quite large but thankfully hypnotic state is a very focused state, often described as effortless narrowed attention, and the client will focus on whatever we narrow their attention to within the subconscious mind.
We can even hypothesize, to help frame the hypnotic state a little more clearly, that the conscious mind helps organize us in time. For example, there were things as a child that you found completely absorbing and seemed incredibly important and now seem hardly important at all or absolutely unimportant. And now at whatever age you are you’re interested in what you’re interested in. The reason I bring this up is that the subconscious state or the state of hypnotic trance has a timeless quality. It’s not rooted in time in the same way as the conscious mind.
So one of the attributes of going into a hypnotic trance, bypassing the conscious state, is that it tends to feel timeless. People lose track of linear time when they’re in a hypnotic trance. Time distortion is an indication your client is in a deep trance. Most clients, when asked, will think time in trance is shorter than it actually is, and this is because they are referencing the part of themselves where they were conscious at the beginning of the hypnotic inductions, before they get down into deep hypnosis, and lose track of linear time.
What is the unconscious? For purposes of this text, we can define the unconscious as the part of the mind that we cannot access with our conscious mind, no matter how hard we try. So the subconscious mind is everything within you and if you try to focus your conscious mind on it, you may be able to access the information…the memory of being 5 and climbing the tree, or baking cookies with grandma. You’re able to access the knowledge of addition and multiplication as needed.
Conversely, the unconscious part of us, is the part of us that no matter how hard we try, we cannot access the information. These may be things like repressed memories due to trauma, or insignificant events in our past that don’t hold any bearing on our life. It could be peripheral awareness that was insignificant to a memory. It could even be past lives or things like our supra-conscious self, our transcendent self.
The hypnotic state can access the unconscious as well. This makes it a superior tool for healing trauma, finding objects that are misplaced, uncovering the causal origin of the behavior, or accessing transpersonal resources that we’ve never accessed before consciously.
The value of being able to access both the subconscious and unconscious using hypnosis cannot be underestimated. Bringing something up into the conscious light of the mind, into awareness, is how we heal. It allows us to reframe or recontextualize events. It allows us to be aware of how we may have been influenced without consciously knowing it. It also allows us to reclaim our own inner voice. We often discover the voices we listen to aren’t even our own, but rather someone else’s ideas about us or a situation. Hypnosis can help us identify core beliefs, limiting beliefs, and emotional imprints that control us years later. I will expound on this in a further entry…
However, whatever the question is…the answer is AWARENESS. Becoming aware is the only way we can begin to find solutions.