QUESTION: What is the role of the unconscious mind in psi?

ANSWER: Whether you call it the unconscious or, as some prefer, the subconscious mind, it's important to recognize a bit about the basic nature of this part of you. Why? Because not only can understanding it make your life easier, it will also help you to be a better psychic. The unconscious mind is the doorway to psychic information. All psi - whether ESP or PK - appears to operate through its mediation. And it not only acts as an access point, but as a filter for everything that passes through it. Some psychologists make the mistake of treating the unconscious mind like the "bad guy" part of you, responsible for all you problems. Now, think about it. Do you really believe it's going to want to cooperate with you if you approach it with such a negative attitude? Of course not! Like us, it wants to be respected and appreciated. And like us, it's trying to do the best job it can. However, the unconscious mind can be a bit like a computer with old programming. It can't upgrade its own software to do a better job. That's the job of the conscious mind - its the main programmer (although it takes a lot of its programming in from the family when very young).

The good news is that unconscious is often delighted to switch to easier, more effective techniques as long as it meets two key criteria: the unconscious mind must feel the new way of doing things keeps you safer and more protected, and it must believe it helps you to survive better. However, it's important to understand when talking about safety and survival, that the key issue for the unconscious mind is whether it has a track record of surviving that situation in the past. If, for example, you grew up in an abusive home, you're likely to seek abusive relationships. That may sound crazy, but to the unconscious mind, you survived that abuse when you were young, so clearly you have a track record of surviving it or you wouldn't still be around. Whereas, you don't know whether you could survive a healthy, non-abusive situation because you haven't tried it. There's no track record. The good news is that the unconscious mind is usually willing (with a bit of negotiation) to try something new if it thinks it might make it safer, even without the track record. Let's talk about some basic unconscious traits, some of which are pretty universal and others of which are a bit more individualized.

We've already mentioned a few universal unconscious traits: 1) it likes to be appreciated and treated with respect; 2) it can't change it's programming on its own; and 3) its top priorities are safety and survival. Let's look at some other common characteristics. First and foremost, the unconscious mind is very concrete. It can be like dealing with a brilliant two-year-old child. It takes things literally. I really mean that. You need to be extremely careful with your words because it will take them at their exact meaning - no more, and no less. You'll also find the unconscious mind has a tremendous sense of humor. It loves puns and plays on words. Some of this probably relates to its concrete nature. Why should you care what its sense of humor is? Because the unconscious mind can be very playful. And if you play with it, it will like you... and that means it do things for you that it wouldn't otherwise do. This is important if you want it to help you out by giving you accurate psychic information or letting go of some of your old baggage, which is holding you back in life. Trust me. You want to be on it's good side. Humor will do that. Another thing that it's important to remember about the unconscious mind, is that it remembers everything. And I mean everything! It may not share those memories with the conscious mind (especially if it is trying to protect the conscious mind from trauma or something it considers dangerous) but it stores them nonetheless. That's why those memories, complete with smells, tastes, sight, sound, and touch can be retrieved under hypnosis. Why is this important? For a couple reasons, which are important enough that I'm going to go into some detail here.
  1. If you are one of those people who is forgetful, recognize that the unconscious mind may be doing that on purpose. It's not accidental or "just the way you are." Nope. Untrue. It's deliberate. Your unconscious could make sure you remembered if it wanted you to. So, it's sometimes useful to ask yourself why it might not want you to have remembered whatever it was you forgot. It's amazing how much your memory can improve when you start holding the unconscious mind accountable for what it has caused you to forget. However, be aware that for some people, forgetting is a way of protecting them from painful or traumatic memories. In those cases, the unconscious may be in a default forget-everything mode that won't change until and unless those memories are dealt with and their emotional charge has been defused.
  2. It's critical to understand that the unconscious mind remembers everything, because you MUST ALWAYS KEEP YOUR WORD if you make a promise to it when negotiating a deal. Don't lie to it, because it will never forget that, and may never trust you again. And believe me, you aren't going to get very far making the changes you want for yourself without that trust. So, don't make any promises that you can't - or won't - be able to keep. Be honest and follow through with whatever you agree to. Only then can you trust the unconscious mind to keep its end of the agreement.
Before the unconscious mind will make any big shifts for you, it will want the security of knowing that you understand it. Some of this may be the respect of not pushing it too far or too hard, or of recognizing the importance of a track record of safety and survival. But often - perhaps partly as a mark of respect - there are times that the unconscious mind won't tell you things but wants you to play guessing games with it. One way of looking at it is that it likes you - it's giving you a chance to make it feel understood. This is because if you can correctly guess the answer, that means you understand it. That makes the unconscious mind really happy, which it turns mean it will do things for you, make changes, because you've built up a rapport and demonstrated your trustworthiness. I haven't met an unconscious mind yet that didn't love a good story. Because of this, hypnotists often use stories as learning tools or ways to get the unconscious mind to make a shift. Typically these stories involve the protagonist (which need not be a person) having a problem, meeting a wise person who gives them a solution, and the solution working. Unconscious minds love stories so much that they are sometimes treated as a reward. They REALLY like them.

Although we often think of the unconscious mind as a unitary process, this isn't terribly accurate. Instead, it often seems to consist of multiple different parts, which may have different roles and divergent opinions about things. This can lead to conflicts, sabotage, and the interrupting of changes. The best way to avoid such problems is to consult the unconscious in advance in such a way that everything can get worked out ahead of time, so all parts of the unconscious agree to make a given shift and set aside any sabotaging behaviors.

Finally, perhaps in part because of what I just mentioned above, the unconscious mind is the ultimate multi-tasker. It can quite literally do thousands of things at the same time, and do them well. Also, because it is capable of dealing well with complex, integrated, and sometimes even multi-dimensional tasks, you may want to take advantage of its skills and expertise. It can be a great consultant when you want to figure out a better way of getting things done. Just make sure it agrees on four parameters up front - that whatever it comes up with will be:
  1. Beneficial to you and those around you.
  2. Delightful to the unconscious mind.
  3. Unanimously acceptable to the entire unconscious.
  4. Keep you safer, more protected than you have ever been before and help you to survive better.
The Unconscious Personality
People sometimes treat the unconscious mind as if it were a blank slate. Not so. It has a distinct personality if you take the time to get to know it. Moreover, it may not be surprising to know that its personality may in some ways reflect key aspects of your own personality. Mine, for example, is very stubborn. I also know when I'm getting close to a touchy area because it starts getting very, very picky. And I can recognize and own those traits in myself, although they are displayed a bit differently by the unconscious than they are by me as a whole. Of course, everyone's will be different. Over time, your unconscious mind will reveal various aspects of itself. This can actually not only lead to some personal insights, but also be a lot of fun - especially if your unconscious mind is a creative one.

Building a relationship with your unconscious is the same as building a relationship with another person or even your guide (although guides cut you a lot more slack). Take the time to get to know the quirks of your unconscious mind and enjoy those quirks. After all, it's very much a part of you. Make friends with it.

A good rule of thumb when dealing with the conscious mind is to be considerate of it, show respect for it, and always thank it when your unconscious mind does something nice for you! It will pay off for you down the road in big dividends.

I spoke about this before under Psychic Tools, but ideomotor activity it a great way to chat directly with your unconscious mind. The word ideomotor refers to unconscious body movements. These may be as small as a slight muscle twitch or big a big coordinated motion. They happen all the time. Once you master a skill, whether sitting, walking, running, riding a bike, driving a car, or anything else, the actual muscle actions required to do it become unconscious, and you operate on automatic pilot. It can also reveal hidden thoughts and feelings to observant readers of body language and everyday tasks.

Ideomotor activity can be used to open up a dialog with your unconscious mind, creating a direct line of communication with it. The best way to start is by asking the unconscious to give you ideomotor signals (like moving a finger) for things like "yes" and "no." In essence, you create a shared language. Nor does this language need to be restricted to simple yes/no answers. Depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it, you can create quite an extensive vocabulary. With practice, remote viewers can build an extraordinarily complex shared language with their unconscious minds, complete with grammar and syntax, using ideomotor lines or ideograms that are drawn without conscious input.

One note I'll make about this is that once it gets the knack down, the unconscious mind LOVES to communicate. You'll find it commenting on things all the time, whether you ask it to or not. This can lead to some amusing insights, but also be the start of a higher psychic hit rate. I've noticed, if I say something and the unconscious mind agrees, that it tends to be right. Whereas if I guess at something and the unconscious mind says "no" or "not exactly," that it is almost always correct.

Other Forms of Communication
The unconscious mind isn't limited to communicating with you by ideomotor activity. For many, if not most people, it uses other lines of communication, including dreams, imagery (I often see specific colors or images as comments from my unconscious mind, which I then have to interpret), smells (a great way of evoking feelings, making comments, or letting you know that you have a certain spirit visitor present), body feelings (like the classic "bad feeling" in your gut). Indeed, nothing limits the unconscious mind from using any of your senses - sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell - as a line of communication.

Another important point to recognize, is that the unconscious mind may not keep the same form of communication all the time. Instead - especially at first - it may change modes just to keep you on your toes and make sure you're paying attention to it. I recommend being flexible and remaining alert to all avenues of communication. Eventually, the unconscious mind will settle on the one it likes best, and you can build a terrific line of two-way communication, that not only makes you a better psychic, but have a happier and healthier life.

Dealing with Unconscious Baggage
I learned hypnosis from Francis Dreher (who now teaches at John F. Kennedy University if you'd like to learn from him). I have often talked on this site about the importance for a psychic to work on his or her psychological baggage, but on other pages I haven't gotten into what I mean by that. Let me go into a bit more detail by what I mean by that here. Although psychological baggage can be as simple as the emotional charge on a memory (like a car accident or an embarrassing moment), which is easy enough to deal with, it more often involves one or more of the following three levels:
  1. BELIEF - Beliefs are the hardest level of things to shift. Often psychological baggage may have one or more beliefs, which can be intertwined. There are a variety of ways to work on this level, but typically you go back to before you began believing that belief, and in a safe way (keeping the earlier you surrounded by light, the essence of love, safety and protection, and put all the knowledge you have both consciously and unconsciously into that earlier you) change the situation so in essence you need to replace the old belief with a new one that supports your new way of being. Sometimes this can also involve giving the earlier you new resources, someone or something for moral support, and even transforming other people or the situation itself in imagination.
  2. SECONDARY GAIN - much as we often hate to admit it, we often get a number of needs met by what the conscious mind wants to get rid of. For example, if we have back pain it may get us out of some kind of work or get us sympathy from others. Typically, this can be handled by negotiating a better way of getting our needs met. You just have to make sure that all of the above four parameters are considered before choosing what you are going to replace it with. Also, it's generally a good idea to let the unconscious mind find three new ways to get your needs met, so it can have some flexibility. Also, if you make a deal with your unconscious mind, ALWAYS keep it. So, don't promise something you aren't willing to follow through with. Otherwise, not only will it not keep its end of the bargain, but it won't believe you in future negotiations.
  3. HABIT - this is usually the easiest to shift. You can often simply ask the unconscious mind to let go of it.
If you believe in past lives (which I do), then it is possible that some patterns and beliefs may extend to past lives. In these cases, you may need to consider working in such a way that you do not limit yourself to this lifetime. Also, always - and I mean ALWAYS - block homeostatic pull (our tendency to be pulled back into our old way of being by other people, situational or emotional triggers, and sabotaging parts of the unconscious mind). I have a mantra that I say before I finish any hypnosis session where work has been accomplished: "If any person, place, or thing tries to pull me back into the old way of being, block them in kind, gentle, loving, but strong ways that are beneficial to me and those around me, delightful to the conscious mind, unanimously acceptable to the entire unconscious, and keep me safer, more protected, than I've ever been before."

Lastly, there is a saying hypnotists use: Resistance is the gift. This is because that resistance is the unconscious mind telling you that (assuming you're not simply beyond the growing edge of what's possible for you at this point in your life) you're probably working right where you need to be. The harder it is to make a change, the greater the effect will be in that ripples through your life when you finally succeed at it. That way, instead of getting frustrated when you're struggling to make a change, you can smile to yourself and say "I'm right where I need to be."

We all have psychological baggage. We spend years accumulating it even though a surprising amount of our beliefs are formed by age of two or three. It takes time, practice, and help to deal with these issues. Often I'm reminded of an onion, where you peel one layer only to realize another one lies underneath it. I strongly recommend you to take advantage of the skilled help of a licensed professional - whether a Psychologist or Hypnotherapist - before you start down this path. You'd be amazed what a difference it can make, especially as we are often blind to things that are obvious to a more dispassionate eye and may have techniques that greatly smooth the process. The work may be long and difficult, but the payoff will be well worth it.

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