HJ: There is great confusion over the conscious and subconscious mind — where does one end and the other begin? Is there a clear boundary? Which has more influence on our lives? Are we controlled by the subconscious? The answers to all these questions are very important because the interaction between these two aspects of the mind largely determine our experience of life. Without understanding how the two fundamentally work, we are essentially guessing at what we need to do in order to affect lasting and permanent change, and furthermore, what can be trusted as authentic in our experience of ourselves and reality at large.
That being said, there is an intense degree of misinformation (and many half-truths) being put forward by theories and philosophies originating in certain schools of psychological thought, particularly those which originate from Freudian theory (although there are certain ideas and notions that Freud had that do reflect the true nature of how the mind works, hence the reference above to half-truths). When one begins to learn the truth about how the conscious and subconscious mind actually interact and operate, we begin to see just how fundamentally distorted our beliefs about ourselves and how we work actually are. And whats more, we have built science and our world on this shaky foundation!
Neville Goddard, one of the pioneers of the new thought movement, beautifully and eloquently discusses the actual nature of the conscious and subconscious mind in the essay below. This is an intensely eloquent and straightforward approach that will help sort out any lingering doubts or misconceptions you may still hold. For more information on the workings of the mind and consciousness and how to work with them to achieve greater happiness and fulfillment in life, we highly recommend the book The Nature of Personal Reality by Seth/Jane Roberts.
By Neville Goddard | Feeling is the Secret
The world, and all within it, is man’s conditioned consciousness objectified. Consciousness is the cause as well as the substance of the entire world.
So it is to consciousness that we must turn if we would discover the secret of creation.
Knowledge of the law of consciousness and the method of operating this law will enable you to accomplish all you desire in life.
Armed with a working knowledge of this law, you can build and maintain an ideal world.
Consciousness is the one and only reality, not figuratively but actually. This reality may for the sake of clarity be likened unto a stream which is divided into two parts, the conscious and the subconscious. In order to intelligently operate the law of consciousness, it is necessary to understand the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious.
The conscious is personal and selective; the subconscious is impersonal and non-selective. The conscious is the realm of effect; the subconscious is the realm of cause. These two aspects are the male and female divisions of consciousness. The conscious is male; the subconscious is female.
The conscious generates ideas and impresses these ideas on the subconscious; the subconscious receives ideas and gives form and expression to them.
By this law – first conceiving an idea and then impressing the idea conceived on the subconscious – all things evolve out of consciousness; and without this sequence, there is not anything made that is made.
The conscious impresses the subconscious, while the subconscious expresses all that is impressed upon it.
The subconscious does not originate ideas, but accepts as true those which the conscious mind feels to be true and, in a way known only to itself, objectifies the accepted ideas.
Therefore, through his power to imagine and feel and his freedom to choose the idea he will entertain, man has control over creation. Control of the subconscious is accomplished through control of your ideas and feelings.
The mechanism of creation is hidden in the very depth of the subconscious, the female aspect or womb of creation.
The subconscious transcends reason and is independent of induction. It contemplates a feeling as a fact existing within itself and on this assumption proceeds to give expression to it. The creative process begins with an idea and its cycle runs its course as a feeling and ends in a volition to act.
Ideas are impressed on the subconscious through the medium of feeling.
No idea can be impressed on the subconscious until it is felt, but once felt – be it good, bad or indifferent – it must be expressed.
Feeling is the one and only medium through which ideas are conveyed to the subconscious.
Therefore, the man who does not control his feeling may easily impress the subconscious with undesirable states. By control of feeling is not meant restraint or suppression of your feeling, but rather the disciplining of self to imagine and entertain only such feeling as contributes to your happiness.
Control of your feeling is all important to a full and happy life.
Never entertain an undesirable feeling, nor think sympathetically about wrong in any shape or form. Do not dwell on the imperfection of yourself or others. To do so is to impress the subconscious with these limitations. What you do not want done unto you, do not feel that it is done unto you or another. This is the whole law of a full and happy life. Everything else is commentary.
Every feeling makes a subconscious impression and, unless it is counteracted by a more powerful feeling of an opposite nature, must be expressed.
The dominant of two feelings is the one expressed. I am healthy is a stronger feeling than I will be healthy. To feel I will be is to confess I am not; I am is stronger than I am not.
What you feel you are always dominates what you feel you would like to be; therefore, to be realized, the wish must be felt as a state that is rather than a state that is not
Sensation precedes manifestation and is the foundation upon which all manifestation rests. Be careful of your moods and feelings, for there is an unbroken connection between your feelings and your visible world. Your body is an emotional filter and bears the unmistakable marks of your prevalent emotions. Emotional disturbances, especially suppressed emotions, are the causes of all disease. To feel intensely about a wrong without voicing or expressing that feeling is the beginning of disease – dis-ease – in both body and environment. Do not entertain the feeling of regret or failure for frustration or detachment from your objective results in disease.
Think feelingly only of the state you desire to realize. Feeling the reality of the state sought and living and acting on that conviction is the way of all seeming miracles. All changes of expression are brought about through a change of feeling. A change of feeling is a change of destiny. All creation occurs in the domain of the subconscious. What you must acquire, then, is a reflective control of the operation of the subconscious, that is, control of your ideas and feelings.
Chance or accident is not responsible for the things that happen to you, nor is predestined fate the author of your fortune or misfortune. Your subconscious impressions determine the conditions of your world. The subconscious is not selective; it is impersonal and no respecter of persons [Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11]. The subconscious is not concerned with the truth or falsity of your feeling. It always accepts as true that which you feel to be true. Feeling is the assent of the subconscious to the truth of that which is declared to be true. Because of this quality of the subconscious there is nothing impossible to man. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and feel as true, the subconscious can and must objectify. Your feelings create the pattern from which your world is fashioned, and a change of feeling is a change of pattern.
The subconscious never fails to express that which has been impressed upon it.
The moment it receives an impression, it begins to work out the ways of its expression. It accepts the feeling impressed upon it, your feeling, as a fact existing within itself and immediately sets about to produce in the outer or objective world the exact likeness of that feeling.
The subconscious never alters the accepted beliefs of man. It out-pictures them to the last detail whether or not they are beneficial.
To impress the subconscious with the desirable state, you must assume the feeling that would be yours had you already realized your wish. In defining your objective, you must be concerned only with the objective itself. The manner of expression or the difficulties involved are not to be considered by you. To think feelingly on any state impresses it on the subconscious. Therefore, if you dwell on difficulties, barriers or delay, the subconscious, by its very non-selective nature, accepts the feeling of difficulties and obstacles as your request and proceeds to produce them in your outer world.
The subconscious is the womb of creation. It receives the idea unto itself through the feelings of man. It never changes the idea received, but always gives it form. Hence the subconscious out-pictures the idea in the image and likeness of the feeling received. To feel a state as hopeless or impossible is to impress the subconscious with the idea of failure.
Although the subconscious faithfully serves man, it must not be inferred that the relation is that of a servant to a master as was anciently conceived. The ancient prophets called it the slave and servant of man. St. Paul personified it as a “woman" and said: “The woman should be subject to man in everything" [Ephesians 5:24; also, 1Corinthians 14:34, Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, 1Peter 3:1]. The subconscious does serve man and faithfully gives form to his feelings. However, the subconscious has a distinct distaste for compulsion and responds to persuasion rather than to command; consequently, it resembles the beloved wife more than the servant.
“The husband is head of the wife," Ephesians 5[:23], may not be true of man and woman in their earthly relationship, but it is true of the conscious and the subconscious, or the male and female aspects of consciousness. The mystery to which Paul referred when he wrote, “This is a great mystery [5:32]… He that loveth his wife loveth himself [5:28]… And they two shall be one flesh [5:31]“, is simply the mystery of consciousness. Consciousness is really one and undivided but for creation’s sake it appears to be divided into two.
The conscious (objective) or male aspect truly is the head and dominates the subconscious (subjective) or female aspect.
However, this leadership is not that of the tyrant, but of the lover.
So, by assuming the feeling that would be yours were you already in possession of your objective, the subconscious is moved to build the exact likeness of your assumption.
Your desires are not subconsciously accepted until you assume the feeling of their reality, for only through feeling is an idea subconsciously accepted and only through this subconscious acceptance is it ever expressed.
It is easier to ascribe your feeling to events in the world than to admit that the conditions of the world reflect your feeling. However, it is eternally true that the outside mirrors the inside.
“As within, so without" [“As above, so below; as below, so above; as within, so without; as without, so within”, “Correspondence”, the second of The Seven Principles of Hermes Trismegistus].
“A man can receive nothing unless it is given him from heaven" [John 3:27] and “The kingdom of heaven is within you" [Luke 17:21]. Nothing comes from without; all things come from within – from the subconscious.
It is impossible for you to see other than the contents of your consciousness. Your world in its every detail is your consciousness objectified. Objective states bear witness of subconscious impressions. A change of impression results in a change of expression.
The subconscious accepts as true that which you feel as true, and because creation is the result of subconscious impressions, you, by your feeling, determine creation.
You are already that which you want to be, and your refusal to believe this is the only reason you do not see it.
To seek on the outside for that which you do not feel you are is to seek in vain, for we never find that which we want; we find only that which we are.
In short, you express and have only that which you are conscious of being or possessing. “To him that hath it is given" [Matthew 13:12; 25:29; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18; 19:26]. Denying the evidence of the senses and appropriating the feeling of the wish fulfilled is the way to the realization of your desire.
Mastery of self-control of your thoughts and feelings is your highest achievement.
However, until perfect self-control is attained, so that, in spite of appearances, you feel all that you want to feel, use sleep and prayer to aid you in realizing your desired states.
These are the two gateways into the subconscious.