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What Is The Subconscious Mind?

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For many years I had a recurring dream that I was in the Brown University Bookstore on Thayer Street in Providence, Rhode Island. (Above you see a picture of the Brown University Bookstore I took last year. The store is the grey building on the left. To the right is Thayer Street.)

After some years of this dream, I began to think about this place during my waking hours. 

As long as the dream went on, I never figured out why I was having the dream.   

As a kid I often went to the Brown U. store.  Last summer, in Providence for the first time in 20 years, I went into the bookstore for first time since maybe 1980. I’ve not had the dream since I went into the store last year.

In the past couple of months, I’ve had a new recurring dream. I dream I’m in parts of Providence that I knew as a kid, but did not see when in Providence last summer. I’ve now had this new dream three times.

Though I lived in Providence for my first 13 years, I consider Cincinnati, Ohio  my hometown far more than Providence. Cincinnati is where I lived the 18 years after Providence. Yet its Providence I keep dreaming about.

I think this is in part because I visit Cincinnati twice a year and have only been to Providence once in the past 20 years. I think if I did not regularly see Cincinnati, I would dream of that city as well.

In any case, all this got me to thinking about the subconscious mind.  What is the subconscious mind? 

A New York Times article from 2007  says it is something that guides your actions more than you realize. It says our minds respond in ways we don’t fully control in response to clues and triggers. For example, if we see a briefcase we may become more competitive. 

Past that article, what I found by poking around on the internet—perhaps reflecting a subconscious view that I don’t really want to know what is lurking in my mind—was nothing very solid.

There is a lot of stuff about using your so-called subconscious mind to quit smoking or become rich. Other web pages had a New Age feel. New Age stuff is fine for people who go for all that–But it does not do so much for me.

Wikipedia has a definition. 

Beyond my wariness of what I read in Wikipedia—And I do appreciate Wikipedia for all the pictures I use on this blog that I get from that source—I find myself wondering how we can well-define something that takes place in our subconscious. How can anyone know for sure?

I’d like to think that right now in my subconcious mind some type of dinosaur fight is taking place—

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Here is the defintion of subconcious from The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

” Of or pertaining to, existing in, the part of the mind which influences actions etc. without one’s “full” awareness.”

I think this is as close as we are going to get to a good definition.

Your subconcious mind is present in some respect and it is messing with you in someway. If all it is doing is making you have a dream about a place you left a long time ago, you’re likely getting off lucky.

( Here is a link to information about Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. Maybe those of who reached this post via a search engine question will have thoughts of all the good FDR and the New Deal accomplished planted in your subconscious when you are deciding in the future how to vote.)

May 11, 2009 - Posted by | Books, Cincinnati | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. between the hardwiring past lives if you believe and the stuck in the back of your mind thoughts you try to forget or the random things that collect like mold in your brain, you add self wants and hatreds and loves and opinion, im sure we are all filled with some strange ideas.

    Comment by bill brady | May 11, 2009

  2. My first adult job, after graduation from college, was that of a dental hygienist. I absolutely hated it. I dabbled at it on and off for about eight years, when I finally decided that life was too short to be so miserable. I went on to bigger and better things. To this day, I still have dreams, well nightmares, about the horror of it all – running behind on my schedule, dealing with outrageous patients, and doing the sheer drudgery that surrounds that job. I am never in an actual office I worked in. Always a strange, unfamiliar one, but always with the dentist that I had the best relationship with, out of the six I worked for over that horrid eight years. Yes, I did job hop. I thought a new office would make it all better. I was wrong. I have often wondered why my subconscious mind still hangs on to this unpleasantness. A very interesting topic indeed . . .

    Comment by Peggy | May 11, 2009

  3. There was a lot of weird stuff brought up by CIA research that still sounds like sci-fi. Mostly you don’t hear about it : but we share odd experiences that don’t make sense in the context of known science.
    That isn’t as bad as it sounds. Time was people recognized that science was a tool : and like all tools, had limitations. But don’t mistake me for a Creationist : I think them idiots.
    One experience in particular stayed with me. I don’t know if that was because it seemed a case of precognition : of altering the timeline ( that would be handy ) : or because of the absolutely stunned look on a schoolmate who saw the byplay. I just grinned, shook my head and shrugged.

    I had a dream of standing in a lineup of men dressed in black : two rows down a hall. A fellow zips down the stairs and belts me a fierce one in the solar plexus with all his might. I figure I must have been 8-10 at the time.
    Time marches on. I’m 17 and have been going to a collegiate with military dress and regulations for a year and a half. I’m heading for Roll Call – and stop at the foot of the stairs. I have a bit of time left, so I clear the bottom of the stairway and and to the right of one of the NCOs keeping order – who gives me a raised eyebrow but says nothing.
    There’s a figure zipping down the hall who stops and belts the wall strip where I should have been standing so hard he hurts his hand : and stares at it in stunned disbelief. After which I leisurely take my place and am in position for attendance.

    Comment by opit | May 11, 2009

  4. Is there something from your past that you are trying to forget? From the first 13 years of life, did something dramatic happen to you? If so, then perhaps your subconcious mind is telling you to revisit and connect with the past, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

    Comment by Saleema | May 12, 2009

  5. Just happened on this.
    http://www.skepdic.com/

    Comment by opit | May 12, 2009

  6. Bill–We are a hodge-podge of stuff in our minds. Maybe the trick is to be able to discipline ourselves enough to make sense of it all–And to be able to make sense to other people.

    Peggy–Can’t imagine you don’t retain some memory of all that. Sorry to cause you to relive it.

    Opit–Nothing I can add to the helpful comment but to say that I agree that many things reagrding the mind are possible that we often think of as far-fetched.

    And thanks for the link.

    Saleema–Nothing terrible happened. And nothing else that took place could be resolved by my going back.

    Thanks for all these comments that have very much added to the blog post.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | May 12, 2009

  7. Let’s say that their really is no “subconscious mind.” What if we are making this all too difficult because we need to believe that we are more than the sum of mere biological and chemical processes.

    Let’s say all emotions, actions etc are chemical, hormonal and biological reactions spawned from memory of past events. Those memories are stored in cells in the brain. Memories spawn reactions that set off chemical… bilogical reactions… We don’t have to consciously make the decision to do or feel someway, it is instinctual, you don’t even have to be aware of it; just like you aren’t aware of your bial ducts releasing bial, it still happens. That doesn’t mean that we have a separate subconscious mind. It simply means that we didn’t make the decision to do something it was a reaction.

    We are really nothing more than mere energy. Now, bear with me… We already know that everything has energy at some cellular level. So, then let’s assume that there is also “free range” energy out there all around us. We already know this.

    When a person is born for example, some of that free range energy is used to form the physical body, which includes the brain and all of it’s neuro pathways, homones, chemicals, DNA etc which give us the ability to think, feel and so on… Inbetween all of those cellular components is energy.

    That energy can direct the cells to behave certain ways. Also, one’s energy is still connected to all of the energy all around us (including that of other people, plants, animals, objects and free range energy). I am not sure how this is; maybe through some kind of “communication” method or synergy that we have yet to discover.

    That could also be why they cannot prove the existence of ghosts; because the energy does not take on the form of the physical body when the it is released (as in death). It is released simply as energy that once again joins the free range energy all around us to be eventually used again; maybe in some completely different form.

    If positive energy excites or draws positive energy and negative to negative respectively, than that would explain why people who have a “positive attitude” always seem to have positive things happen to them; everyone likes them… they seem to always get the breaks (they have a positive charge)… and likewise negative people always seem to have “bad luck”, they are always down and no body wants to be around them.

    So lets say this is all true and we through our conscious thought processes can evoke our energy to a positive charge. We could attract other positive energies from the world around us. If all events are based off energy, then positive energy would result in positive events. In this fashion, we would be manifesting positive things for ourselves.

    You could take this in a million different directions. Right or wrong, we may never know. But it gives us food for thought.

    Comment by Alley | June 16, 2009


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