Layers of the Subconscious Mind

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This article was first published on the 27th of July, 2020 by Patrick Carpen.

Last updated: July 27, 2020 at 22:26 pm

After doing a certain mental exercise today, I was able to convince myself that there are different layers to the subconscious mind and that the conscious mind is able to communicate most easily with the upper layers. Some information, no matter how long ago they were recorded, are kept in the top layer ready for retrieval while some are buried deeper in hard to reach spaces.

I’ll give you an example. Today, I was trying to remember the name of a certain religious speaker and author. I had read his articles and listened to his speeches about three years ago. After studying his interpretation of certain scriptures and listening to him, I was not impressed. I believed that he gravely misinterpreted the scriptures either unknowingly or deliberately.

A few days ago, while studying the subject again, I remembered the image of this author but not his name. But I knew that his name is stored in the subconscious mind because I had known it before. So I told myself, “my subconscious mind will tell me the name of this author,” as I held the image of him and his writings in my conscious mind. Surprisingly, within a few hours, I still could not recall the man’s name. I tried the exercise again several times with no success.

However, I did not try one of the most powerful methods of communicating with the subconscious mind: that is, while you are about to fall asleep. If I had instructed my subconscious mind while I was about to fall asleep, “as I sleep tonight, my subconscious mind will remind me of the name of this author,” while holding the image of him and his work, I think there was a 99% chance I would remember the name the next morning. I felt it did not call for this since a normal exercise should be enough.

But four hours later, the name still didn’t surface to my consciousness. At that point, I felt compelled to do something I had been resisting. I punched in a few keywords on the internet and his name popped up. Ah, that’s him!

So my subconscious mind did guide me to retrieving the name but it called for stronger action. Why? the name of this man was buried in a deeper layer of the subconscious mind that is harder to recall. But why?

I explained in my article, “the intelligence in forgetting,” how the mind discards information that it deems useless. Why do you think you are more likely to remember something that you heard 20 times than you are to remember something you heard 2 only times. It might seem like the power of repetition but there is actually intelligence behind it. And that is the intelligence in forgetting.

Suppose there was an accident on the road about a mile from where you lived. Almost ten different people will relate the same story to you and your mind will accept this as fact because it comes from a number of sources.

But suppose someone were trying to “fool” you. They tell you that there was an accident on the road when in fact there was none. You are not likely to hear this story from a second source. This is the intelligence your mind uses in retaining fact from fiction. It knows that fact will be repeated many times and fiction only one or two or even three. Your subconscious mind will still retain the story of the fictitious accident, but it will likely bury it deeper into a layer where it is less likely to be retrieved.

In the case of this religious figure, remember I had lost respect for him and thought his teachings and writings were not reliable. My mind lost respect for him and saw him as not useful information, so it buried his name deeper down into the layers of the subconscious where it was difficult to remember. Nevertheless, when I commanded the subconscious mind to summon the information, it devised a way to retrieve it – although it required greater action.

From the book, “How to be a Better You,” by Patrick Carpen.

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