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The observation and analysis, knowledge and classification of the activities of the personal consciousness, consisting of the science of psychology, has been studied in colleges and universities for many years, but this personal or conscious, self-conscious mind does not by any means constitute the whole of the mind.

There are some very highly complex, and very orderly activities going on within the body of a baby. The body of the baby, as such, cannot induce or carry on those activities, and the conscious mind of the baby does not know enough to even plan them or be aware of them. Probably also in most cases there is no one around the baby who even remotely understands what is going on in this highly complex process of physical life; and yet all those activities manifest intelligence, and intelligence of a very complex and high order.

From the examination of what goes on in the human body, from all the complex processes, the beating of heart and digestion of the foods, the secretion and excretion of the glands, it is apparent, that there is in control an order of mentality which has a high degree of intelligence, but it is the mentality which is operating in the millions of cells which constitute the body, and so operate below the surface of what we term consciousness. It is therefore, subconscious.

The subconscious mind, again assumes two phases. Connected with each human person there is a subconsciousness which may in some sense be regarded as the subconsciousness of that person, but which merges at a still deeper level into what may be termed Universal subconsciousness, or into cosmic consciousness. That may be illustrated in this way: If you will think of the waves on the surface of Lake Michigan, insofar as they are above the level of the troughs, as standing for so many personal mentalities; and then, if you will think of a small body of water not rising above the surface, but in some degree running along with each wave and merging indistinctly at the bottom into the great unmoved mass below, which may be thought of as the deepest level, then those three levels of the water in the lake may illustrate to you personal consciousness or self-consciousness, personal subconsciousness, and universal subconsciousness or cosmic consciousness. Now, out of cosmic consciousness springs personal subconsciousness, and out of that in turn, or in connection with it, rises personal consciousness.

At the beginning of the experience of the child, its government is almost wholly from subconsciousness, but as it goes on, it becomes aware maybe unconsciously, but still in a degree aware of the presence of laws of consciousness which manifest as justice, truthfulness, honesty, purity, liberty, loving-kindness, and so on, and begins to relate itself to them and to be governed by them more and more.

The first thing to note is that, while this mental action is going on continuously, we are normally quite unconscious of it. For this reason it is known as the subconscious department of the mind to distinguish it from that part which functions through the senses of which we are conscious, and which we call the self-conscious. The existence in the body of two distinct nervous systems, the cerebro-spinal and the sympathetic, each with its own field of operation and its special functions, prepared us for these two mental departments.

The cerebro-spinal system is used by the self-conscious and the sympathetic by the subconscious. And just as we find in the body that, while the functions and activities of the two nervous systems are different, provision has been made for very close inter-action between the two, so we will find that, while the functions and activities of the two mental departments are different, there is a very definite line of activity between them.

The main business of the subconscious mind is to preserve the life and health of the individual. Consequently it supervises all the automatic functions, such as the circulation of the blood, the digestion, all automatic muscular action and so on. It transforms food into suitable material for body building, returning it to conscious man in the form of energy.

Conscious man makes use of this energy in mental and physical work, and in the process uses up what has been provided for him by his subconscious intelligence.

The action of the subconscious is cumulative and may be illustrated in the following manner. Suppose you take a tub of water and begin to stir it with a small piece of wood from right to left, with a circular motion. At first you will start only a ripple around the wood, but if you keep the wood in motion with the circular movement, the water will gradually accumulate the strength which you are putting into the wood, and presently you will have the whole tub of water in a whirl. If you were then to drop the piece of wood, the water would carry along the instrument that originally set it in motion, and if you were suddenly to stop the wood while it is still projecting in the water, there would be a strong tendency to not only carry the wood forward, but to take your hand along with it. Now, suppose that after you have the water whirling, you decide that you do not want it to whirl, or think that you would prefer to have it whirl in the other direction, and so try to set it going the other way, you will find that there is great resistance, and you will find that it will take a long while to bring the water to a standstill, and a still longer time before you get it going the other way.

This will illustrate that whatever the conscious mind does repeatedly the subconscious will accumulate as a habit, any experience which the subconscious receives is stirred up and if you give it another one of the same kind it will add that to the former one and so keep on accumulating them indefinitely, the tendency being to accumulate activity along any definite line in increasing measure, and this holds true concerning any phase of activity that comes within range of human consciousness. This is true whether the experiences are for our benefit or otherwise, whether the experiences are good or evil. The subconscious is a spiritual activity and spirit is creative, the subconscious therefore creates the habits, condition and environment which the conscious mind continues to entertain.

If we consciously entertain thoughts associated with art, music and the aesthetic realm, if we consciously entertain thoughts associated with the good, the true and the beautiful, we shall find these thoughts taking root in the subconsciousness and our experiences and environment will be a reflection of the thought which the conscious mind has entertained. If, however, we entertain thoughts of hatred, jealousy, envy, hypocrisy, disease, lack or limitation of any kind, we shall find our experience and environment will reflect the conditions in accordance with these thoughts: “As we sow, so shall we reap,” the law is no respecter of persons; we may think what we will, but the result of our thoughts is governed by an immutable law. “There is nothing either good or evil, but thinking makes it so.” We cannot plant seed of one kind and reap fruit of another.

Consciousness consists in the power to think, to know, to will and to choose, self consciousness is the power to be aware of the self as a thinking, knowing, willing and choosing individual. The brain is the organ of the conscious mind and the cerebro-spinal nervous system is the system of nerves by which it is connected with all parts of the body.

The process of growth is a subconscious process, we do not carry on the vital processes of nature consciously, all the complex processes of nature, the beating of the heart, the digestion of food, the secretion of the glands require a high degree of mentality and intelligence. The personal consciousness or mind would not be capable of handling these intricate problems, they are therefore, controlled by the Universal Mind, which in the individual we call the subconscious.

The Universal Mind is sometimes referred to as the Super-Conscious, and sometimes the Divine Mind. The subconscious is sometimes called the subjective and the conscious the objective mind, but remember that words are simply the vessels in which thought is carried. If you get the thought you will not be concerned about the terms.

Mind is a spiritual activity and spirit is creative, hence the subconscious mind not only controls all the vital functions and processes of growth, but is the seat of memory and habit.

The sympathetic nervous system is the instrument by which the subconscious keeps in touch with the feeling or emotions, thus the subconscious reacts to the emotions, never to the reason, as the emotions are much stronger than the reason or intellect; the individual will therefore frequently act in exactly the opposite manner from what the reason and intellect would dictate.

It is axiomatic that two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. What is true of things is true of thoughts. If, therefore, any thought seeks entrance to the mental realm which is destructive in its nature, it should be quickly displaced by a thought which has a constructive tendency. Herein lies the value of a ready made affirmation, such as the Coue affirmation, “Day by day, in every way, I am growing better and better,” or the Andrews’ affirmation, “I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.”

These or similar affirmations may be committed to memory and repeated until they become automatic or subconscious. As physical conditions are but the outward manifestations of mental conditions, it will readily be seen that by constantly holding the thought expressed in the affirmation in the mind, that it will be but a comparatively short time until conditions and environment begin to change so as to be in accordance with the new method of thinking.

This same principle can be brought into operation in a negative way, through the process of denial. Many make use of this with excellent results.

The conscious and subconscious are but two phases of action in connection with the mind. The relation of the subconscious to the conscious is quite analogous to that existing between a weather vane and the atmosphere. Just as the least pressure of the atmosphere causes an action on the part of the weather vane, so does the least thought entertained by the conscious mind produce within the subconscious mind, action in exact proportion to the depth of felling characterizing the thought and the intensity with which the thought is indulged.

It follows that if you deny unsatisfactory conditions, you are withdrawing the creative power of your thought from these conditions. You are cutting them away at the root. You are sapping their vitality.

The law of growth necessarily governs every manifestation in the objective, so that a denial of unsatisfactory conditions will not bring about instant change. A plant will remain visible for some time after its roots have been cut, but it will gradually fade away and eventually disappear, sot he withdrawal of your thought from the contemplation of unsatisfactory conditions will gradually but surely terminate these conditions.

This is exactly an opposite course from the one which we would naturally be inclined to adopt. It will therefore have an exactly opposite effect to the one usually secured. Most persons concentrate upon unsatisfactory conditions, thereby giving the condition that measure of energy and vitality which is necessary in order to supply a vigorous growth.

The stars come nightly to the sky;

The tidal wave comes to the sea;

Nor time, nor space, not deep, nor high,

Can keep my own away from me.

-John Burroughs


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