Simple Insights… Profound Consequences!
Through the management of “programmed” perceptions, the mind controls our biology, behaviour and gene activity. The seat of thinking, freewill, personal identity, and our wants, desires and intentions is a small 40 “bit” self-conscious processor that controls our lives only 5% of the day or less. The million times more powerful subconscious mind controls 95% or more of our lives using “habits” derived from instincts and the perceptions acquired in our life experiences.
This data reveals that our lives are not controlled by our personal intentions and desires as we may inherently believe. Do the math! Our fate is actually under the control of the preprogrammed experiences managed by the subconscious mind. The most powerful and influential programs in the subconscious mind were downloaded into consciousness in the profoundly important formative period between gestation and six years of age. Now here’s the catch – these life-shaping subconscious programs are direct downloads derived from observing our primary teachers… our parents, siblings and local community. Unfortunately, as psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors are keenly aware, many of the perceptions acquired about ourselves in the formative period are expressed as limiting and self-sabotaging beliefs.
Unbeknownst to most parents is the fact that their words and actions are being continuously recorded by their children’s minds. Consequently, when they inform their child that he or she does not deserve things, or that they are not good enough, or smart enough, or that they are sickly, these pronouncements are directly downloaded into their child’s subconscious. Since the role of the mind is to make coherence between its programs and real life, the brain generates appropriate behavioural responses to life’s stimuli to assure the “truth” of the programmed perceptions.
Let’s apply this understanding to the behaviour in one’s life. Consider that you were a 5-year-old child throwing a tantrum in Walmart over your desire to have a particular toy. In silencing your outburst, your father yelled, “YOU don’t deserve things!” You are now an adult and in your self-conscious mind you are considering the idea that you have the qualities and power to assume a position of leadership at your job. While in the process of entertaining this positive thought in the self-conscious mind, all of your behaviours are now being automatically managed by the programs in your more powerful subconscious mind. Since your fundamental behavioural programs are those derived in your formative years, your father’s admonition that “you do not deserve things” may become the subconscious mind’s automated directive. So while you are entertaining wonderful thoughts of a positive future and not paying attention, your subconscious mind is automatically engaging self-sabotaging behaviour to assure that your reality matches your program of not-deserving.
Now here’s the catch – Behaviour is automatically controlled by subconscious mind’s programs when the self-conscious mind is not focused on the present moment. When the reflective self-conscious mind is preoccupied in thought and not paying attention, it does not observe the automatic behaviours derived from subconscious mind. Since 95% or more of our behaviour is derived from the subconscious mind… then most of our own behaviour is invisible to us!
For example, consider you intimately know someone and you also know his or her parent. From your perspective you see that your friend’s behaviour closely resembles their parent. Then one day you casually remark to your friend something like, “You know Mary, you’re just like your mom.” Back away! In disbelief and perhaps shock, Mary will likely respond with, “How can you say that!” The cosmic joke is that everyone else can see that Mary’s behaviour resembles her mom’s except Mary. Why? Simply because when Mary is engaging the subconscious behavioural programs she downloaded in her youth from observing her mom, it’s because her self-conscious mind is not paying attention. At those moments, her automatic subconscious programs operate without observation.
Another familiar example of how “invisible” behaviour operates: You are driving your car while having an intense conversation with a friend in the passenger’s seat. You become so involved in the discussion that only later, when your gaze returns to the road, do you realise that you haven’t paid attention to the driving for the last ten minutes. Since the self-conscious mind was preoccupied with the conversation, the car was being driven by the subconscious mind’s “autopilot” mode. However, if you were asked to describe your driving behaviour during that ten-minute hiatus, you would be forced to say, “I don’t know… I wasn’t paying attention.” Aha! That’s the point – when the conscious mind is busy, we do not observe our own programmed subconscious behaviours.
Consequently, when life does not work out as planned, we rarely recognise that we were very likely contributing to our own disappointments. Since we are generally unaware of the influence of our own subconscious behaviours, we naturally perceive of our selves as victims of forces outside of us when things don’t work out as desired. Unfortunately, assuming the role of victim means that we assume we are powerless in manifesting our intentions. Nothing is further from the truth! The primary determinant in shaping the fate of our lives is the database of perceptions and beliefs programmed in our minds.
Where Did That Behaviour Come From?
There are three sources of perceptions that control our biology and behaviour. The most primitive perceptions are those we acquire with our genome. Built into our genes are programs that provide fundamental reflex behaviours referred to as instincts. Pulling your hand out of an open flame is a genetically derived behaviour that does not have to be learned. More complex instincts include the ability of newborn babies to swim like a dolphin or the activation of innate healing mechanisms to repair a damaged system or eliminate a cancerous growth. Genetically inherited instincts are perceptions acquired from nature.
The second source of life-controlling perceptions represents memories derived from life experiences downloaded into the subconscious mind. These profoundly powerful learned perceptions represent the contribution from nurture. Among the earliest perceptions of life to be downloaded are the emotions and sensations experienced by the mother as she responds to her world. Along with nutrition, the emotional chemistry, hormones, and stress factors controlling the mother’s responses to life experiences cross the placental barrier and influence fetal physiology and development. When the mother is happy, so is the fetus. When the mother is in fear, so is the fetus. When the mother “rejects” her fetus as a potential threat to family survival, the fetal nervous system is preprogrammed with the emotion of being rejected. Sue Gearhardt’s very valuable book Why Love Matters reveals that the fetal nervous system records memories of womb experiences. By the time the baby is born, emotional information downloaded from the life experiences in womb have already shaped half of that individual’s personality.
However, the most influential perceptual programming of the subconscious mind occurs in the time period spanning from the birth process through the first six years of life. During this time the child’s brain is recording all sensory experiences as well as learning complex motor programs for speech, and for learning first how to crawl and then how to stand and ultimately run and jump. Simultaneously, the subconscious mind acquires perceptions in regard to parents, who are they and what they do. Then by observing behavioural patterns of people in their immediate environment (usually parents, siblings and relatives), a child learns perceptions of acceptable and unacceptable social behaviours that become the subconscious programs that establish the “rules” of life.