The following is an excerpt from the book Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality by Tad James.
THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND: In the context of Time Line Therapy®, the words “unconscious mind” are not intended to signify anything mysterious or unusual, simply the part of your mind of which you are not conscious, right now. Your unconscious mind is a very important part of you. Think about it for just a moment. Here is a part of you that runs your body; it makes your heart beat, causes the lymph system to circulate, your breathing to continue, your eyes to blink, your stomach to digest your food, and many other tasks that perhaps you had never even considered.
The first thing to appreciate is that your unconscious mind is the source of all learning, all behavior and all change. Let us look at each one of these individually:
LEARNING: Your unconscious mind is the part of you that learns, not your conscious mind. Now, you may have thought that you learned consciously in the past, and although your learning has to go through the conscious mind, it is your unconscious mind that remembers everything. Everything, once learned, resides in the unconscious mind
Think about all the things you have ever learned. Until the subject was mentioned, how many of them did you remember consciously? Probably none! If you had to remember all the phone numbers you know consciously, there wouldn’t be enough room for anything else, would there? So all learning takes place at the unconscious level.
Think of all the phone numbers you have learned, and which you now know. For example, you know your home phone number, do you not? If you’d like to do this with me, please say it to yourself. Now before you were thinking of your home phone number, where was it? Obviously it was stored somewhere, of which you were not conscious — that is your unconscious mind — the part of your mind of which you are not conscious, right now. What’s important about that is that all your learning — everything you have ever learned — is stored in your unconscious mind.
BEHAVIOR: I was approached by a student at one of the hypnosis seminars I teach & he asked, “Can you make me move my arm unconsciously?” I asked the student if he had ever considered that he can’t move his hand consciously. I said, “Do you know how many muscles there are between the tip of your fingers and your shoulder blade? There are 159 muscles. So, you couldn’t move your hand consciously. You have to move it unconsciously. It’s not just your hand, either — all behavior is generated at the unconscious level. Think about walking. You just put one foot in front of the other, don’t you? When you do, however, you don’t think about it. You just do it. In fact if you think about walking, that thinking can be counter-productive. Thinking about walking is conscious thinking. The fact that it interferes with walking shows us that the behavior is generated unconsciously.
How about this, the last time you drove to work, how conscious of it were you? Do you remember the whole trip? Or do you remember none of it? If you want a real scare just look over at the person next to you on the freeway, the next time you drive somewhere. They too are probably unconscious.
CHANGE: Think of a bad habit you wanted to change in the past. Was it easy? Probably not. Most people find it hard to change a bad habit. For them it’s something that takes time. I remember in the 60’s when sideburns were long, and I used to play with mine all the time, and one day I said I’m not going to do that any more! But, you know, five minutes, and there I was again, playing with them.
If change was that easy, you could walk up to a friend who was being a bit of a jerk and say, “Um, excuse me, but you’re being a bit of a jerk! Would you please change?” And they would change. Right then — if change was conscious! In the real world, change isn’t always that easy. Many people go on doing the same old things over and over, year after year and they complain about it. If change isn’t that easy for us, it is simply because we aren’t fully in rapport with our unconscious mind. In the real world people are often not in rapport with the unconscious mind, and that is why change isn’t that easy for them.
Your unconscious mind would really like to be in rapport with your conscious mind. In fact your unconscious mind yearns for rapport, and looks up to your conscious mind like a 5 or 6 or 7 year old brother or sister might look up to you. It wants your direction and support, and it would like to do what you asked if it only knew how. If you are not feeling like there is rapport between your conscious and unconscious mind, it may be because you were giving confusing messages to the conscious mind.
Let us look at this idea a little further: Your unconscious mind cannot process a negative in consciousness. It’s true. In fact, it’s also true for the conscious mind as well. Think about this. You cannot think about what you wish to not think about without thinking about it. Think about that. For example, if I said, “Don’t think about a blue tree,” what are you thinking about. Unless you were semantically trained, you are probably thinking about a blue tree. Even though I asked you not to!!
Most of us go through our lives telling ourselves, “I don’t want to think about a blue tree. When you go in to see the boss, do you say, “I hope he doesn’t get angry like the last time.” Or when starting out in a new relationship, do you say, “Gee, I hope I don’t get hurt.” Or how about a salesperson going in to make a sale and saying, “I hope I don’t blow this sale.”
Do you do that? If you do, it may be the wrong signal to be giving to your unconscious mind. If it is the wrong signal, it is because the unconscious mind cannot process a negative in consciousness. So, to facilitate communication between the conscious and the unconscious minds let us find out a little more about this part of us which is so important, and of which we are so little aware — the unconscious mind.