We feel that we are in control when our brains figure out puzzles or read words, says Tom Stafford, but a new experiment shows just how much work is going on underneath the surface of our conscious minds.
It is a common misconception that we know our own minds.
As I move around the world, walking and talking, I experience myself thinking thoughts. “What shall I have for lunch?”, I ask myself. Or I think, “I wonder why she did that?” and try and figure it out. It is natural to assume that this experience of myself is a complete report of my mind.
It is natural, but wrong.
There's an under-mind, all psychologists agree – an unconscious which does a lot of the heavy lifting in the process of thinking.
If I ask myself what is the capital of France the answer just comes to mind – Paris! If I decide to wiggle my fingers, they move back and forth in a complex pattern that I didn't consciously prepare, but which was delivered for my use by the unconscious.
The big debate in psychology is exactly what is done by the unconscious, and what requires conscious thought.
Or to use the title of a notable paper on the topic, 'Is the unconscious smart or dumb?' One popular view is that the unconscious can prepare simple stimulus-response actions, deliver basic facts, recognise objects and carry out practised movements. Complex cognition involving planning, logical reasoning and combining ideas, on the other hand, requires conscious thought.
A recent experiment by a team from Israel scores points against this position. Ran Hassin and colleagues used a neat visual trick called Continuous Flash Suppression to put information into participants’ minds without them becoming consciously aware of it. It might sound painful, but in reality it’s actually quite simple.
The technique takes advantage of the fact that we have two eyes and our brain usually attempts to fuse the two resulting images into a single coherent view of the world. Continuous Flash Suppression uses light-bending glasses to show people different images in each eye.
One eye gets a rapid succession of brightly coloured squares which are so distracting that when genuine information is presented to the other eye, the person is not immediately consciously aware of it.
In fact, it can take several seconds for something that is in theory perfectly visible to reach awareness (unless you close one eye to cut out the flashing squares, then you can see the 'suppressed' image immediately).
On Speaking the Language of Your Mind
Apr 21, 2011 · 7 min read
As we grow up, we learn how to interact with the world. The way we communicate with superiors (bosses, parents, etc.) is very different than the way we communicate with friends, family, and significant others. We learn how to communicate properly by observing how others around us are doing so. Perhaps we may even read a book or two on how to communicate with others (such as Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People).
However, there is one set of communication skills that is grossly neglected by our society: communicating with our own minds. Why is this important, you ask? Simple.
Can you think back to a time when you understood that it would be best to do one thing, but you ended up doing the total opposite? I think we’ve all been there at least once, whether it was overindulging on desserts or procrastinating all weekend.
Why is it that we can determine the best logical choice, but end up doing something completely different? It’s because most people don’t know how to communicate with the part of their minds that controls automatic behaviors, urges, emotions, and habit forming (otherwise known as the subconscious mind).
Because there are so few people in our society who understand how to communicate with this very important part of our minds, we just assume that fighting impulse, emotion, and habit with willpower and rational thinking is the proper response. It’s not.
The failure rates of diets and various other lifestyle changes show that willpower and rational thinking are often not enough to make difficult, worthwhile alterations to your life.
In response, most people try harder and harder, only to keep failing against the untiring resistance of their subconscious mind.
Working Harder vs. Working Smarter
“It is psychological law that whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress upon the subjective or subconscious mind.”
-Orison Swett Marden
Working harder against your subconscious doesn’t produce better results. It’s been demonstrated in lab studies that trying to fight against your emotions, habits, and beliefs head on is a battle that is seldom won… unless you do so in the right way.
Those who understand how to effectively communicate with their subconscious will reap the benefits of easier lifestyle changes. Those people will find that their goals seem to be pursued automatically, rather than through excruciating struggles against natural inclination.
Here are three guidelines for communicating with and influencing your subconscious mind.
1) The mind doesn’t think in negative terms. Therefore, think positively.
“It is only through your conscious mind that you can reach the subconscious. Your conscious mind is the porter at the door, the watchman at the gate. It is to the conscious mind that the subconscious looks for all its impressions.”
Right now, I want you to follow this one brief instruction:
Don’t think about a purple elephant.
Subconscious Mind – How to Unlock and Use Its Power
The subconscious mind is the powerful secondary system that runs everything in your life. Learning how to stimulate the communication between the conscious and the subconscious minds is a powerful tool on the way to success, happiness and riches.
The subconscious mind is a data-bank for everything, which is not in your conscious mind. It stores your beliefs, your previous experience, your memories, your skills. Everything that you have seen, done or thought is also there.
It is also your guidance system. It constantly monitors the information coming from the senses for dangers and opportunities. And it would communicate that information to the conscious mind, which you want it to communicate (more on that tricky topic – later).
The communication between the subconscious and the conscious mind is bidirectional. Every time when you have an idea, or an emotion, a memory or an image from the past, this is the subconscious mind communicating to your conscious mind. The communication in the other way is not so trivial and is achieved using the principle of auto-suggestion.
This article will introduce the powers of the subconscious mind and how they can be used on the way to success. You will learn how to communicate better with your subconscious and how to set it on the track you want it to follow.
Time to read
Time to read: 18 minutes
The Inner Language of the Subconscious
Man’s ultimate concern must be expressed symbolically because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate. Paul Tillich
It is through symbols that man consciously or unconsciously lives, works and has his being. Thomas Carlyle
The subconscious is recognized as the source of creativity, intuition, inspiration, inner knowing, interconnectedness, and spiritual enlightenment. Within this realm reality shifts and expands, creating a matrix that is far more elastic and multi-dimensional than is perceived by the conscious mind.
When we access and spend time within the subconscious we are released from the confines of our logical, practical mind. The messages we receive from our dreams and the primordial symbols, or archetypes handed down to us from our ancestors, inform us about what is unique, authentic, and sacred to each of us.
When we heed these messages we are following the path of our soul’s evolution.
These symbols and archetypes are essential elements of the collective unconscious, the universal intra-psychic structuring device innate to humans. It is as if the necessary acquired information learned by generations past is provided to us as a shortcut to our own evolution. Once something is learned in the evolution of human consciousness it is not necessary to learn it again.
It is inherent, forever after, with what it means to be human. The “eternal vocabulary” of the collective unconscious lives within us, always ready to offer hints and clues, suggestions and solutions. Learning to access the subconscious and to fully utilize its gifts can help us to “see” in a new way.
Beyond our conscious mind and usual senses the veil is lifted, revealing a world of unlimited possibilities.
What is so poignant here is that words are unnecessary to communicate or convey a message.
The symbol, the representational picture or image, conveys the complete thought, concept, or ideal without the use of words to describe it; the proverbial, “a picture is worth a thousand words.
” This idea is tremendously powerful, for the way we “talk” to ourselves, our inner language, the way we know who we are, does not come from words, but rather from the timeless source within that knows who we are.
A brief tutorial, if you don’t know this already. The left hemisphere of the brain controls most of the neuromuscular and motor functioning of the right side. The right hemisphere controls the left side.
But there is a huge difference as to the quality and character of each of the hemisphere’s activity.
The left hemisphere is largely involved with logical, analytic thinking, as in verbal and mathematical functions, while the right hemisphere is largely responsible for orientation in space, body image, recognition of faces, and artistic efforts.
The right side of the body, or bodymind as psychologist and author, Ken Dychtwald refers to it in his book of the same title, is identified with the masculine and traits associated with it are “assertiveness, aggressiveness and authoritarianism.” The left side is considered feminine and traits associated with it are “emotionality, passivity, creative thought, and holistic expression.”
A recent provocative theory proposes that a “holistic, simultaneous, synthetic, and concrete view of the world are the essential characteristics of a feminine outlook; linear, sequential, reductionist, and abstract thinking defines the masculine.
” Every person has the full capacity for both of these sets. Ideally, these should coexist equally, with neither more important nor predominant than the other.
Leonard Shlain, in The Alphabet Versus the Goddess presents compelling evidence to suggest that the advent of the written word, and then the alphabet, shifted the mindset of cultures that were newly literate.
Word and image are “complementary opposites”, that is they are meant to coexist on equal footing. But while preliterate cultures exalted all things feminine, the shift toward the written word favored the masculine, and patriarchy ascended and eventually, dominated.
While this theory is rather impressive and may explain quite a lot about how things got to be the way they are, that’s not the point.
What is far more important is the idea that the subconscious utilizes symbolism and imagery to express itself and the devaluing of the image in favor of the word may have done more damage to the way we think as a collective humanity. This may explain the decline of holistic expression so identified with the right brain.
It has been suggested that television, film, and the Internet may be reintroducing the images that account for a heightened awareness and expression of holism. We can only hope that’s true.
The point of this is to begin to “think” in a different way; to become aware of the world of images and symbols, their meaning to you and how their presence affects you.
Common symbols (institutional logos, highway signs, religious images, and so on) abound in daily life. See how much you might be taking them for granted.
Try putting aside the logical and practical for a while and begin to imagine or envision without the use of words.
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
- The power of your subconscious mind goes further than you might think.
- No pun intended.
- I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say our brains are extremely complicated.
- However, you might be surprised by how much control we have over its programming.
- Before I get to that:
Let’s first take a moment to consider the fact that your subconscious mind is like a huge memory bank.
Its capacity is virtually unlimited and it permanently stores everything that ever happens to you.
By the time you reach the age of 21, you’ve already permanently stored more than one hundred times the contents of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.
Under hypnosis, older people can often remember, with perfect clarity, events from fifty years before. Your unconscious memory is virtually perfect. It is your conscious recall that is suspect.
The function of your subconscious mind is to store and retrieve data. Its job is to ensure that you respond exactly the way you are programmed.
Your subconscious mind makes everything you say and do fit a pattern consistent with your self-concept, your “master program.
” This is why repeating positive affirmations are so effective — you can actually reprogram your own thought patterns by slipping in positive and success-oriented sound bites.
This is why motivational activities, such as reading inspirational quotes, are so impactful for people committed to positive thinking. By focusing your thoughts on uplifting ideas, your subconscious will begin to implement a positive pattern in your way of thinking and your outlook on life.
Your subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind.
Just as your conscious mind can be thought of as the gardener, planting seeds, your subconscious mind can be thought of as the garden, or fertile soil, in which the seeds germinate and grow.
This is another reason why harnessing the power of positive thinking is important to the foundation of your entire thought process.
Your conscious mind commands and your subconscious mind obeys.
Your subconscious mind is an unquestioning servant that works day and night to make your behavior fits a pattern consistent with your emotionalized thoughts, hopes, and desires. Your subconscious mind grows either flowers or weeds in the garden of your life, whichever you plant by the mental equivalents you create.
Your subconscious mind has what is called a homeostatic impulse. It keeps your body temperature at 98.
6 degrees Fahrenheit, just as it keeps you breathing regularly and keeps your heart beating at a certain rate.
Through your autonomic nervous system, it maintains a balance among the hundreds of chemicals in your billions of cells so that your entire physical machine functions in complete harmony most of the time.
Your subconscious mind also practices homeostasis in your mental realm, by keeping you thinking and acting in a manner consistent with what you have done and said in the past.
All your habits of thinking and acting are stored in your subconscious mind. It has memorized all your comfort zones and it works to keep you in them. This is why it’s so important to make writing SMART goals a regular habit. After time, staying productive and focusing on all of your goals will become part of your comfort zone.
Your subconscious mind causes you to feel emotionally and physically uncomfortable whenever you attempt to do anything new or different or to change any of your established patterns of behavior.
The sense of fear and discomfort are psychological signs that your subconscious has been activated.
But it’s been working to establish those behavior patterns in the background long before you’ll ever notice such feelings.
The tendency to commit to these patterns is one reason why habits can be so hard to break. However, when you learn to purposefully create such patterns, you can harness the power of habit and purposefully instill new comfort zones to which your subconscious will adapt.
You can feel your subconscious pulling you back toward your comfort zone each time you try something new. Even thinking about doing something different from what you’re accustomed to will make you feel tense and uneasy.
This is why time management tips may be tougher to implement at first, but once they become habit or routine they will stay in your comfort zone. In doing so, you’ve reprogrammed your subconscious to work in your favor.
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
We think that we’re in control. We believe that our conscious mind directs our thoughts and somehow controls our subconscious mind. We’re wrong.
In Richard Restak’s The Brain Has a Mind of Its Own:
At the moment of decision we all feel we are acting freely, selecting at will from an infinity of choices. Yet research suggests this sense of freedom may be merely an illusory by-product of the way the human brain operates.
Restak gives the example of reading this essay. You scan the title and a few sentences here and there and eventually make a decision to stop reading or read on. You might then go back to the beginning and start reading, or you might start reading wherever it was in the article when you decided to stop skimming.
“The internal sequence,” Restak writes, “was always thought to be: 1. you make a conscious decision to read; 2. that decision triggers your brain into action; 3. your brain then signals the hands to stop turning pages, focuses the eyes on the paragraph, and so on.”
But this isn’t what happens at all. “An inexplicable but plainly measurable burst of activity occurs in your brain prior to your conscious desire to act.”
The subconscious mind controls a lot of what we think and the connections we make. And, of course, our thoughts influence what we do.
In The Thinker’s Toolkit, Morgan Jones recalls the story found in David Kahn’s The Codebreakers.
Breaking codes in World War II was perhaps the largest big data project ever to happen in the world up until that point. The conscious mind could only do so much. One German cryptanalyst recalled, “You must concentrate almost in a nervous trace when working on a code. It is not often done by conscious effort. The solution often seems to crop up from the subconscious.”
Believing that the conscious mind calls the shots prevents us from understanding ourselves, others, and how to make better decisions to name but a few things.
In Plain Talk, Ken Iverson offers some insight on how to turn these thoughts into practical utility.
“Every manager,” he writes “should be something of a psychologist—what makes people tick, what they want, what they need. And much of what people want and need resides in the subconscious. The job of a manager is to help the people accomplish extraordinary things. And that means shaping a work environment that stimulates people to explore their own potential.”
We place too much emphasis on the conscious mind and not enough on the subconscious one.
Subconscious Training English Skills
In the first part of this article, I described the deficiencies of 'total immersion' and 'comprehensible input,' and why these methods cannot be recommended for acquiring fluency in English by digital learners.
In the second part of this article, I describe the new method of 'subconscious training English skills,' and why it is the winner among the known methods of learning English.
Should Teachers Be Replaced By Digital Programs?
The science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke memorably stated that “any teacher who can be replaced by a machine should be.” Let's elaborate on this statement from a different perspective.
The modern mobile application for subconscious training English skills can provide a language training environment that no teacher or even a linguist can create.
Does it mean that the English teachers should be replaced by mobile application? Of course not! It means that the current role of teachers should be changed, and they should be turned into language trainers or coaches who help learners in their self-training in the classroom using mobile applications.
This new approach maximizes benefits because the mobile application can be used for learning just 'right ' in the classroom and after the class is over. Thus, the learners start speaking English fluently much faster because they use a subconscious process that is 500,000 times faster than conscious learning.
Subconscious Training Combines A Multitude Of New Processes
The method of subconscious training English skills combines a multitude of new processes which were never used for learning languages before:
- Special drills for activating right brain processing.
- Priming implicit memory that results in “retention without remembering.”
- Comprehensible multimedia input.
- Simultaneous repetition
Reading the text, listening to the recording by native speakers and speaking concurrently.
- All texts are comprehensible due to the built-in contextual translation organized to eliminate the innate habit of cross-translating in the head.
- Self-testing of active vocabulary is built-in the application with diagnostic feedback measuring learners' fluency.
- Learners add lessons of their own choice by copying any text and using the high-quality text-to-speech program for simultaneous repetition.
Special Drills For Activating Right Brain Processing
Learning Just 'Right' – the word 'right' in this phrase has two meanings: (a) correct or in optimal form and (b) activating right-hemisphere of the brain.
When we complement left-directed thinking with right-directed intuitive processing we create a whole new mind that will be capable of subconscious training language skills.
Our language schools traditionally are engaged mostly in left brain (logical) conscious learning with appalling forgetting curve.
Each lesson in subconscious training starts with observing a Word Cloud in colored 3D fonts and spatially located in various directions.
This drill activates the right hemisphere of the brain that is responsible for language acquisition.
Each Word Cloud has a dynamic content: each time a learner opens the mobile application a different set of words from the current lesson is displayed, and different relaxing music is played.
Priming Implicit Memory
Priming implicit memory consists of observing a Word Cloud graphically formatted in colored 3D fonts in 3D space for about 60 seconds while listening to relaxing music.
Priming implicit memory sets the stage for learners to start the subconscious training English skills by invoking “retention without remembering.
” Implicit memory is a type of memory in which previous experiences aid in the performance of a task without conscious awareness of these experiences.
Evidence for implicit memory arises in priming: a process whereby adult learners show improved performance on tasks for which they have been subconsciously prepared; in this case, by observing Words Cloud and listening to relaxing music they improve retention of new words from the lesson. Visual priming works best when the learner observes the visual signals in a state of relaxation.
Comprehensible Multimedia Input
One of the main tools in subconscious training English skills is comprehensible multimedia input. Let’s define each word in this new concept:
It contains a new type of support in the native language that makes all lessons and drills understandable by providing contextual translation for a very limited time, sufficient for visualization the story and eliminating the cross-translation habit of adult learners.
Reading the text, listening to the recording, speaking, and recording of the learner’s speech is built-in the application. Multimedia support utilizes all senses concurrently and ensures a subconscious process of training because it is not possible to perform three actions simultaneously and to keep conscious control of the learning process.
Each lesson contains pre-recorded lessons and drills on various topics, and text added by the learner or the teacher. Each lesson of the Input ends with an inspiring poem since we know that the fastest are the learners who are emotionally involved in the process. Most importantly, the mobile application requires simultaneous repetition to ensure subconscious training. It has unlimited possibilities of creating authentic new lessons with much higher acquisition efficiency than 'total immersion' or 'comprehensible input.'
Keep in mind that according to this definition, many popular learning options such as video lessons, conversations with native speakers, online learning or such programs as Duolingo, Babbel, etc., DO NOT belong to comprehensible multimedia input.
Comprehensible multimedia input is always brought to the learners via a smartphone, the ubiquitous device that all generations of English learners use daily for many hours. In the comprehensible multimedia input, there is no place for passive listening or reading or watching.
You need more Input, not more speaking practice. More speaking will not improve your vocabulary and grammar; actually, it can make things worse. According to Krashen, talking (output) is not practicing or experiencing English.
Comprehensible multimedia input combines output (speaking) with multimedia input and ensures subconscious training of English skills.
Simultaneous repetition allows all students in the classroom to perform three actions at the same time: reading the text, listening to the recording and speaking simultaneously using earphones and working on the lessons provided by the mobile application.
In subconscious training, learners speak 5-10 times more than in a traditional classroom or in Total Immersion because the output (speaking) takes place concurrently with the input (lesson text is displayed while a recording of the text by native speakers is played).
In cases when the lessons are created by the student or teacher, the learners are reading, listening and speaking (output) by imitating the natural-sounding text-to-speech program.
Contextual Translation Makes All Texts Comprehensible
When the learner taps on any English word of the lesson in the mobile application, a window appears on the display with a context-specific translation (only one meaning according to the context) into the native language.
If the learner selects as the individual word “work,” for example, an answer bar will display not all 22 translations of this word, as is the case in Mandarin, but only one context-specific translation of this word that actually fits the context of the lesson text.
It is believed that context-specific translations may resolve the problem of cross-translation into the native language that most adult learners perform subconsciously. Hearing the word in English and seeing its context-specific translation helps to form a direct link between the English word and its image or action which it describes.
Self-Testing Of Active Vocabulary
Learners take a self-test of active vocabulary after they complete each lesson, putting on earphones with a microphone and saying a few sentences on any topic from their experience prompted by the word that drops down randomly from a Word Cloud.
Learners use earphones with a microphone for both self-training and guided learning to ensure high audio quality during simultaneous repetition and testing. The learner’s speech is automatically recorded and used for evaluating fluency and giving diagnostic feedback.
The learner can share the recording via social networking or by attaching it to an email to the teacher in the case of blended learning.
Testing active vocabulary provides gamification elements and keeps the learners engaged. Responding quickly during tests helps learners develop the habit of automatic speech by pushing them to think in English.
Adding New Lessons To Mobile Application
The mobile application allows learners or teachers to create their own lessons by copying and pasting (or manually entering) text using the high quality, natural-sounding text-to-speech program to perform simultaneous repetition of the new material.
This feature could be used to assign or post homework or help job-seekers prepare for interviews or create professional presentations.
This feature of adding new lessons could be used for vocational training or to adjust the application for general English to special English in various industries.
Special English Or Globish
For every native speaker, there are three non-native speakers.
It is natural and obvious that English as the language of global communication differs from standard English by its limited vocabulary (1500 – 2000 words), reduced speed of speech (about ⅔ of the speed of a native speaker), and simplified grammar that is closer to intuitive grammar than to formal grammar.
Some call this global language Special English, others prefer the term 'Globish.' Whatever term you use, remember that it is not an objective; it is a practical result of the current situation when 75% of global communications in English are carried out by non-native speakers.