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Wednesday, July 25, 2007



Some years ago I wrote in my book How to Benefit from Stress some aspects about the differences between the conscious and subconscious mind. Although these two separate but intertwined aspects of our mind coexist within our brain, they can interact in ways most individuals do not appreciate. When I say conscious and subconscious mind I could just as easily say conscious and subconscious minds with emphasis on whether it is singular or plural.

Although we can look at these two entities as quite different, they are both different but yet the same. This might sound as mysterious as discussing the Trinity of The Deity with three Gods in One as Christians believe. Both are mysteries. I am not so smart as to know how to explain the Trinity of The Deity, but I will be bold and try to explain the two separate but one aspect of our minds.

As we explore the functioning of the brain and mind we must first define some terms. This is what I was taught in Philosophy and is would seem appropriate to begin this way. First, the brain is that physical part of our body in which the mind operates. The brain must be healthy for the brain to function properly, just as the hardware of a physical computer must be sound for the software programs to function. If there is a defect in the hardware, perhaps the hard drive or other part of the physical computer, the software programs will not function. And, so it is with the brain and its software which functions as the mind.

Second, the mind is that that ethereal entity which can best be described using the analogy of the computer as the software programming which depends, of course, upon the physical brain to function. As the brain can be seen as matter, the mind is energy.

We now know that thought can be the result of chemical reactions occurring within the brain. There are other chemicals, such as drugs which can severely interfere with the brain=s capacity to function properly to produce thought. Thinking is what the brain/mind complex is supposed to do. In order to produce thoughts and ideas which are real or can be transformed into real things, the brain must be sound and functioning. When the brain/mind creates meaningful thought, it is good. It is not so good when the brain/mind does not function properly.

Abnormal thinking can be quite destructive. If a person on LSD believes he can fly, try to fly and see how unreal and destructive that will be. Many, especially during the ‘60’s and ‘70’s when such drugs were popular, have succumbed to such a fate. So our thoughts must in a way reflect what can actually be in the physical reality. For it is with our minds that we create many aspects of our physical reality. Just thinks of our inventions of the automobile, airplanes, computers, cell phones, etc. These physical items once and initially existed as thoughts in an inventor=s mind. From the thought, the physical reality of the invention was created.

So here we are with a normal functioning brain capable of creating normal thought. And now we need to consider normalcy of the software and to insure that viruses do not exist which might interfere with the functioning of the software.

Under normal circumstances the conscious mind, mostly known to be situated in the cerebrum, the outer most part referred to as the grey matter controls most of what we do, especially when we are awake. With our conscious mind we decide to take control of the physical body. We decide to take a step and our body moves forward. We drive our car to the store to shop. Almost every aspect of movement of our physical body is controlled in some way by our conscious thinking. But as we are doing this our subconscious mind is working along with our conscious mind to make things happen. We decide to take a step which might have been initiated by the conscious mind, but the functioning of the subconscious mind takes over so we can automatically walk in a way without thinking. Yes, without the constant input of out conscious mind, our subconscious mind allows up to continue walking down the street almost effortlessly. By golly, we can walk and chew gum at the same time! Why? Because the conscious and subconscious minds are functioning in unison.

So while we are awake we can exert control over some aspects of the activity of our subconscious mind.

But there are other aspects of our subconscious mind over which we have little or no control, and thank God we don=t. These are the fully automatic beating of our heart, breathing, the gut functions of digestion and assimilation, movement of our eyes, etc. These functions are centered in another aspect of our physical brain, the so-called brain stem, the cerebellum, and limbic system of software. We can at times and with considerable training influence and control some of these automatic functions. An example would be the control over breathing some Yogis can accomplish through feats of intense meditation.

Also using our conscious mind we can voluntarily through hypnosis enter the subconscious state and prevent our body from experiencing pain. But these are extraordinary accomplishments not within our discussion today.

The main aspect of my discussion today regarding the relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind as it relates to behavior. Our behavior can be a function of our conscious mind when we decide to say to someone: AI like or love you@ or casual discussion in the office or at a bar after work. We might open the door for a lady, if that is still done these days. We can decide to talk with our boss to ask for a raise. Many daily behavior functions we decide to do can be mainly from conscious activity or , at least, initiated consciously.

Concentrating on the phrase AI love you,@ do you really? Wouldn=t you really like to know? Would the person to whom you are speaking really like to know? Or how about AI like my job.@ Do you really? Or do you deep inside, yes at the subconscious level B a level where you may not consciously be aware yourself B hate your job and coworkers and one day you will come in and kill others in your office and then yourself? If I was one of your coworkers, I would really like to know.

Eventually, it will be my purpose in this book to give you and the people around you the keys to discover what is really within the depths of your mind, for you and they would and should really like to know!

nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.


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