In his book, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles, Dr. Bruce Lipton explains that 95% of our daily cognitive activities and decisions are managed by our subconscious minds, meaning that only 5% are managed by our conscious minds. One reason is because the prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain dedicated to attention and conscious awareness, is only a small part of our brain, which can process only a limited amount of information. Translated into data, it can process the equivalent of 40 bits/second, while the subconscious mind can process 40 millions bits/second. Quantitatively, the subconscious is one million times more powerful!
And the subconscious mind is mostly formed during the first six years of life, whereas the development of the prefrontal cortex is not complete until the age of twenty-five. The subconscious mind acts like a hard disk, downloading all the information we absorb from around us. This process is dependent to a large extent on external circumstances. Actually, at that young age there is no faculty to discriminate, as the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed. Therefore, aware or not, willing or not, good or bad, whatever comes is recorded. And the information we receive in that stage of super learning determines our belief system. This becomes the basis of the subconscious mind or the operating system from which our conscious mind operates.
Dr. Lipton invites us to do the mathematics:
So to be consciously positive is not very powerful, because the subconscious mind can always control or sabotage our intentions.
Even when we consciously have a positive thought, like “I want to be healthy, successful, happy,and have a fulfilling relationship,” who is really pulling the strings? The subconscious mind.
What if our early childhood environment was not positive? What if we were told, “Don’t do this,” “Don’t do that,” “You don’t deserve it, you are not good enough,” and these are now our subconscious beliefs?
And, do you want to live a life governed by a subconscious mind that was mostly built during the first six to seven years of life, and was deeply influenced by external circumstances?
To add fuel to the fire, we are wired to be negative, as we explored in “Are Your Thoughts Your Friends?” Negativity sticks to the brain, while positivity flows like water through the brain. The amygdala, which plays a key role in our defense system, is primed to label experiences negatively. It takes five positive experiences to undo a negative one. People will do more to avoid loss than receive gain. We update our appraisal with information that confirms these negative experiences. We ignore, devalue, or alter information.
On top of this, our modern environment is becoming ever more stressful and violent. There is an increasing exposure to violence through multimedia. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that by the age of 18 the average young person will have viewed around200,000 acts of violence on television – clearly not so supportive for building a positive subconscious mind!
In his book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?, Dr. Raj Raghunathan found that 60 to 70% of his students’ spontaneous thoughts were negative, even though 60 to 75% of them expected their thoughts to be positive!
On average, we have 70,000 thoughts a day. If 70% of them are negative, that means one negative thought every 2 seconds! Would that not affect our consciousness,decisions, and the ways we interact with other people?
We can all ponder over our childhood.Whether or not we were lucky enough to have a positive joyful childhood,we can all learn how to bring about positive deep inner transformation.
Returning to Dr. Lipton, he fortunately mentions some ways to remodel our subconscious mind:
He also highlights the effectiveness of bedtime meditation as prescribed in the Heartfulness practices. Just before sleeping, we naturally access our subconscious mind. By meditating on the heart, we immerse ourselves in heartful meditative states, inviting our subconscious mind to absorb the feelings and qualities of the heart – love, compassion, courage, tolerance, respect, appreciation, generosity, kindness, patience, etc. – and this continues throughout the night while we sleep. We give ourselves a chance to enrich our subconscious mind with values and beliefs that support conscious positive thoughts.
If you sleep eight hours a day in a life of 80 years, that is 26 years of sleep! The practice of bedtime meditation will utilize that time to enrich the mind to your best advantage and well-being!
To put it a different way, if you want authentic conscious living, be happy, joyous, and positive. Make your subconscious mind your friend!