We overlook the power of the subconscious mind and memory in our day-to-day lives. Memories can be tools for unlocking the subconscious mind and developing our full potential.
Where do our memories reside? We can measure when and how we access this information deep in the brain. They may not reside in the synapsis of our neurons in the brain. Memory is the subconscious mind’s job, but where is the subconscious?
Our mind is greater than the confines of the grey matter between our ears. We may not know exactly where they live, but we know they are powerful and how to access them. (1)
“Our lives are a diverse collection of memories. The subconscious mind and memory are powerful forces which can make us prisoners of the past, or fuel innovations for living a more fulfilling present and future.” ― Guru Tua
Subconscious Mind Exercises
Memory is comprised of two distinct systems, conscious and unconscious memory. Conscious recollection is accessing data like ideas, sounds, images, sensations, words, etc. Unconscious memories are preferences of personality and instincts, these are not readily accessible on a conscious level, but they influence almost every aspect of thinking. (2)
The subconscious mind links both conscious and unconscious memory. So, memories are not static but a complex mixture of things. Memories link us to past events, dreams, and imagination, overlapping and fusing together. It is sometimes hard to distinguish one element from another. We can use specific processes for subconscious mind reprogramming to adjust the content and emotional impact. Let’s look at how and why this is an intelligent thing to do.
There are two ways we can reprogram the mind, we can do it intentionally, or others can do it without our permission or knowledge. The latter is what religion does with groupthink propaganda in the form of group and self-hypnosis. The more you expose yourself to this harmful programming, the more distorted everything becomes. It alters our recollection of events and taints the value of the present.
We want to talk about ways to reprogram the mind intentionally that are positive and beneficial, not harmful. We want to do it to make life better. And, we can by investigating and deciphering the messages stored in our memories.
Exploring the Subconscious Mind and Memory
Exploring memories is about following the connections of our memories to find patterns and see if or how they connect to events. Something we “thought was a real memory” can turn out to be a scene from a movie or dream as easily as an event from our past. That’s how unlocking the subconscious mind can help us distinguish fact from individually crafted fiction.
Our memories are our identity. Exploring our memories is serious “inner work,” which can be stressful. You’ll likely discover how some memories are tainted by negative programming, dreams, or our imagination. For that reason, we recommend the following strategies when investigating and reprogramming them:
1) Take a break at least every 30 minutes to do an “emotional check-in. It will help you to make sure you are maintaining sufficient emotional equilibrium. If you dig up something unsettling in your quest, it’s okay to stop for as long as you need.
2) Incorporate self-care techniques after this exercise to help you normalize. It’s not uncommon for profound revelations to arise after the exercise is over.
3) Use a spiritual journal to take notes as you go. A good strategy is to write the main points and leave space to fill in more data later if you encounter upsetting, problematic typologies within the memories. Again, it’s common for more data to surface after the exercise.
Unlocking The Subconscious Mind and Memory
When we talk about unlocking the mind or memory, we are referring to the meaning attached to these internal movies.
For example, let’s say you have a reoccurring nightmare of falling off a cliff. We want to unlock the reasons and symbolism of the dream. The nightmare symbolizes a past traumatic event that “makes you feel” like you are falling. Now, we know the subconscious is trying to communicate this message, and it’s time to deal with the incident.
Memories are often anchors holding us hostage to the past. Memories can color the value of life and relationships. They can be tools for positive change, or they can keep us prisoner. If we recognize their power, we can use them to improve our lives.
Tools For Subconscious Mind Reprogramming
We can spend much of our precious time in places other than the present moment. Don’t let memories hold you hostage. Here are the steps:
1) Identify your emotional triggers. First, find significant memories, those that are potent emotional triggers. You will discover these hot buttons using The Repeating Question tool and the Enneagram Personality Profile.
2) Break the chain of bad memories. Second, break the links between negative or positive memories, and turn down the emotional volume. You will need to reprogram your inner critic self-talk to break them. The Enneagram of Personality is one of the best tools for finding this negative programming and changing the thought process. We’ll give an example of how this works below.
3) Turn up the volume of positive memories. Finally, turn up the positive memories’ volume and turn down the intensity of the negative. Affirmations are the best tool for this last step.
Don’t skip steps. Don’t try to turn up the volume of positive memories without dealing with the negative first. Negative memories often contain the most potent negative emotions like guilt, fear, and anger. So, you need to break the link for negative triggers and turn down the emotional volume. Then you can proceed with subconscious mind reprogramming of the positive memories.
Understanding the Subconscious Mind and Memory
In addition to those specific for traversing memories, there are several spiritual technologies for making positive changes. Fact is, any mental technique which expands awareness, observational, and analytical skills will help you grow.
Memory is Fluid
The first important thing to realize is that memories aren’t accurate. Some people think that a memory is an exact picture of a previous event, but this isn’t true. Our memory is infused with emotion and shaped by our imagination. Our dreams are a part of imagination but can overlay into memories. New experiences can also alter our memories.
Both the subconscious mind and memory change depending on our health and new experiences. The fluidity of these elements is something we can use to our advantage.
“Every time” we access a memory, we are changing it to some degree. We can turn up or turn down the emotional volume. We can clarify or blur the memory. We can expand it to include more of the timeline or new variations. It sounds a bit like Rod Serling’s introduction to the Twilight Zone, doesn’t it? But, it’s true.
The important thing here is to realize we can modify memories to help us heal. It is especially true for memories of traumatic events. Our dreams about past events can also change our memories. Our memory is very fluid.
Sigmund Freud built his theory of psychotherapy around our dreams and memory. He understood that these could be tools for positive change if we learn to use them correctly.
The Emotional Check-In Process
Inner work depends on critical thinking skills. To keep on track, we need to maintain control of our emotions. It isn’t easy when you dig up memories with high emotional impact. So, stopping to assess your feelings is paramount to your success.
For subconscious mind reprogramming to work, you need to think as clearly as possible. When you are doing this work, time passes quickly. If you are doing this inner work solo, set a kitchen timer. We recommend intervals of no more than 30 minutes but strongly recommend 15 minutes when doing this exercise the first few times.
You’ll be glad you use this process. It will save you a lot of time in the long run, and it will help you avoid letting things get out of control.
The Enneagram Personality Profile is a powerful system that describes the mechanisms of personality and instinct. It’s a powerful set of conscious and subconscious mind exercises that can unlock a deep reservoir of knowledge. How can the Enneagram help us explore the power of memories? Good question.
Once you identify your personality and instinctual stack, you can reference a good book on these typologies (3). It will spell out the thought processes for each personality type and what they degenerate into as they become increasingly unhealthy.
You can look up the most common internal messages your Ego and instincts reinforce. If you’re like most people, this will confirm their default personality type is correctly identified because they’ll see the internal dialogue spelled out. It’s crucial to be mindful of the thought processes we get when we are disintegrating to more unhealthy levels. It’s where the Ego likes to keep us maintain control.
The Repeating Question
Repetitive questioning gives a direct way to access deep memories. You can use it to unlock the subconscious mind without much effort. It’s the backbone of the tools for positive change. It’s a powerful universal technique that you can use with other inner work processes.
If you can, we recommend working with a partner. But you can do this solo. If you do it independently, use a timer, and record your answers in your spiritual journal.
Repetitive questioning gets below the superficial automatic responses to the core thinking and values. Ideally, you work with a partner who asks and times the session. When done independently, it’s best to say the question out loud. The two ground rules are to remain non-judgmental and maintain total confidentiality.
You do this for 5 minutes using one question. It seems like a long time. However, once you get started, the time goes quickly. Initially, you’ll pull up the most convenient answers the Ego has to offer. Asking the same question gets below simple answers.
- Be honest
- When the question is asked, think of a new answer.
- It’s best to work with someone you don’t know well.
If you do this exercise solo, we recommend doing at least four sessions of 5 minutes each. Use a timer to stop the session after 5 minutes to make notes. Then continue with the exercise 3 or 4 more times. Sometimes you’ll spend as much time writing after the session as you do in the session.
Suggested Questions for Exploring Memories
It’s a good idea to explore positive memories rather than negative ones. After exploring at least ten positive memories, you can direct your attention to those more negatively charged.
Here is the list of positive repeating questions; replace “negative” for positive when you do the second round:
- Tell me about a childhood memory that makes you happy?
- What is the oldest positive memory of your childhood? How does it make you feel?
- Tell me about a significant memory you associate with love.
- What childhood brings you joy?
- Tell me about a positive memory you associate with being outdoors in nature?
- What positive memory do you associate with family?
Whether you work alone or with a partner, take time after the sessions to go over your notes. You’ll likely find you have additional details and insight. You’ll end up with a memory inventory.
Some memories you’ve listed may be things you haven’t recalled in some time, at least on a conscious level. Some memories may be on more than one list. The power of memories will make more sense the more you explore them.
Unlock the Subconscious Mind and Break the Links
After completing a memory inventory, you may discover the same memory attached to negative and positive emotions. The power of memory lies in its ability to color our present reality—memory changes over time, especially when powerful emotions are connected. Changing the association with memory is key to breaking negative emotional links.
For example, you experience a joyful event like a marriage ceremony. Initially, it is a happy memory as you associate this event’s memories with love. Then you recall a memory from your past. You were married, but it didn’t work out. You felt betrayed. So, the memory of the marriage ceremony taints your experience of all marriage ceremonies.
If you want to change your experience, you must break the “link of negative association.” Breaking the link is a decision. It requires your desire to reduce or eliminate the event’s negative association. When you do this, it will mitigate its effect on our lives.
As with our example above, we will not erase the memory. We can, however, reduce the effect of the memory. We learned that we associate betrayal with the marriage ceremony and understand that it taints our view of all relationships. So, we mitigated the negative effect of our memory. It may take some time, but it is possible. The more inner work you do, the more progress you will make.
We “know” how the act of betrayal taints the ceremony of the relationship. We chose to remove this association. We can emotionally check in with ourselves as we attend other marriage ceremonies. Ask yourself how you feel. Check to see if the past negative association is still tainting the event. If the association still exists, we can consciously move it away from this responsible party.
The success of subconscious mind reprogramming depends upon your ability to diminish or remove the association with negative memories. You may need to go through the process a few times to change memories with heavy emotional baggage.
Adjusting the Volume Up or Down
The last step of the strategy to reshape and control our memories is “adjusting emotion.” It can also be the most effective. You have your inventory of memories and those associated with positive emotions. Now make these positive memories a part of your daily affirmations.
Turn up the volume on your positive memories by bringing them to the forefront of your awareness. Use keywords you can say aloud, which bring these positive memories into focus. It’s as simple as that. But it is a compelling way to use the power contained within our memories.
We also recommend the use of another powerful exercise for exploring memories. We use it in our introductory phase. It helps us expand our awareness and find what we value and fear.
Subconscious mind reprogramming can be a life-changing experience. The more you use these techniques, the more familiar you become with the subconscious. You will gain momentum, turning the power of memories to your advantage. It will increase your positive outlook on life. People with positive views tend to attract other positive people and situations.
(1) Memories may not be in the brain https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/memories-may-not-live-in-neurons-synapses/
(2) Conscious and Unconscious Memory https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4355270/ and Bergson HL 1910. Matter and memory (trans. Paul NM, Palmer WS). George Allen, London.
(3) The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types