What happens when we die? What is our purpose on this planet? What is consciousness, time, space, the universe?
Your subconscious mind may have the answer to that. It may also be able to solve real-life issues in the fastest, most practical, most efficient way.
So whether you are a dreamer, a curious philosopher, or simply a life hacker — you can tap into the power of your subconscious and get (almost) all the answers you look for.
Ever worked on a problem for a while and found that the rational, logical mind just wouldn’t find a solution, at least not one that was acceptable to you?
And then all of a sudden saw a brilliant idea that literally appeared out of nowhere? If it wasn’t the conscious mind, then where did the idea come from?
Power of the subconscious mind
Throughout the centuries, philosophers and mystics have argued that there is a separate world, or reality, in which everything already exists.
According to this theory, then, the material (tangible) world would be nothing but a temporary, ever-changing manifestation of the infinite (intangible) world of ideas.
Plato in particular was fascinated by this concept and was one of the first philosophers to actually study it and offer proof of it.
Plato thought that the only “real” world is the world of ideas, or forms, which is separate from the ever-changing world we experience as human beings.
However, the immense power of our mind lies in the fact that the mind is able to connect to that infinite world of ideas, at will or subconsciously, and “manifest” those in the physical realm.
I’m sure Plato had no notion of manifestation, the law of attraction, or any of that — it’s just interesting to see how some New Age concepts are similar to 2,500 year-old philosophy.
Answers from a different world
The trick, then, is to develop the ability to connect to that world of ideas and solutions, for example through imagination, creativity, and visualization.
However, the conscious mind can only imagine certain things — it is limited to the five senses and pre-existing notions and ideas, as well as the concept of what is possible or impossible.
Eventually, the conscious loosens its grip and lets go of control, and the heart gets to speak. This is usually when the magic happens, when genius is born.
Meditation, lucid dreaming, long walks in nature, daydreaming, or even just your own intuitions when you are about to fall asleep. What do all these have in common?
Primarily, relaxation — that is, the act of silencing the rational mind and its need to be in control, so that a more mysterious (but equally resourceful) part of you can arise.
In other words, so that the conscious mind can fall asleep and allow the subconscious mind to do the work undisturbed.
It’s not easy, though. The logical mind generally doesn’t like to let go — it sees letting go as a threat. This is why conscious and subconscious often conflict with each other.
How to get answers from the subconscious mind
By taking the time to cultivate some or all of the following practices, you will develop the habit of tapping into your subconscious.
The more often you do this, the bigger the changes in your life — both in terms of problem solving and a better life overall (better physical and mental health).
To get answers from the subconscious part of you…
1. Try energy therapy
For example, flower essences, reiki, crystals, or sound baths. Don’t automatically assume they don’t work because they can literally change your life (nothing is ever guaranteed and what works for others may not work for you, obviously).
Flower essences in particular are thought to affect the subconscious mind in such a way that your behavior, thoughts, and outlook on life changes and guides you toward the best version of yourself and the best solutions to your current issues.
2. Use drawings and symbols
Let’s go back to Plato’s theory of forms and the idea that the intangible world of ideas creates the material world, and not the other way around. To connect to that world, you want to use its own symbols.
That is, images that are as close as possible to the original idea. For example, if you want freedom of success, let go of the words “freedom” and “success” because they are artificial. Instead, visualize, draw, and focus on their symbols e.g. a clear sky or a mountaintop.
3. Remove all distractions
Easier said than done — can you turn off your smartphone, sit alone in silence, and actually do nothing in particular? But once you remove all distractions, you may be amazed at what your subconscious mind can come up with.
Essentially, by removing mindless distractions you preserve energy in your mind; the mind’s energy turns inward because it no longer finds external distractions. You’ve probably experienced this more than once when you are about to fall asleep at night.
4. Record your dreams
Among all phenomena that are deemed pseudoscience, precognitive dreams have to be the most undeniable. Precognitive dreams are, in Jung’s words, a type of synchronicity that we all experience from time to time. And the more we pay attention, the more we notice it.
However, dreams don’t have to be precognitions to be valuable. The world of your dreams is like a fascinating amalgam of elements from past and future, and real and imaginary — once you record them, e.g. in a journal, you will be amazed at the things dreams show you.
5. Spend time in nature
As human beings, we seem to perform better when we spend time in our natural environment. Not necessarily in terms of physical work, but more in terms of imagination, problem solving, creativity, and anything that has to do with the subconscious.
The fifth way to allow your subconscious to guide you is to simply spend time in nature — go for long walks, stargaze, observe the natural world around you and its details and what they communicate. As Rumi wrote: “there is a voice that doesn’t use words”.
6. Let go of limiting beliefs
Often, solutions or ideas offered by the subconscious mind are totally obvious. The issue is simply the conscious mind and its tendency to fall into the trap of limiting beliefs, societal expectations, or assumptions in terms of possible and impossible.
So whenever you catch yourself thinking that something is “too good to be true”, or “possible only in theory”, or even “wrong”, do think twice because sometimes these words aren’t yours, but society’s, and society isn’t always right.
7. Pretend to be someone else
Here’s another interesting exercise — identify a character that’s the embodiment of the life you want to live, e.g. a life in which all your current problems no longer exist and you get to realize your full potential, physically and emotionally.
Literally live and act “as if”, at first as an exercise, later subconsciously. After a while, the subconscious will surrender and assume you are that character. Tip: try not to think of someone else — just a different version of yourself.
8. Write down the question
If you were to actively record and write down all your thoughts, in order, you would find that your mind is a very messy place. In any given hour, you may experience hundreds of thoughts in the form of memories, ideas, images, or even pure randomness and chaos.
The trick is to force the mind to pay attention to only some of your thoughts. This actually works for both the conscious and the subconscious. The easiest way to do this is to write down what you want, as specifically and accurately as possible.
9. Notice everything around you
When given a task, the subconscious mind will work 24/7. The conscious may take a break when you sleep, daydream, or relax, but the subconscious won’t stop. This is why the function of your heart, lungs, or other organs is controlled by the subconscious.
Because the subconscious is always at work, it uses any thoughts and images you feed it. Pay attention to things around you; notice all the subtle details. Ask: why did this happen, and how? See how things are interconnected.
What comes after is always linked by a tie or affinity to what came before (…). And as existing realities are harmoniously co-ordinated, so also things coming into being display no mere succession but a wonderful interrelationship.Marcus Aurelius
10. Forget about the question
What is it that you are trying to find a solution, or an answer for? What issue or question do you keep dwelling on? The tenth way to make your subconscious mind work for you is, paradoxically, to forget about the question in the first place.
Why? Because chances are the question comes with a significant amount of tension and stress. We’ve already seen how meditative states of relaxation can make the subconscious emerge. Remove the question, remove the stress, allow relaxation. Which leads us to number 11…
11. Take time off and travel
Seriously, if anything else fails, just take a break, and enjoy life. All kinds of good things happen to people when they are on holiday, especially if somewhere new; not just physically but mentally as well.
The main reason we feel refreshed and full of energy after a holiday isn’t physical relaxation but rather a different perspective. During our holiday or time off, we (subconsciously) experience the world from a different perspective. In turn, that gives us the power to be “new”.
Some of the most mind-blowing scientific discoveries as well as some of the most wonderful works of art came to man suddenly, out of nowhere; many artists and scientists including Einstein could not explain why they thought what they thought.
Guess what — the same can happen to you if you allow your mind to do the work for you. You may not discover the relativity of space and time, or paint portraits as sublime and mysterious as the Mona Lisa.
But you’ll discover very interesting things. Most importantly, you’ll discover your own answers to your own questions. Alone.
You don’t need to read a thousand books. You don’t need to ask anyone else. Your mind is the most complex machine in the universe — use it. And trust it.