Have you ever wanted to change something about your life but found that despite your best intentions you kept on doing the same thing? Maybe you wanted to get more exercise .... or be more loving .... or to change what and how you eat. And somehow you 'forgot' to go to the gym, or reacted instantly to that other person's behavior with anger.... and ate that whole bag of chips. Change can be really challenging when different parts of us have different agendas, and that is often the case when we find we cannot make desired changes on our own.
Our conscious intention is a small part of our thinking process. The unconscious mind is the power beneath the surface and in many way acts like an auto pilot program. Which is mostly a good thing or we might spend a little too much time every day rethinking how we tie our shoelaces, how to make coffee, where to place our fingers on the piano keys. To take a look at how this process operates, think about learning something that you now do effortlessly, driving a car for example. In the beginning you probably broke it down to small pieces, learned and practiced each part, then put it all together and then when you were ready, let it go into the unconscious so you could focus your conscious attention on looking where you were going while you were driving. Oh, and then you sold that car and bought a stick shift so you had to bring back to consciousness the 'how to' of stopping and changing gears to add the clutch action, and then it went back to auto pilot mode. Pretty simple stuff, at least when it involves your car.
It gets a little trickier when core beliefs about ourselves that reside in the unconscious are in conflict with our stated intentions. If there are two conversations going at the same time, one arguing for the status quo and the other pushing for change, we can find ourselves at a stalemate. When I decide I want to change my career, but my unconscious mind believes it is not safe to let go of my present job in this economy, I may find myself sabotaging my best efforts by missing deadlines for class enrollment or being late for job interviews. Or if I don't believe I deserve to be prosperous, I may unconsciously create ways to incur debt or to resist receiving the money that comes my way. I may very much want to be in a loving relationship, but if I hold the belief that it is not safe to be vulnerable I may avoid letting anyone close enough or will choose partners who prove me right in my belief that it is not safe.
It is usually the relationship between the unconscious and conscious minds that needs realignment for us to achieve our desired goals. Two simple and basic ways to do this are 1.) inhibition and redirection approaches and 2.) the energy psychologies. You use inhibition and redirection when you learn how to change from a stick shift car to an automatic one. Cognitive behavioral therapies and stress reduction programs are often based on these principles. It is basically a 'stop that, do this instead' format that uses awareness, consciousness, and action, and often coaching or tutoring helps to make significant progress. Guitar or horseback riding lessons are great examples of how this operates. I've used hypnosis to successfully implement inhibition and redirection approaches in the unconscious, so hypnosis can sometimes be included in this category as well, even though it overlaps with the energy psychologies in many ways.
The energy psychologies approach change from a different angle and do not require the same level of cognitive involvement and conscious action. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) will sometimes bring unconscious beliefs to conscious awareness during the experience of tapping on specific points on the face and upper body, often in an 'ah ha' epiphany. Other times the inner change occurs without conscious awareness that anything has happened. Some methods, like Tappas Acupressure Technique (TAT), work beneath the surface of consciousness, and are therefore especially good for people suffering from the aftereffects of trauma as they do not need to revisit the specific wounds. Psych K, another energy approach, has been described as learning "to rewrite the software of your unconscious mind" and the use of computer analogy is probably a good way to look at the operations of our minds. A special quality of these energy techniques, as with computer software, is that you can learn with specialized training how to do it yourself or you can have a professional 'technician' rewrite the program..... and it works either way.
This is simply an overview of two approaches to encourage positive changes into your life. There are, of course, many other ways that reorganization occurs, and people have individual preferences as to how they best learn and change. Bringing your conscious and unconscious minds into a collaborative relationship rather than an oppositional one is a powerful facilitator for creating more of what we want. Making desired changes is easier now with the advent of energy psychologies and they can also be used in conjunction with more traditional approaches.
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