Lately I’ve received some questions about the terms “unconscious” and “subconscious”. Students want to know what we are talking about when we talk about unconscious thoughts and beliefs. Unconscious thoughts and beliefs are thoughts and beliefs in your mind but out of your conscious awareness. We refer to them as being in your “subconscious”, or below your level of conscious awareness. You can only hold a limited amount of what is in your mind in your conscious awareness. The rest is in your subconscious.

Some of what is in your mind that you are not conscious of is there through your denial. These are thoughts and beliefs that you find frightening or painful. These include, but are not limited to, memories. Beyond specific memories there are beliefs that you have internalized and find too painful to look at, like the belief in intrinsic guilt, fear of a god outside of you that is going to punish you, unworthiness, the belief that you are “bad”, etc. Some people repress these thoughts more than others. Sometimes you are aware of these thoughts but not always aware of how deep they go in your subconscious and how they drive you. These are your “obstacles to peace”, the “darkness” in your mind that A Course in Miracles says you must bring up to “light”, or conscious awareness, to dispel.

When beliefs are integrated into your way of thinking they end up in your subconscious because there is no reason for you to hold them in your conscious mind. Not all of these are negative beliefs. Even helpful ones eventually end up in your subconscious as they are integrated.

Some thoughts occurring in your mind happen so fast that you are not conscious of them, nor do you need to be. Intuition works this way. Intuition is your mind making unconscious connections and seeing patterns so quickly that it results in you feeling immediately that you know something about someone, something, or an event. Connections (negative, fearful, guilty) made by the ego (personal thought system) may show up intuitively. Your mind may also make neutral intuitive connections that merely make an observation. And helpful communications from the Holy Spirit (awareness of Truth in your mind) may show up intuitively.

Your subconscious is not something outside of you that drives you. Nor is it a mysterious force within you. It only seems mysterious when you do not understand it. But when you understand that you have thoughts and beliefs in your mind of which you are not aware you can choose to become aware of them. When you say that you did something unconsciously it is an explanation, not an excuse, for dysfunctional behavior. You can take responsibility by becoming aware of what is going on in your subconscious so you are not blindly driven by it. You do this by being willing to know what is going on in your own mind. You can say to the Holy Spirit in your mind, “I am willing to see what thoughts I have hidden in my mind that caused this feeling/behavior/attitude.”

You were born into a state of consciousness that denies God (True Being). But Reality cannot be wholly denied. So beyond all of the thoughts and beliefs in your subconscious there is always God, whether or not you are consciously aware of God. Do not underestimate the ego’s (personal thought system’s) resistance to you looking into your subconscious. It is heavily invested in you not learning that God is in your mind. When you look into your mind and learn how it works the ego will be threatened. It will tell you that you will find horrible things if you look within your mind: You will find out how evil you really are. This is how it protects itself from you. But you can only fully take responsibility for yourself when you know what is going on in your mind. And you can only find God by looking into your mind.

You do not have to root out every thought and belief in your subconscious. Just deal with what comes up naturally and what you learn will eventually generalize and undo unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. All feelings are caused by thoughts and beliefs. So if you don’t like how you feel, and you are not consciously aware of the thoughts and beliefs that cause the feeling, willingly ask yourself what beliefs are in your subconscious. I guarantee that they are never so bad that you cannot deal with them. It is only their being hidden, and the ego’s fear of being undone, that makes them seem frightening. They are, in the end, only beliefs, not facts.

Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.


Peyara said…
Thank you Liz for this post. Is this the period of unsettling what A Course Of Miracles teaches? You said its uncomfortable. Please give an example of this stage. Love
ACIM Mentor said…
This article does not describe a stage, Peyara, but an aspect of your mind. From the beginning you need to be willing to find out what is in your own mind. The more you look at your subconscious thoughts and beliefs the less uncomfortable you will be.
Walter Dutchak said…
Hi-Thank you for clarifying these concepts. In the article you mention beliefs. I have wondered about this word and the word "faith" for quite a while and have arrived at the following understanding. Please tell me if there is a better way of comprehending those words. Belief: a fixed or conditioned way of thinking.
Faith: trust or confidence that does not arise from thinking.
Thank you. :)
ACIM Mentor said…
Walt, words are just symbols. So it's just a matter of semantics and connotations for you, so, no, I cannot think of a better way for you to think of those words.
egbert said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
egbert said…
Truely my Mentor You Are, egbert
Unknown said…
Very helpful -- thanks.
will said…
"If your not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything creative."

Sir Ken Robinson, talking about the school systems rigidity that being right is all that matters.
Jon said…
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