Difference Between Conscious and Subconscious Mind

“For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.” Bhagavad Gita 6.6

Story of a Milk Vendor:

This is a story of a shopkeeper who used to sell the milk. One night, when he finished selling the milk and was cleaning the container, he found a dead lizard inside the container. He started worrying about the customers who purchased the milk from him. Since he was afraid and was not sure what to do, he decided not to share this information with anyone. The next day, all the customers came and purchased the milk from him except one and it continued for the next 7 days. Now the shopkeeper got anxious and he wanted to verify the health of that particular customer. He decided to visit his home and enquire about his health. When he knocked on the door, he found the same person in front of him and fully healthy. The shopkeeper got relieved and decided to share the truth with him as he survived. After narrating the incident related to the dead lizard in the milk and feeling sorry about his negligence, he returned to his shop. The next day, the shopkeeper got the shocking news that the customer with whom he met the previous evening has died last night!

How it is possible that a person who could survive for 7 days could not survive a few more hours after listening to the incident related to the milk consumed by him which was poisoned by the dead lizard. It is the POWER of the subconscious mind which unsettled him so much that he could not bear the pressure and collapsed.

According to a study, on average we have 45000 to 55000  thoughts in a day which translates into 25 to 35 thoughts a minute. It means that our mind keeps on fluctuating throughout the day. You must have heard about the term ‘garbage in, garbage out. Whatever we will think, it will come out as a reality.

We have two minds: Conscious and Subconscious. Sigmund Freud often used the metaphor of an iceberg to describe the two major aspects of human personality. The tip of the iceberg that extends above the water represents the conscious mind. As you can see in the image on top, the conscious mind is just the “tip of the iceberg.” Beneath the water is the much larger bulk of the iceberg, which represents the subconscious.

The conscious mind is the active mind that observes and does everything with attention. It has the power to make a decision. Like

  • You are reading this article in your conscious
  • When you change the channels of your television using a remote, you are in a conscious state
  • When you are talking to others, generally you are in a conscious state
  • When you type a message on WhatsApp, you are in a conscious state

When you are conscious, you control your behaviour, you manage what you say. You know how to respond/ react to any situation. You try to show your best to the world. Our conscious mind is the “watchman at the gate.”

Our subconscious mind has unlimited potential. Unlike financial banks, where you have a finite amount of money, your subconscious mind has infinite storage capacity. It stores everything irrespective of the quality of the content.

When you are putting on trousers, have you ever thought about which leg to insert first? Think it over. You would be amazed to note that irrespective of any situation, you will put your right leg in first! Am I right? Somewhere in your early childhood, you learned the art of putting your right leg in first and since then you continued to do it unconsciously. Now try to wear trousers today, consciously putting your left leg in first and enjoy the difference!

Just like Google, where you write a query and retrieve information, your subconscious mind’s function is to store everything and retrieve it when needed. Your job is to be aware of the program you are feeding into your subconscious mind.

“The only path by which another person can upset you is through your thought.” — Joseph Murphy

The subconscious mind never grows old. It is timeless, ageless, and endless. Your subconscious mind never sleeps. It is always on the job. It controls all your vital functions. Just like when you are watching a movie at a single-screen cinema hall and the power goes off for a moment, unknowingly, you may start whistling! Why does it happen? You never planned to whistle at that moment but it may just happen! This is the subconscious mind.

Our subconscious mind is subjective in nature. It does not decide or calculate anything. Whatever has been fed into it comes out as it is. Our subconscious mind is never willing to change and wants to do the things stored there by us.

Our conscious mind commands and our subconscious mind obeys. The subconscious mind may be considered as a fertile land where your conscious mind bears fruits, vegetables, flowers, cactus, weeds, etc.

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