Utilising these NLP prime directives enables us to utilise techniques for change and transformation. Our unconscious mind‘s highest purpose is to serve and protect us so we can live. It does so through the following methods.
1. Stores our memories
Our unconscious mind stores all of our memories.
A study in 1957 probed a woman’s brain with an electrode. During the experiment the woman could remember a birthday party she had had as a child. She remembered the feel of the dress, the guests, all the tastes and smells and events of the day. She seemingly remembered it as if she were there, in the flesh again. As a result of this study, and others, it is strongly proposed that the brain stores, in full detail, everything that occurs to us. A Nobel Award winning study in 1960 by Carl Pribram extended this theory to suggest that our memories were stored within our nervous system.
Memories are stored accordingly:
Temporal – in relationship to time
Atemporal – not in relationship to time eg when “in flow”
2. Organises our memories
The Unconscious mind organises the memories for recollection. It uses two forms of index to do so:
Temporally – in your Time Line
By subject – Gestalt
Have you ever had a conversation with someone about an event you were both at? One of you are recalling the event by date, and process of events, while the other is conversing within subject matter; perhaps information or friends. Memories are being accessed differently for the same event.
3. Makes associations and learns quickly
The unconscious mind wants us to learn quickly to protect us. To do this it will link things that are similar, or different, and ideas. This way we are able to access information rapidly.
For example, you may have had tried a foreign food for the first time and found it very unpleasant. From that point onward you may decide that all food from that country and countries similar is very unpleasant and further trials of this type of food will also be equally unpleasant.
4. It is the domain of the emotions
While an emotion may be experienced consciously they are generated, maintained and are the responsibility of the unconscious mind.
5. Represses memories with unresolved negative emotion
This can be viewed as a bit of a contradiction with other directives. My preference is to consider it as yin and yang. The unconscious mind on occasion will repress a memory and leave the equivalent to a marker to the event by maintaining a negative emotion. All or part of the memory may also be repressed. Tad James, creator of Time Line Therapy believes that repressed memories are the memories we may have little awareness of or may be this can create resistance or a “blockage” in internal communication throughout the body and the mind.
Why would a memory be repressed? Often it is because the person is not emotionally equipped to cope with the memory and the unconscious mind does this to protect its master.
6. Presents repressed memories for resolution
The unconscious mind will present the repressed memory so that the unresolved negative emotion can be rectified. As you can imagine this can be a long term process. Sometimes this works with effect, other times the memory can be relocated in the background again, undealt with.
It may present in many different ways; visual form, dreams, flashes, words or symbols.
If, at the point of presentation, the conscious mind can take the learning lessons from the memory, emotions can be cleared and the memory resolved.
7. May keep repressed emotions repressed for our protection
Repressing memories is a short term function. Eventually the unconscious mind will continue to present the memories for release so the emotions can be released as well. Obviously this is in the long term interests of our body.
8. Has a “blue print” of and runs the body
Breathing, blinking, digestion of food, these are all processes that the body does without requiring guidance from us. The unconscious mind holds the blue print of how the body should be and responds.
9. Preserves the body
The unconscious mind maintains the integrity of the body and preserving it; this is its highest intention. It heals infection and damage and warns us of danger. In the event of crossing a road and a vehicle comes around a corner, it is most likely your unconscious mind will rapidly advise you of the imminent danger and create an instant response accordingly (eg stepping back to the curb).
In times of high danger our unconscious mind will automatically take over and it can be as if we are on “auto pilot”.
10. Is the a highly moral being
Every person has their own moral code; generally based on their beliefs, their values and what they have been taught and accept. We have social rules and contracts because we are social beings so how is it that although running a red light is a “must not do” some people readily run a red light for their own purposes with disregard to the safety of others. This is because that person is operating to their own moral code.
If we behave in conflict to our moral being then our unconscious mind reminds us. Sometimes it will keep replaying the memory of our disharmony without remorse until we can find a way to accept what has happened and make amends.
11. Enjoys taking direction and following orders
Our unconscious mind is like having an obedient child available. It wants to have clear direction from the conscious mind and will follow the instruction of the conscious mind. For successful outcomes the directions must be clear, consistent and focussed. Often people do not achieve their outcomes because they have not taken the time to clarify and be consistent with the message.
Maintain good rapport with the unconscious mind as it is diligently following orders.
12. Controls and maintains all perceptions
We are bombarded with millions of pieces of information per second and expect instant understanding. For this purpose the unconscious mind must filter and manage this information so that we can respond instantly. Perceptions are a large part of this and the chunking of information into manageable sizes.
13. Generates, stores, distributes and transmits “energy” throughout our body
The Unconscious mind is responsible for managing and distributing our energy throughout our body. It can be requested to create energy for varying purposes such as for healing.
If in danger it will instantly provide the required level of energy in the form of adrenaline, reducing processes of other parts of the body. In times of relaxation it may be that we are happy with low levels of energy in the place of relaxation knowing that higher levels can be obtained when required.
14. Responds with instinct and habit
Some behaviours are part of our genetic make-up, such as our fear responses of fight, flight or freeze. Others we can train into ourselves. The unconscious mind both generates and preserves our habits and instincts both resourceful and unresourceful.
To change instincts and habits, work with your unconscious mind.
15. Requires repetition to install new behaviours and therefore habits
All habits are installed over time by repetitive behaviour so it makes sense that change requires change in repeat behaviours to create the new habit. This can require co-operation between the conscious and unconscious mind to ensure it embeds.
16. Programmed to continually seek more
Our unconscious mind is always seeking “more” – new things, new achievements, more knowledge and constantly asking “what’s next?” Athletes and thrill seekers can epitomise this; once they have achieved one goal they often start straight away on the next thing that will extend themselves a little more.
To keep seeking more and achieving more it is important that we challenge the “comfort zone” and at the same time the unconscious mind will be trying to keep us safe as well. Once again, rapport with our unconscious mind is important.
17. Operates on the principle of minimum effort
When we consider the massive requirement we expect from our unconscious mind it stands to reason that the “road of least resistance” is a suitable operation for it; it needs to conserve energy. For this purpose specific instruction and request is required. Without it your desires may be put on a long term plan. Lack of detail will minimise the outcome.
18. Functions at its best as a whole integrated unit
When my husband looks at new technology for the house, a vacuum cleaner perhaps, he looks at how it is made and how many parts it has. He also considers the integrity of the parts and how they are connected. His theory is “too many parts, more things that can go wrong”.
The unconscious mind is like this. It operates better with the fewer parts we have because more parts mean more internal conflict. In this reference “parts” may be goals, ideas, beliefs, some of which may conflict with each other. The unconscious mind works best as a whole unit and to ensure this the fewer parts the better.
19. Utilises symbols
The unconscious mind creates, uses and responds to symbols. Much of the messaging it provides to us is symbolic. Ponder on the symbols the unconscious mind sends as it will have significance.
In hypnosis recently a young girl saw birds. When I asked her what she thought they were there for she instantly responded that they represented her freedom when she had overcome the challenge she was working on.
20. Takes everything personally
Based upon the work completed by Carl Jung, what we like about another person are the aspects we like about ourselves. What we dislike about another person is reflecting what we dislike about ourselves.
The unconscious mind only sees fact. It has no concept of make believe, it is the role of the conscious mind to make that distinction. For this purpose great rapport with your unconscious mind is well advised. Pay attention to your unconscious mind, and behave as if what you think is real.
If you work as a Manager or you coach people always see the best in them. If you believe they are capable you will treat them that way and they will respond far better than if you believe otherwise. At the same time you then see the best in yourself as well and will respond accordingly. You and your unconscious mind have a life time together.
21. Does not process negatives
Whatever you do, do NOT think of the pink gorilla in the blue tree! And I am sure you saw a pink gorilla in a blue tree at least temporarily before you pictured something else. In order not to see something, we have to see what we do not want to see.
In short, focus on the positive. Focus your attention on exactly what you want and how you can achieve it. Problems are opportunities in disguise and the creativity of the young child within you mind can help you overcome them.