The Subconscious mind

Try to imagine looking after yourself - I mean you consciously looking after every thing you need to do to remain alive!

Measure the oxygen level in your blood, is it a bit low? - better make your heart pump a little faster, dilate the passageways in your lungs and breathe a little faster. This might affect your blood pressure - do you need to take action to moderate that now?

Keep moving your diaphragm, and don't forget to keep signalling your heart to beat.

Remember to read the data coming in from receptors around your body as you walk - you need to control individual muscles precisely, not just for walking - but more importantly for keeping yourself balanced.

Keep checking your oxygen level, making your diaphragm move, and your heart beat, monitor your blood pressure and adjust things as necessary.

Is your core temperature optimal? If you are getting too hot you need to activate your sweating response and dilate the blood vessels running under your skin to allow more heat to be lost, if too cold you should think about starting to burn fat stores to generate heat.

Keep checking your oxygen level, making your diaphragm move, and your heart beat, monitor your blood pressure and adjust things as necessary, and don't forget to keep an eye on your temperature.

Are you secreting enzymes into your gut appropriately, or the right level of hormones into your blood stream to take care of the transport of food components to individual cells, or to storage as fat or glycogen?

Oh! you want to get out of bed now, - as well as everything else you need to keep doing, you now need to start monitoring all of your external sense detectors (eyes, ears, nose, balance, and body position and touch sensors) and start working out which muscles to operate synchronously to carry you where you want to go.

I'm sure you can see how these processes would soon overwhelm your conscious mind, but your subconscious mind is more than capable of handling them all.

Trying to understand the subconscious mind

It is not possible for us to directly experience how the subconscious mind operates. But sometimes we can consciously perceive changes in the body occurring as reactions to subconscious activity.

Many of these reactions are familiar to us as nausea, stress, anxiety, fear, hunger, thirst, pleasure, sweating, shivering etc.

It seems that our subconscious mind is expert at balancing things. It learns how to maintain the incredibly complicated interactions both within the cells, tissues, and organs and between cells, tissues and organs to provide a stable environment within which the individual organism can live. It appears to be the master co-ordinator, in real-time, of our mind-body complex.

It is very difficult for us to truly understand our subconscious functioning, because we are restricted by our conscious functions to look for logical patterns. This is what our conscious functions excel at, and no doubt they are enhancing our survival.  But the explosion of consciousness in life is generally thought to be a very recent development of evolution, limited primarily to mammals, and associated with significant gains in intelligence. This implies that neither logic, nor intelligence, has been necessary for the management and evolution of living systems for vast aeons of time.


For now, lets think of the subconscious mind as a complex pattern-recognition and memory recall system, with the ability to identify patterns occurring now, finding other past events when they occurred, and invoking actions which previously best maintained stability of the mind body system during those previous events.

In a nutshell, the subconscious mind seems to operate around the concept of homeostasis - balancing conditions within our bodies - constantly tweaking things to support life within comfortable bounds. As changes in patterns are identified, the steps taken for identical or most similar previous events would be used to return to stability.

The complexity is still beyond us, because by "patterns" and "events" we may be glossing over the combined effect of acidity levels, temperature, levels of hundreds of hormones, enzymes, catalysts and other chemicals throughout the body, external environmental influences, genetic resources - our conscious minds can't deal with the huge numbers of components that make up a "pattern" or an "event". 

The fact that you are here to read this page is a testament to the effectiveness of your individual subconscious mind which works continually to maintain your existence - largely without your knowledge, and even while your conscious mind takes a break at night.