Understanding the Subconscious work

In our directions we have told you how to make use of this part of the mind, consciously and knowingly, so as to obtain the best results, and to get rid of worry and anxiety attendant upon unsettled questions. But, in fact, every one of us makes more or less use of this part of the mind unconsciously, and not realizing the important part it plays in our mental life. We are perplexed about a matter and keep it “on our minds” until we are forced to lay it aside by reason of some other demand, or when we sink to sleep.

Often to our surprise we will find that when we next think of it the matter has somehow cleared up and straightened itself out, and we seem to have learned something about it that we did not know before. We do not understand it, and are apt to dismiss it as “just one of those things.” In these lessons we are attempting to explain some of “those things,” and to enable you to use them consciously and understandingly, instead of by chance, instinctively, and clumsily. We are teaching you Mastery of the Mind.

Now to apply the rule to another case. Suppose you wish to gather together all the information that you possess relating to a certain subject. In the first place it is certain that you know a very great deal more about any subject than you think you do. Stored away in the various recesses of the mind, or memory if you prefer that term, are stray bits of information and knowledge concerning almost any subject. But these bits of information are not associated with each other. You have never attempted to think attentively upon the particular question before you, and the facts are not correlated in the mind. It is just as if you had so many hundred pounds of anything scattered throughout the space of a large warehouse, a tiny bit here, and a tiny bit there, mixed up with thousands of other things.

You may prove this by sitting down some time and letting your thoughts run along the line of some particular subject, and you will find emerging into the field of consciousness all sorts of information that you had apparently forgotten, and each fitting itself into its proper place. Every person has had experiences of this kind. But the work of gathering together the scattered scraps of knowledge is more or less tedious for the conscious mind, and the sub-conscious mind will do the work equally well with the wear and tear on the attention. In fact, it is the sub-conscious mind that always does the work, even when you think it is the conscious mind. All the conscious mind does is to hold the attention firmly upon the object before it, and then let the sub-consciousness pass the material before it. But this holding the attention is tiresome work, and it is not necessary for it to expend its energies upon the details of the task, for the work may be done in an easier and simpler way.

The best way is to follow a plan similar to the one mentioned a few pages back. That is, to fix the interested attention firmly upon the question before you, until you manage to get a clear, vivid impression of just what you want answered. Then pass the whole matter into the sub-conscious mind with the command “Attend to this,” and then leave it. Throw the whole matter off of your mind, and let the sub-conscious work go on. If possible let the matter run along until the next morning and then take it up for consideration, when, if you have proceeded properly you will find the matter worked out, arranged in logical sequence, so that your conscious attention will be able to clearly review the string of facts, examples, illustrations, experiences, etc., relating to the matter in question.

Now, many of you will say that you would like this plan to work in cases in which you have not the time to sleep over it. In such cases we will say that it is possible to cultivate a rapid method of sub-consciousing, and in fact many business men and men of affairs have stumbled upon a similar plan, driven to the discovery by necessity. They will give a quick, comprehensive, strong flash of attention upon the subject, getting right to the heart of it, and then will let it rest in the sub-conscious mind for a moment or two, killing a minute or two of time n “preliminary conversation,” until the first flash of answer comes to them. After the first flash, and taking hold of the first loose end of the subject that presents itself to them, they will unwind a string of information and “talk” about the subject that will surprise even themselves. Many lawyers have acquired this knowledge, and are what is known as “resourceful.” Such men are often confronted with questions of conditions utterly unsuspected by them a moment before. Practice has taught them the folly of fear and loss of confidence at such moments, and has also impressed upon them the truth that something within them will come to the rescue. So, presenting a confident air, they will manage to say a few platitudes or commonplaces, while the sub-conscious mind is most rapidly gathering its materials for the answer. In a moment an opening thought “flashes upon” the man, and as he continues idea after idea passes before his conscious and eager attention, sometimes so rapidly that it is almost impossible to utter them and lo! the danger is over, and a brilliant success is often snatched from the jaws of an apparent failure and defeat. In such cases the mental demand upon the sub-conscious mind is not voiced in words, but is the result of a strong mental need. However, if one gives a quick verbal command “Attend to this,” the result will be heightened.

We have known of cases of men prominent in the world’s affairs who made a practice of smoking a cigar during important business interviews, not because they particularly cared for tobacco, but because they had learned to appreciate the value of a moment’s time for the mind to “gather itself together,” as one man expressed it. A question would be asked, or a proposition advanced suddenly, demanding an immediate answer. Under the watchful eyes of the other party the questioned party tried not to show by his expression any indication of searching for an answer, for obvious reasons. So, instead, he would take a long puff at the cigar, then a slow attentive look at the ashes on its tip, and then another moment consumed in flicking the ash into the receptacle, and then came the answer, slowly, “Well, as to that–” or some other words of that kind, prefacing the real answer which had been rapidly framed by the sub-conscious mind in time to be uttered in its proper place. The few moments of time gained had been sufficient for the sub-conscious mind to gather up its materials, and the matter to be shaped properly, without any appearance of hesitation on the part of the answerer. All of this required practice, of course, but the principle may be seen through it all and in every similar case. The point is that the man, in such cases, sets some hidden part of his mind to work for him, and when he begins to speak the matter is at least roughly “licked into shape for him.”

Our students will understand, of course, that this is not advice to smoke cigars during interviews of importance, but is merely given to illustrate the principle. We have known other men to twirl a lead pencil in their fingers in a lazy sort of fashion, and then drop it at the important moment. But we must cease giving examples of this kind, lest we be accused of giving instructions in worldly wisdom, instead of teaching the use of the mind. The impressive pause of the teacher, before answering his pupil’s question, is also an example of the workings of this law. One often says “stop, let me think a moment,” and during his pause he does not really consciously think at all, but stares ahead in a dreamy fashion, while his sub-conscious mind does the work for him, although he little suspects the nature of the operation. One has but to look around him to realize the importance and frequent application of this truth.

And not only may the sub-conscious mind be used in the directions indicated on preceding pages, but in nearly every perplexity and problem of life may it be called upon for help. These little sub-conscious brownies are ever at our disposal, and seem to be happy to be of service to us.

And so far from being apt to get us in a position of false dependence, it is calculated to make us self-confident–for we are calling upon a part of ourselves, not upon some outside intelligence. If those people who never feel satisfied unless they are getting “advice” from others would only cultivate the acquaintance of this little “home adviser” within them, they would lose that dependent attitude and frame of mind, and would grow self-confident and fearless. Just imagine the confidence of one who feels that he has within him a source of knowledge equal to that of the majority of those with whom he is likely to come in contact, and he feels less afraid to face them, and look them fearlessly in the eyes. He feels that his “mind” is not confined to the little field of consciousness, but is an area infinitely greater, containing a mass of information undreamed of. Everything that the man has inherited, or brought with him from past lives–everything that he has read, heard or seen, or experienced in this life, is hidden away there in some quarter of that great sub-conscious mind, and, if he will but give the command, the “essence” of all that knowledge is his. The details may not be presented to his consciousness (often it is not, for very good occult reasons) by the result, or essence of the knowledge will pass before his attention, with sufficient examples and illustrations, or arguments to enable him to make out “a good case” for himself.

In the next lesson we will call your attention to other features and qualities of this great field of mind, showing you how you can put it to work, and Master it. Remember, always, the “I” is the Master. And its Mastery must always be remembered and asserted over all phases and planes of the mind. Do not be a slave to the sub-conscious, but be its MASTER.


I have within me a great area of Mind that is under my command, and subject to my Mastery. This Mind is friendly to me, and is glad to do my bidding, and obey my orders. It will work for me when I ask it, and is constant, untiring, and faithful. Knowing this I am no longer afraid, ignorant or uninformed. The “I” is master of it all, and is asserting its authority. “I” am master over Body, Mind, Consciousness, and Sub-consciousness. I am “I”–a Centre of Power, Strength, and Knowledge. I am “I”–and “I” am Spirit, a fragment from the Divine Flame.