When it comes to choosing any given path, the choice often requires adjusting routines.
That’s not to say that all routine is bad. Some routines are super-healthy. They may be good for you mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically — or all the above. Instituting regular exercise or writing out daily gratitude are examples of this.
Some habits are obvious to us. But others are not. And that’s because habit exists in your subconscious mind.
As I have written prior, there are three states of mind in everyone.
- Unconsciousness is that which you do purely automatically. Overall breathing, swallowing, digesting, and similar things your mind and central nervous system do unaided.
- Subconsciousness is where your habits, beliefs, values, and overall sense of self exist. It is subconscious because you CAN access it — but largely don’t. Subconscious is passive, doing things by rote and routine.
- Consciousness is here and now. It’s your inner being, specifically your mindset/headspace/psyche sense of self. Conscious is active, choosing and deciding things in the moment.
Since habits exist in the subconscious mind — which you don’t inherently access consciously — they can be rooted deeply. And when a habit has its roots deep in your subconscious the work that goes into changing it can be considerable.
To know a habit you need to become truly aware of it. Which is where mindfulness comes into play.
Mindfulness accesses the subconscious mind
Your conscious mind is how you, at this specific moment, perceive reality. As you do any action with intent you are working consciously.
The conscious mind is where your mindset/headspace/psyche sense of self is. It is informed of not just the outside world — but all interactions within and without — via your sensory input and your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions.
Your conscious mind, as such, is 100% under your control. When all is said and done nobody is in your head, heart, or soul but you. Thus you, and you alone, have the ability to control yourself.
This means that you have the power to control your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions consciously. That’s where mindfulness — conscious awareness of your self — comes into play.
When you don’t practice mindfulness — your subconscious does the driving. Which is how you can find yourself distracted. Or focused on things you don’t truly desire to focus on. Or you become suddenly aware but uncertain how you got to where you are.
We are always thinking. The subconscious mind is working when the conscious mind is not doing the driving. It’s in your subconscious mind where your beliefs, values, and habits are planted like a forest of trees.
Thus, when you actively desire to change habits — you need to know the habits. This means you need to get into your subconscious mind with your conscious mind to find the habits and their roots. This, of course, means employing mindfulness.
Why change habits?
Habits can be good, bad, or neutral. What we often fail to realize is how many behaviors are, in fact, habits.
While some of these are neutral — they can, depending on the application, lean good or bad.
For example — biting your fingernails. No, this is not a good habit — but unlike smoking, heavy drinking, and lying — it’s not a bad habit of the same ilk. The same thing applies to spinning a pen between your fingers anytime you’re frustrated, cracking gum you’re chewing on when nervous, braiding your hair when you’re bored, etc.
However, like major social issues, neutrality can lead to complacency. That complacency can and will lead you to undesired places.
What’s more, a lot of these neutral habits tie into deeper matters. Matters which are rooted in your subconscious.
Since habit can be controlled, choosing mindfully to perform good habits empowers. This is how you consciously create reality and manifest the things you desire into your life experience.
Thus, changing neutral habits is a matter of control. Particularly when it gives you insight into other, deeper matters.
For example — I used to regularly chew on my fingernails when bored or anxious. Now, when I’ve found myself chewing off a fingernail, it sparks a look into what caused it. Was I bored? Anxious? Frustrated? And what can I do about that?
Changing your habits is how you make ongoing changes to take control of your paths in life. Rather than let life live you — knowing and controlling your habits empowers you to know and control your overall life experience.
Knowing habits leads to more knowledge
The subconscious mind is not only the home of your habits — but your beliefs and values.
Habits, beliefs, and values tend to be tied together.
For example, I believe that meditation puts me in touch with my inner source energy. That, I believe, empowers my mindfulness practice. I value understanding and exploring how I am — in this body — connected with that energy. Habitually, I meditate daily.
Belief in universal source energy, coupled with valuing how it connects all of us, leads to my meditation habit. Mediation is a mindfulness practice for me — which connects my subconscious beliefs and values via the habit.
This is why knowing your habits connects you to your subconscious mind. That, in turn, connects you with your beliefs and values that are within your subconscious. Habits, as such, are a bridge between the subconscious mind and the conscious mind.
Or rather, CAN be a bridge — when you use mindfulness to be consciously aware of the connection.
Choosing and deciding to find and/or create your own path in life is about control. When it comes to control, the only thing you can truly control is yourself. Gaining that control is a choice and/or decision that you make in your conscious mind. That leads to accessing the beliefs and values in your subconscious — and habits related to both.
Taking control over your life experience — particularly if the subconscious has been doing more of the driving prior — takes conscious effort. As part of that, you often need to change habits as part of taking that control. But you can’t change habits you aren’t consciously aware of.
You have all the power
Knowing your habits and their connection to your subconscious values and beliefs allows you to take the wheel, assume control, and consciously create reality. Further, you gain an appreciation for the journey as much as any goal you are seeking to attain.
You have the power. All the power. To use it requires nothing more than applying conscious awareness — i.e. mindfulness — to recognize what’s in your subconscious. That connection to your beliefs, values, and related habits creates recognition. Recognition is knowledge, and knowledge is power.
That power is how you uproot, remove, replace, alter, change, or build new habits. Which, in turn, connects to beliefs, values, and all else in your subconscious mind.
Know that you are worthy and deserving of finding, knowing, and changing habits to improve your life howsoever you most desire. And while this can be scary — leaving comfort zones almost always is — the reward is worth it.
We each get one shot at life in our meat popsicle bodies. Humankind is not meant to simply survive — but to thrive. To do that — our conscious mind needs to be doing the driving.
Do you know your habits so that you can change your habits?
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, the philosophy of choosing and walking your path, and similar life lessons.
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Originally published at https://titaniumdon.com on April 21, 2021.