Chapter 7 – The Subconscious Mind

Chapter VII
W. John Murray
Mental Medicine
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1923.

[135] In the science of mind it is doubtful if anything of greater importance has been brought to light than that vast submerged storehouse of memories which modern psychologists speak of as the subconscious mind. One likens it to that infinitely greater portion of an iceberg which is under the water, while all that appears is a more or less scanty surface. Another speaks of it as that great depth of the ocean of mind which maintains its perpetual calm despite the turbulence which may be occurring on the surface; while another speaks of it as a sort of phonographic disk, which receives impressions only to repeat them again when proper conditions are provided for the repetition.

Innumerable instances are on record to prove that, independent of the conscious [136] mind, the subconscious mind may receive impressions which it will carry out with infallible exactitude. It is because of this that hypnotized subjects, when all conscious objections to the absurdity of things are inhibited, carry out those suggestions which are made to them and which cause them to act as if they were swimming on dry land and climbing up ladders where no ladders exist. These phases of undoubted phenomena would be of no real value in themselves were it not for the fact that they point to something higher and more useful than themselves.

We know that the conscious mind of the individual is the smallest part of the thinking entity and that it is largely, if not exclusively, limited to that form of information which reaches it through the avenue of the senses, while the subconscious mind is open to impressions from three sources. First of all it is impressed by what is conveyed to it by objective things; then it is impressed by what reaches it from that stream [137] of thought which is spoken of as “race belief;” and then again it is impressed by those thoughts which have been generated by all the high and holy thinking of the spirits of “just men made perfect.”

We are told that the subconscious mind never initiates; that is, it never starts any train of reasoning on its own account; but follows whatever is conveyed to it from any of the sources above mentioned. This is why it has been likened to a phonographic disk which receives impressions only to give them back again on demand, and this whether these impressions are harmonious or discordant; for the office of the subconscious mind is not to select but to serve. When this is better understood we shall be more careful of the thoughts we think and the suggestions we permit to find their way through the conscious mind into the subconscious. We shall be on our guard against the suggestions which come to us from what we see, such as advertisements of patent medicines, which not infrequently cause the susceptible [138] to fancy they have the malady for which the patent medicine is recommended; from what we hear in the form of conversations about recent operations; and what we read in the papers concerning deaths, divorces and disasters of various names and natures.

Physicians will be more careful and considerate concerning their all too frequently outspoken diagnosis of certain cases as “incurable,” especially within the hearing of the patient. One day it will be considered unethical to look hopeless in the presence of an invalid. A physician’s smile of encouragement will be worth more than all his drugs to his patient, while his increased success in the art of healing will undoubtedly add to his income. A hint to the wise in the profession is sufficient. Older physicians have seen their so-called incurables get well and remain well so often that they are somewhat loath to use the word incurable any longer. Materia medica is not the last word, for there is that mysterious thing the doctors call vis medicatrix natura which [139] does strange and unaccountable things, amazing the doctors as well as delighting their patients.

Vis medicatrix natura may be only another name for that which the modern psychologist calls race subconsciousness; that vast reservoir which contains all the thoughts of the race since time began; just as individual subconsciousness contains all the forgotten as well as remembered thoughts of the individual. What we call instinct in the sick animal, which causes it to select such food and herbs as make for restoration, may be nothing other than general subconsciousness welling up to meet some particular need.

Animals and young children do not oppose subconscious promptings as a rule. Adults reason themselves away from these suggestions as a result of the bias of an education, which has not, until recently, taken the subconscious into consideration. And yet, see what great things are attributable to its processes! The most vital processes of [140] man’s organism are controlled by subconscious thought. It is the subconscious which forms bones, nerves, and muscles, and reforms them as old cells give place to new ones. It is the subconscious mind which governs circulation, assimilation, digestion, breathing, etc. It is to subconscious processes that the action of the liver, lungs, and heart are due. Why should not man learn to co-operate consciously with the subconscious? Is it that he has persuaded himself that this is not possible, or may it be that he has never given any thought to it at all?

We do not feel that it is enough for us to have a muscular system. We are convinced that this muscular system needs to be exercised in order to retain its vigor and elasticity, and we do this exercising consciously and deliberately. We do not feel that it is enough for us to be provided with intellectual capacities. We strive with intellectual capacities. We strive to expand these capacities through study and a keen desire for information, both of which are exercise for [141] the mind, as walking and other things are exercise for the body. In the same way we should not feel that it is enough for us to have a subconscious mind, for unless we make some use of it we might as well not have it.

If you have ever been in a foundry you must have been interested in that part of it which is given over to the casting of things. Here is a huge box in which is kept great quantities of sand, and here are many other boxes, or frames, into which this sand is put in order to receive the impressions of those patterns which hang on the walls. When these patterns or moulds have been made in the sand, the box is then tightly closed, and through an aperture in the top of the box the molten metal is poured, finding its way into the depressions made for it by the patterns. When the metal has become cold it is taken out in such forms or shapes as the patterns are intended to produce. The pattern of the elephant does not come out as the design of a dog, nor that of the dog [142] as the elephant: each is true to its own particular form. It is the same with consciousness and subconsciousness. Consciousness is constantly pouring liquid thought into the receptive sand of the subconscious mind, and there it assumes the form of the mental picture of perfection, or of imperfection, as the case may be.

The liquid thought of fear will not assume the solid shape of courage; neither will the liquid thought of disease assume the solid form of health; formless thought like formless metal will assume the shape of that into which it is poured.

Every thought we think, if we think it persistently, tends to create the prototype of that which will surely come to pass, unless we reverse the process. The subconscious thought “I am ill,” it is like an order given to a faithful servant which will be carried out faithfully and at once, or, if you say or even think, “I am well,” everything within you [143] will tend at once to carry out this idea. “As a man thinketh in his heart (subconscious mind), so is he” (in his body and in his affairs).

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Chapter 8

Mental Medicine
Table of Contents

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