The human mind is complex and the way that your past experiences are stored, recalled and processed in your memory determines your future. It can lead you to lead a successful and fulfilled life or a life of frustration and failure. Understanding the impact of memory on your life and how to deal with the un-resourceful conditioning you have received can have a major impact on your life…
What is memory?
There are a few different ways you can look at memory.
Memory is stuff stored in our minds as a result of past experiences – almost everyone on this planet can recall an amazing amount of information about their past life from the time they were a kid through to what they had for breakfast this morning
A more physiological view is that memory is the cross linking of randomly organised neurons in your brain to form organised structures that somehow lock in records of the events you’ve experienced. Quite how the physiological process is connected to memory is still a mystery to science…
Memory is also plastic – your memories will change over time and there’s some evidence that there are corresponding changes in patterns of linking in your memory neurons.
Your powerful and sophisticated memory is also one of the things that differentiates you from other members of the animal kingdom and gives you an advantage that has helped the human species to dominate the planet.
Memory is vitally important to you to help you function in day to day life and to shape your future. It’s loss, as can happen in old age, can be devastating.
Your memory shapes your future
Your memory can have a drastic effect on your future in at least two major ways – your past experiences and your past conditioning.
We all know that experience is a valuable thing – if you apply for a job one of the things you’ll get asked about is your past experience of similar work.
But why is experience so important? Simply put, your rational mind can use your past experiences to make better decisions in the future.
This has been an advantage at all stages of human history. Our early ancestors could use their experience of the world around them to learn where dangerous animals were to be found in his environment. By storing that information and accessing it next time they wanted to go to a certain place, they could choose to take weapons and other actions to deal with the threat.
Today we use our capability to store, retrieve and process information to enable us to do just about everything in our lives. One of our most prized skills is to use our past experiences to build a better future for ourselves, our families, our companies and our society.
Your subconscious memory – dark forces at loose in your mind?
All the memories we have talked about so far are used by your conscious mind to construct a new future. However, your subconscious mind is also affected by past experiences. It can become conditioned by past experiences to respond to certain circumstances in certain ways.
The subconscious mind can exert a very powerful influence on your behaviour. It is the seat of powerful emotions and strongly held beliefs that lead you to make decisions that, if you looked at them purely logically, are irrational and can produce a very strong effect on the results you achieve in your life. Your subconscious conditioning can make you have a life of poverty or a life of abundance without you even being aware of it.
The distressing thing about subconscious conditioning is that it can lead you to believe that you are helplessly trapped in the circumstances that your subconscious has created for you. It’s not for nothing that the subconscious is sometimes regarded as the dark and sinister part of your brain.
In contrast, the workings of the rational mind are transparent and clear. However your normal thinking is usually a mixture of rational thinking and subconscious thinking and unless you’ve made some effort to become aware of the two different processes you can be led into un-resourceful actions by your subconscious mind.
So I’m trapped by my past conditioning – is there a way out?
If you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again, stuck in a rut, unable to achieve the results you want in life, it is often because you have some sort of negative pattern of thoughts caused by your subconscious mind controlling your behaviour and your beliefs. These negative thoughts are caused by conditioning your subconscious mind may have received in early childhood and that you’re not even aware of now.
What’s worse is that you can get stuck in a loop where the negative results you are getting reinforce the negative conditioning you’ve had in the past pushing you deeper and deeper into a trap. Escape can seem impossible, hopeless…
I know. I’ve been there. I was a victim of some very poor conditioning that led to a series of disasters in my life. I got to the point where I believed that I was doomed to failure and there was no way out.
But there is a way. In fact there are many ways, as many ways as there are people on this planet. None of them are free and all of them involve some effort and patience on your part.
Some simple steps you can take
The first thing you need to do is to take responsibility for your life. Accept that the majority of what is happening to you is the result of the way that you think about the work and the decisions that you have made and still make.
Learn to become aware of the difference between the thoughts generated by your conscious mind and the thoughts from your subconscious mind. Become aware of the positive thoughts from your subconscious mind that help you achieve a better life – you want to encourage them.
Learn to recognise the negative thoughts from your subconscious mind and start to understand them – why do you have these thoughts, what harm are the doing you. Identifying the negative thoughts that are holding you back can be a long slow process, particularly if you’ve never attempted anything like this before, but it can be tremendously rewarding.
Accept that your mind can reprogram your subconscious to eliminate the bad stuff and replace it with good stuff. By doing so you will allow yourself to change and move towards the results you really want in life.
Once you’ve started to understand the powerful influence that negative thoughts are having on your life, you may find that some of them simply disappear. If the conditioning involved is not very strong it can be a simple matter to ‘change your mind’
You will probably find that many of the thoughts you are dealing with are the result of deeply buried and strongly held negative conditioning that won’t shift so easily. Don’t worry – at least you’ve got them cornered now. You can start applying personal development and growth techniques to your subconscious mind to shift the underlying conditioning. If you think you’ve got a really deep problem then there are professional therapists and coaches who can help to achieve a more rapid pace of change.
In any case, you must believe that there is a way out. It may take some time and effort – but you CAN do it! Remember that even the most confident and powerful people have their own self imposed limitations. For all of us it’s a lifetime of work to gradually increase our personal power until we become the best we can be.
To find our more about how your mind is programmed and conditioned and for more articles exploring the routes you can use to escape from your past, take a look around at my blog.