In the late 80s, when I was living in Vancouver, Canada, I became involved in the city’s New Age scene. I had already been practicing meditation for many years, and I had read The Relaxation Response by Dr. Herbert Benson (1975), in which he sets out an empirical scientific basis for meditation’s positive effects on the body.
Then I discovered guided meditation. This was the moment when I began to gain an understanding of my subconscious mind.
The subconscious treats whatever you put into it as reality. When athletes practise their sport in their minds, feeling on top of their form and executing the perfect action, their subconscious minds think it is all real.
This purely mental practice has been proven to improve athletes’ performance in real life. In fact, when any performer, whether actor, singer, or orator, practises in their mind, their performance improves.
In The Power of Your Subconscious Mind (1963), Joseph Murphy says, “Your subconscious mind doesn’t argue with you. It accepts what your conscious mind decrees.”
In other words, that inner dialogue with which we program our opinion of ourselves is all-powerful in creating our image of what we are and of the world around us. Hence the power of positive affirmations and of positive thinking, as Dr. Norman Vincent Peale explained in his book, The Power of Positive Thinking (1952).
Using our conscious minds to give our subconscious minds positive messages is vitally important. One way to do it is guided meditation. I found for myself that a good place to start was setting up a safe space in my mind to which I can retreat, a technique I learned about at one of Context International’s Pursuit of Excellence workshops.
Through guided meditation, you can create your own version of your safe space. Let me give you an example of a guided meditation I used. First read my suggested script below to give yourself an idea of where to go in your mind. Then meditate and begin the monologue. Stop between suggestions to give time for your imagination to create pictures. You will be amazed at what appears in your mind!
“You are walking peacefully and slowly down a path, winding downwards, ever downwards, into a beautiful meadow, full of wildflowers, sheltered by trees. It’s a beautiful day, and you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. The sky is blue, with small fleecy clouds. The birds are singing. The air is filled with the aroma of the grasses and flowers. You relax into a deep meditative state.
“The path leads downwards, downwards, coming through the trees. You are on top of a cliff overlooking the sea. The sea is blue, rolling gently onto the golden, sandy shore below. You hear the seagulls crying. You smell the sea. You taste the fragrance of the seaweed lying along the seashore. As you walk along, you feel more and more at peace.
“The path leads on to a flight of shallow stairs. These large slabs of weathered stone are bordered by beautiful grasses and wildflowers. They are warm in the sunshine. You slowly step down, down ever deeper, into your warm, safe, happy interior world.
“You step off the stairway. There in front of you is your safe space, exactly as you want it to be. This is a magical place, full of iridescent colours shimmering in the air. In this beautiful sanctuary, you can be truly yourself. Here you can do whatever you want, create whatever you like. A couch or your favourite chair awaits you here. You feel so comfortable, relaxed, and happy.”
You can stay here as long as you want. When you decide you need to leave, you do so by going back along the route that brought you here.
“You are in your safe space, at the bottom of the stairway. You climb back up the stairway, slowly upwards, enjoying the warmth of the sun, back through the trees, along the path upwards through the meadow. As you count down from five, you slowly open your eyes.”
Once you have created your safe space, you can retreat there at any time. When you fall asleep at night, you can do so lying on your couch or bed, in your safe space. Knowing that you are safe and secure, you can enjoy a good night’s sleep, waking in the morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Why not try it!
In what ways does your conscious mind affect your subconscious mind? What connections have you experienced? Have you tried guided meditation? What script works for you?