Medicine and Heath Podcast

May 2017 Focus: Brain
19 Oct 2017

Interview: The ‘Other than Conscious Mind’ How does what is often called the “sub-conscious” mind work?

Originally aired on, 05-25-2017


In this program Cameron from CTR network will interview Dr. Anderson about the most powerful portion of the brain, the “other than conscious mind”.  Often referred to as the “subconscious mind” or the “unconscious mind” this powerful neurological system has immense control over every portion of our existence.

The other-than-conscious mind (also referred to as the “paraconscious” or nonconscious mind) is constantly at work helping us integrate, prepare, act and perform many other actions.  

Dr. Williams [in ] summarizes as follows:

  • Our conscious minds work much more slowly than our nonconscious minds, and are overall less adept at processing information, less efficient at the task. The nonconscious mind therefore can be said to be more intelligent than the conscious mind.
  • Because the nonconscious mind is responsible for the bulk of our mental processing, it can also be said to be responsible for the development of a large part of our personality, tastes, talents, and so on. It determines, in essence, how we function as beings.

A deeper overview follows from:

Any brain process that does not involve conscious processing, including both preconscious memories and unconscious processes. It has no restrictions and can work on multiple tasks at once.

In more technical terms, consciousness must process information serially, while nonconscious brain circuits can process many streams of information in parallel.

The nonconscious mind can be split into two levels:

  • The Preconscious
  • The Unconscious

Things that go on in your brain that you are not aware of.

In Your Own Words

  • Brain processes that are done without your conscious awareness.
  • Multi-tasking without thinking.
  • Completing or doing task that you do not have to think twice about.
  • Autopilot


  • Being able to tap your foot, chew gum, blink and read at the same time.
  • Your nonconscious mind being able to chew food, breathe, listen to music, and type simultaneously.
  • The ability to read (comprehending/retaining the contents of the reading) while eating dinner and having the television on.
  • Having the ability to text, hold a conversation, breathe, and watch the television all at the same time without thinking about it.
  • The ability to ride a bike, breath, talk, keep track of the edges of road/trail, and keep your balance.
  • Your Heart pumping blood throughout your body is a nonconscious process.
  • While driving in a car, you can listen to the stereo, talk to someone, while driving in a straight line in your lane on road all at the same time.

In the terms of many psychologists the “unconscious” mind has many critical functions.  The following are adapted from:

The unconscious mind:

Preserves the body: One of its main objectives is the survival of your physical body. It will fight anything that appears to be a threat to that survival. So if you want to change a behavior more easily, show your unconscious how that behavior is hurting your body.

Runs the body: The unconscious handles all of your basic physical functions (breathing, heart rate, immune system, etc.). Huna believes that the unconscious holds the blueprint of your body as it is now and also the blueprint of your perfect health. Rather than telling the unconscious what perfect health looks like, try asking it what it knows and what you need for better health.

Is like a 7-year old child: Like a young child, the unconscious likes to serve, needs very clear directions, and takes your instructions very literally. So if you say, “This job is a pain in the neck,” your unconscious will figure out a way to make sure that your neck hurts at work! The unconscious is also very “moral” in the way a young child is moral, which means based on the morality taught and accepted by your parents or surroundings. So if you were taught that “sex is nasty,” your unconscious will still respond to that teaching even after your conscious mind has rejected it.

Communicates through emotion and symbols: To get your attention, the unconscious uses emotions. For example, if you suddenly feel afraid, your unconscious has detected (rightly or wrongly) that your survival is at risk.  

Stores and organizes memories: The unconscious decides where and how your memories are stored. It may hide certain memories (such as traumas) that have strong negative emotions until you are mature enough to process them consciously. When it senses that you are ready (whether you consciously think you are or not!), it will bring them up so you can deal with them.

Does not process negatives: The unconscious absorbs pictures rather than words. So if you say, “I don’t want to procrastinate,” the unconscious generates a picture of you procrastinating. Switching that picture from the negative to the positive takes an extra step. Better to tell your unconscious, “Let’s get to work!”

Makes associations and learns quickly:  To protect you, the unconscious stays alert and tries to glean the lessons from each experience.  For example, if you had a bad experience in school, your unconscious may choose to lump all of your learning experiences into the “this is not going to be fun” category. It will signal you with sweaty palms and anxiety whenever you attempt something new. But if you do well in sports, your unconscious will remember that “sports = success” and you’ll feel positive and energized whenever physical activity comes up.


Listen to the episode here!



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