Years ago, when I was just starting my career as a physical therapist, I worked with stroke patients at a major rehabilitation hospital in New York City.
Every day, I would help patients out of bed and into the hallway– where we would practice the basic skill of walking. With each step, I would direct the patient’s attention to the essential mechanics: foot placement, step length, knee/hip position.
It could easily take a few minutes to walk 10 feet.
One thing became clear early on: the patient absolutely had to focus their attention on each step or they would lose balance and fall into my arms. They had to use the immense power of the conscious mind in order to take one simple step.
Something that just days before had been an easy, automatic activity, was now tedious and difficult.
And it was here in the hallways of a hospital that I fell in love with the brain.
What a miraculous instrument. This organ allows you to walk down the street while talking on the phone and sipping your coffee at the same time.
The way it does this is by laying down neural networks that become automatic. The reason you don’t have to think about walking is that that function– along with many others like breathing– is under the control of the subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind is a wonderful piece of machinery. It literally frees your conscious mind— the part that is aware and has wishes, desires, creativity– to do all the high-level thinking. It would take me many years to realize that the subconscious is not just responsible for automatic, learned movements like walking.
It’s also here that your deepest held beliefs are wired.
So in the same way that you’re not consciously aware of walking, you’re also likely unaware of repetitive thoughts such as “I am unworthy”, “I am poor”, or “I don’t deserve love”.
These thoughts become so ingrained from early childhood that you think them as easily as walking down the street. And these automatic thoughts can bring you a lot of struggle and pain in life. Here’s why.
The subconscious mind is a powerhouse.
The thoughts in your subconscious mind shape your reality much more strongly than the ones you generate in your conscious mind.
Scientists use the image of an iceberg to illustrate the difference between the conscious and subconscious minds. The tip of the iceberg that is above water represents the conscious mind. And the rest of the iceberg– the significantly larger portion that is submerged– represents the subconscious mind.
When you look at an iceberg on the horizon, the part you see is only a tiny portion of the whole. And make no mistake: the submerged part holds more weight.
Here’s an example of how this plays out in life.
Suppose you want more money. Let’s say you even talk out loud in front of a mirror to reinforce the affirmation. “I want more money”. Realize that you can repeat this mantra a thousand times but if your subconscious mind holds the thought “I am poor”, this is what you will keep materializing in your reality.
You will keep manifesting a lack of money, no matter what you consciously say or think.
So what do you do? How do you change these subconscious thoughts that may be sabotaging you?
You do the same thing my stroke patients did while relearning to walk: practice.
Rewiring the subconscious mind
Practicing essentially means that you repeat the movement or thought you want until it becomes automatic.
You rewire your subconscious mind. In my experience, there’s a 3-step sequence I use for subconscious rewiring that is simple and effective.
1- See the pattern.
Seeing is always the first step. To see means that you bring to your conscious mind that which was previously subconscious.
For my patients, that meant they first had to understand consciously that they couldn’t walk as they did before. They had to accept where they were in the present moment.
The same holds true for a subconscious thought such as “I am poor” or “I am unworthy”. You use the power of your awareness to see that thought.
You bring the thought into your conscious mind.
2- Refocus your attention.
Once the subconscious thought sees the light of your awareness, you can now literally rewire it.
You divert your attention to what you want. Using the “I am poor” example, you focus not on the thought itself but on what you want. You plant a seed in your subconscious mind that is completely opposite to that thought.
“I am abundant”. Look in the mirror and repeat it. “I am abundant”. Feel the truth of that statement in every cell of your body.
“I am abundant”.
Don’t just say those words or think them. Saying something is easy.
The trick is that you feel this truth with your entire being. You can see, smell, taste, and touch abundance. Every single time you focus your attention on this new seed, this new thought, you’re allowing it to sprout.
The awareness of your conscious mind is like the sun shining on a seed.
3- Practice gratitude.
If awareness is like the sun shining on a seed, gratitude is the water that’s also essential for it to sprout. Awareness and gratitude work together.
Be grateful for what you have now. Be grateful for where you are now.
I vividly remember how gratitude played out for my patients. The ones who accepted what had happened and felt gratitude for being alive had much better outcomes than those who were angry about their situation.
Gratitude literally helped my patients relearn how to walk.
The same can be said for other subconscious patterns too.
Observe. Consciously refocus. Be grateful.
That’s how you rewire your subconscious mind.
Pretty soon, your subconscious mind will think “I am priceless” or “I am abundant” as automatically as it moves your legs while you walk down the street. And that’s how you attract abundance in all its forms.