The Power of the 9yr old within
Imagine a human being was a car…
In this case it’s being driven by Peter, it could be being driven by Petunia or Pauline but in this case it’s Peter.
Peter knows where the car is pointed and he has learnt the skills to drive it there.
Peter is the conscious brain, and is mature enough to understand that there’s social rules, and he’s had enough experience to know how far to bend those and not get into trouble or to cause a smash or a crash.
His car is pretty much where it should be on the road surrounded by slower, faster, bigger and smaller vehicles, and it’s a not too expensive, not too cheap car, that doesn’t do too much damage to the world, or to Peter’s pocket, and it can go faster if he chooses.
Peter know’s where his car is pointed.
He’s not absolutely positive what will be there when he gets there, but he’s checked the internet site and brochures. He’s spoken to a few people who’ve been there, admittedly a few years ago and for varying reasons from different directions, however, he’s got a pretty good idea it will be worth the trip which should be pleasant and profitable, and, according to google maps, without too many holdups or diversions.
If you were passing Peter and glanced across you’d see a pretty much peaceful and passive Peter
Peter’s car has back seats.
In one of those back seats, behind Peter’s, behind the privacy glass, which is why you didn’t see the nose thumbing, tongue out, sits Paul.
Meet Your Subconscious
Paul or Penny or Pat, but in this case Paul, is somewhere between 9 and 10 years old.
Paul may want to go where Peter’s going because he likes the car, sometimes.
He really likes it when he’s allowed to sit in the front seat next to Peter pressing buttons and turning the radio up – or down, or on to his favourite shows, and opening the window and twiddling with…
But mostly, he’s in the back seat.
Now unlike the radio Paul didn’t come with a volume control or off switch.
Paul did however come with loads of attention getting skills designed to help Paul get what Paul wants and needs.
Sometimes those give Peter what he wants and needs, and then everything is perfect, and a lot of the time… it’s not really.
Are We There Yet
Paul doesn’t really see where the car is pointed, even when he’s in the front because forward, or backwards, isn’t where he’s looking.
Paul is pointed at a place Paul imagines is the place he wants to be, and Paul doesn’t get why he isn’t ‘there yet’.
“Are we there yet?” is Paul’s main mantra and, ‘are we there yet?’, is often punctuated by, “Will there be ice-cream? I want ice-cream! Is that a rabbit? Can we play Eye-Spy? I need a pee… Can we have a rabbit? Will there be ice-cream? I think I feel sick… Are we there yet?”
And unfortunately the back-seat isn’t soundproofed or in a different parallel universe so Peter is always aware of Paul no matter what.
And, sooner or later Peter will stop to buy ice-cream, play eye-spy, buy a rabbit or take that short cut or put the pedal to the metal to get there faster; even though Peter knows if he gets caught he’ll end up with points on his licence and a longer trip overall. . . or even worse…
A Process That Affects All Our Decisions
Inside all of us there is a ‘Paul’ process that affects all of our decisions and dictates most of our responses, relationships, reactions, beliefs and behaviours.
It’s emotional, playful, imaginative, and the basis of our personality and the home of our natural talents, tendencies, traits and tastes.
Probably based around our oldest paleo-mammalian brain the limbic system, what some people call a monkey brain or even way more off the truth, the reptilian brain, it’s pretty much set up by the time we hit pre-puberty around 9 years six months old.
And although it can be influenced, like any 9 year old, it isn’t going to do anything we want it to, if we try to force it.
We call this process, or entity if you prefer, our Mind or Subconscious.
The 9yr old Inside
It really is who we are, and why we are us.
The world is protected from it most of the time because our social, logical, reasonable and constantly maturing cerebral cortex brain, our conscious, is a little like an adult driving a car.
And just like the adult and child, the brain’s main job is to direct and drive while at the same time trying to tell the child why it’s not there yet, and to be quiet please, and to explain to the world why that didn’t work. . .
Emilé Coué, author of the line, ‘every day and every way I’m getting better and better’, called them the Imagination (child), and Intellect (adult), and in his 1921 short and insightful book on how to master the subconscious he said, “If there’s a conflict between the imagination and intellect, the imagination always wins.”
Anyone who’s ever been a parent of a bright 9 year old, knows that the pre-pubescent child is pretty much why they do what they do and the child usually wins.
Oh yes they do – go on – be honest.
Your subconscious has built in skills…
…to get what it wants. Survival and communication skills that go beyond and before mere logical language, they are hard wired in at birth.
The child will execute natural techniques to wheedle the ice-cream, and it’s happiness expressed in chemicals like dopamine and endorphins, noradrenaline, serotonin, is the adults reward, even if it makes the kid explode.
Maturing and growing up, learning to drive, overrides those simple skills with more complex social rules and regulations, so you forget how to just get what you want and need, and we also forget how to just give what others want and need.
Of course, your subconscious skills are still there, and when you let Paul in the front seat, and this time make everything a game and allow Paul to press the right buttons and twiddle the best knobs, then the results are the best rewards.
Brain – Mind
Obviously that’s a metaphor to explain the relationship with the conscious and subconscious process.
Actually the subconscious – and this is lay science so if you’re a neurologist you’ll have to forgive me – is a collection of thought processes. A web of response and reaction and recall mechanisms in our brain we can better think of as our minds.
Obviously if we look at it purely bio-mechanically then one thought looks pretty much like any other. All processes appear the same. Love, hate, anger, fear, lust, are all just chemical and electrical connections between cells.
I think it’s a useful model to think of the conscious and subconscious as the Brain and the Mind and when we do that we get this…
The Conscious organised organ used to think with. It is logical and serious and matures with age. Is reality based Organic organ.
The Subconscious. The process of thinking which is creative, emotive, illogical and often childlike in its simplicity. It may be a separate entity or the produce of a functioning cognitive system. Decides and judges from an internalised perception of reality.
Emile Coué, author of the mantra-like conscious autosuggestion, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”, called them the Intellect and the Imagination, and went on to make the observation that when in conflict, the Imagination always wins.
He wasn’t wrong.