Every moment of life is experienced either consciously or unconsciously. And in a very real way, we can choose to live either with our eyes open or closed. In the book Alice in Wonderland, Alice finds herself confused by a fork in the road that requires her to ask a mysterious Cheshire cat she finds nearby which path she should take. After doing so, the cat asks where she’s going to which she admits that she doesn’t even know. It then says smartly, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there.”
And so it is with life. If you aren’t making conscious decisions regarding the life you want to live and the things you want to accomplish, directions are meaningless because your desires are unconscious to you. The road you take will not matter if you don’t know where you intend to arrive. With this being the case, it truly is vital for our development to consciously determine what we want in life, where we wish to arrive, and what we think is worth our conscious attention.
After all, the person that each of us develops into has everything to do with the behavior we choose to include in the scope of our conscious awareness. For instance, let's say you set a goal to run a marathon but you never confront the difficulty of consciously pushing past the point of being tired. Were this the case, it’s unlikely you would ever achieve a goal as lofty yet realistic as that. But, were you to take the time to learn how to consciously navigate your actions, even a goal like running a marathon suddenly becomes accessible.
And so it is with everything in life. This is why I think it’s important to understand the relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind because every success in life is contingent on the way we enter into a conscious state of mind. The more territory you are able to add in the conscious realm, the more likely you are to navigate the type of life you want.
It’s also important to keep in mind that anything the conscious mind doesn’t steer, the subconscious mind will govern by default. So, by not guiding your conscious attention toward the things that you truly value, those things will enter into the realm of the subconscious mind, which is risky because it’s guided by instincts rather than self-awareness. You want to live a life you want not a life that feels comfortable or one that you unconsciously fall into.
I’ve learned from lucid dreaming as well as a few other passions I’ve practiced in life that the relationship you establish between your conscious and subconscious mind is a powerful one and that the conscious mind can adopt any necessary responsibilities that you want under its control, even in the subconscious territory of dreams. It always takes work to make a subconscious thing conscious but it truly is necessary for anyone seeking success.
So, how do we make a subconscious thing conscious? I believe that three things need to happen in order to do this on any level.
1 - Observe the thing or behavior you want to make conscious:
The simple act of observing is the seed you plant before making an unconscious thing conscious. It is merely the act of opening your eyes that allows this process to begin. In alcoholics anonymous, for instance, addicts, first learn to identify their unconscious actions by admitting that they truly are addicted. And why? Because change is not possible if you do not recognize the fact that a change needs to be made. So observe those changes that you want in your life but be realistic with yourself. Dig deep inside to identify what you honestly are happy with and what you truly need to change in order to be happy. Oftentimes, you’ll be surprised by the transformational changes the simple act of observing can inspire.
2 - Determine the way you want to handle that behavior:
Once you’ve identified the thing you want to change, get idealistic for a minute. Carefully consider what the ideal way of living your life would be. Do you want to travel? Do you want to fall in love? It’s sometimes tempting to lie to ourselves about this kind of stuff because it suggests that work needs to be done and certain changes will need to be made and that can be scary, but just remember, you can’t let your unconscious fears determine your future. Once these realizations have been made, consider the types of actions that are necessary to get you to where you want to be. If you want to run a marathon, start planning how much you need to run each day.
3 - Practice consciously behaving that way:
After reflecting on things for a while, it should become a lot more obvious what you've been doing to keep you in the situation you're in. But once you've become conscious of the type of behavior that will lead you toward your destination, you need to put in in practice. For instance, if you were to realize that you were unhappy with your social life and that a change needed to be made there in order for you to begin developing a healthy circle of friends, you then need to start behaving in a way that is conducive to that type of result. If you want friends, but you’re constantly staying home watching Netflix, sadly, you probably won’t ever achieve the social life you want. Continuing on with this example, if you want friends, reach out to other people, talk to strangers, rekindle past friendships.
As you start behaving consciously, you will slowly start to see that your behavior is creating the reality you want. This is the power of conscious living. The relationship you develop with your subconscious mind truly is one of the most important things to be aware of as you strive to develop as a human being.
You might be wondering what this has to do with lucid dreaming. In a lot of ways, you can look at life through the same lens as you might your dreams. Your dreams are unconsciously driven by default but how much cooler are dreams when we take conscious control of them. I really think it's the same principle in life. You can live a lucid life, or you can live your life unconsciously. It all comes down to the relationship you develop between your conscious and subconscious mind.