The unconscious mind may be our most valuable asset. It is the ultimate solution generator and co-creator of million-dollar ideas, works of art and music, and spectacular architectural designs.
Elmer Green, well-respected biofeedback developer and researcher of higher states of mind, developed a process he called “interrogating the unconscious mind.” While in a relaxed state of mind, he frequently asked his unconscious for answers to math problems. He often found that in this state, spontaneous imagery popped into his mind that helped him solve problems.
For example, he received astounding information that helped him answer a math problem that had been unsolved by experts for 100 years, and published the findings in the journal Science. Green believed that asking the unconscious mind for information while in a state of flow gives us access to a kind of mental library that contains all of the knowledge and information in the universe.
Here’s an interesting experiment: if you want to find a book in your personal library, sit in a chair among the books and ask your unconscious mind to show you where it is. Without putting pressure on yourself, relax and peruse your bookshelf. Often you will suddenly notice the book title.
Access The Creative Mind By Being In A State Of Flow.
Lee Zlotoff, producer and writer of the popular MacGyver television show in the 1980s, discovered that flow could help him when he needed to access his creativity to develop scripts quickly. MacGyver was a non-violent action hero and always solved problems with simple tools and a presence of humor and humility.
After the series ended, the character’s popularity soared and became a global meme for turning “what you have into what you need.” Zlotoff accidentally discovered a powerful tool when he took his mind away from a problem by relaxing while taking a walk or a shower, only focusing on the present moment.
Several hours later creative ideas would emerge that would help him write the next script. He learned that his unconscious mind would always come up with new ideas. Zlotoff received new ideas from the unconscious where much information is accessed. He demonstrated one more time how anyone from any profession or walk of life has access to the creative mind from being in a state of flow.
Take an Incubation Break
When you need a new idea or to re-work some creative project, it is useful to take a break from the work itself and completely change your environment. By getting into nature and listening to music or exercising, you alter your awareness. When you interrupt your worrying about a solution, you let go of your struggle and move into a trance state of narrowed focus, or flow.
The unconscious mind is essentially an idea incubator, constantly processing information and formulating new solutions to the problems that occupy your conscious mind. Incubation breaks, however, allow the unconscious mind to super speed new ideas without the interference of worry or fear that you won’t come up with something new.
In fact, you never have to worry that your unconscious won’t give you solutions. The key is to get out of your own way by taking the mind into a calm state by taking a shower or a walk in the park. When you use this approach, you avoid worry and the tendency to force things to happen. The mind will give you plenty of ideas to solve most problems.
Over the last 10 years, there have been many studies done on incubation to enhance problem-solving. The results across the board have shown that unconscious associative processing has a generative power to bring disparate ideas, past experiences, and connections together to form new ideas.
People often approach problems with limited information or trial and error approaches, and these tactics block the ability to think outside the box. A time of intense study is required in your area of expertise followed by letting go of the outcome you hope for.
When you discover that everything you ever learned or experienced is recorded at the unconscious level, you begin to appreciate your available reservoir of internal resources that will put ideas together you could never have come up with consciously. With practice, when you enter flow, and at the same time achieve the whole brain state, worry disappears.
Simple Process to Receive Guidance from Your Unconscious
You can solve any problem and keep the flow state activated by following this protocol:
Begin the incubation process by occupying the conscious mind on something else without thinking about the problem. Ask a question of your unconscious mind and write it down. This might entail asking for new ideas for a creative project or a book or for guidance regarding a decision.
Spend several hours or wait until the next day to see what pops into your mind.
Ask your unconscious mind to give you the information when the time is appropriate. You may notice that some news article catches your attention or you have a fascinating dream. The information comes in a variety of ways.
Peak Performance in the Flow State
Jeffrey Fannin and Joe Dispenza found their advanced workshop students had similar flow state experiences when they worked with them in open focus training. This is the practice of focusing on space in a meditative state, that creates the whole-brain mental state. [You Are The Placebo, Joe Dispenza]
Christopher Bergland, science writer and extreme athlete who investigates the zone state in performance, identified a state of extreme flow that he calls “superfluidity,” which he believes is the source of his real breakthroughs in ultimate performance. This is a state that is episodic and harder to come by, but once you experience it, you will find endless energy and feel completely unified with the activity. This experience only shows up after much mental and physical training so you must develop skills to operate from a state of mastery.
Bergland mused about whether we could plug into a universal source of energy available to all of us. He noted that his experience was like the description in Ecstasy in Secular and Religious Experiences by Marghanti Laski, who found that the triggers for this intense flow state were found in nature around water, trees, dusk, sunrise, and bad weather. Flow frequently occurs when we place ourselves in more natural environments.
Energy Fields From the Heart and Brain
The Institute of HeartMath in California, interested in brain and heart communication, researched and measured energy fields that extended from the heart and the brain of every human. They found that these two organs influence each other and apparently have electromagnetic, electrical, and perhaps some unidentified energy fields that flood every cell in the body.[The Coherent Heart]
The brain’s energy is enormous, but the heart’s magnetic energy field is 500 to 5,000 times bigger than the magnetic field of the brain. This means that not only are our own bodies bathed in interacting energy fields, but when we are around others, our fields are interacting. This means when you enter flow, you invite others around you to share the state.
When you turn off worry by shifting into flow, your fields extend further from the body. Science is discovering that the state of flow may be a bridge to that higher connection and potentially activates advanced human abilities. It is the path toward mastery of your mind, body, and biology,
When you practice flow, you open yourself to a life of no regrets. In our clinical work we found that it is possible to create a new self, almost without worry. When you spend time focusing on developing the best version of your self, you have greater possibilities in a future you most want to experience. This is your personal peak performance: life.
Your mind holds the secret code to living a worry-free life. Because you take your mind with you no matter where you are, changing your outer circumstances rarely changes your state of mind. But learning how to achieve a healthier mental state is the key to mental and physical peace.
Life mastery is the ultimate goal that completely changes your experience in the world. By managing your physiology, by controlling attention, through shifting your breathing, or refocusing your attention, and practicing the brain change tools we’ve discussed ultimately dissolves inner tension and allows you to enter the whole brain state in coherence. When you are in balance and flow, you’ll feel no fear or worry. You’ll operate from an inner state of calm peacefulness, and transform yourself. You positively influence others, your business, and your spirit.
You can live your life not only free from worry, but also beyond the old uncomfortable and often debilitating states into a more creative, productive, and with practice, ultimately a more satisfying reality.
Exciting? Accept our invitation to live with a worry-free mind.
©2017 by Carol Kershaw, EdD and J. William Wade, PhD.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, The Career Press.
1-800-CAREER-1 or (201) 848-0310. www.careerpress.com.
The Worry-Free Mind: Train Your Brain, Calm the Stress Spin Cycle, and Discover a Happier, More Productive You
by Carol Kershaw, EdD and Bill Wade, PhD.
About the Authors
Carol Kershaw, EdD, is a clinical psychologist and international trainer in clinical hypnosis and brain-based psychological transformation. She is board certified in neurofeedback and holds the status of fellow. Dr. Kershaw is the author of The Couple’s Hypnotic Dance and coauthor of Brain Change Therapy: Clinical Interventions for Self-Transformation, as well as many professional articles.
Bill Wade, PhD, is licensed in Texas as both a professional counselor and marriage and family therapist, and has maintained a therapy practice for more than 30 years. He has presented workshops throughout the United States and abroad in clinical hypnosis, brain-based transformation, and meditation. Dr. Wade is coauthor of Brain Change Therapy, and the husband of Dr. Carol Kershaw. Visit their website at http://drscarolandbill.com/