Last week, we talked a lot about the power that the unconscious mind has over our conscious mind, and consequently, the main obstacle preventing us from living in love and peace is almost always an unconscious one. Well, that raises an obvious question: if the unconscious mind has power over the conscious, how can our conscious intention to improve ourselves or our lives ever succeed?
I’d like to start today by defining some terms. We’ve all heard of the heart, soul, and spirit, but if you ask most people what they are, they’ll tell you the same for all three. Usually something like “the inner man.” But scripture actually does have distinct and specific meanings for each of them, and these will be important to today’s discussion.
Going from what you might call “the top” down, the spirit is what we would most accurately call the inner man—the immortal part of us that will go on to whatever afterlife awaits us. But we don’t really have much sense of it in this life. The heart, then, is a sort of house for the spirit while it resides within our mortal body. This is why scripture devotes so much time to dealing with matters of the heart (more so than the spirit, mind, and soul combined) because everything we do makes an impression on the heart, and the heart slowly shapes the spirit within it.
But in this life, the heart also determines most of our day-to-day experience. It was King Solomon who said, “Guard your heart above all else, for from it flow all the issues of life,” and he was right. I’ve come to believe that what he calls “the heart” is that same thing that modern science calls the unconscious mind, which recent studies have found mandates much of our decision-making, even suggesting that our conscious will is no more than a posthoc rationalization—though I don’t believe that’s wholly the case. This is what we need to gain some kind of agency over if we’re ever to experience significant change.
Notice I use the word “agency,” not control. The state of our heart will always have more control over us than we have over it, but there is one extremely important decision we can make for it.
Last week, I gave all of you an experiment to try at home. If you don’t remember or didn’t join us last week, it’s basically an exercise where you hold a key on a piece of string above a marker and try to hold your arm still. Then, you visualize moving the key back and forth from one side to the other. When you do this, you’ll notice that the key begins to follow the path you see in your mind, even as you try to hold it steady.
This test isn’t my own invention, but I’ve been using it for over 20 years, always with the same result. Occasionally, someone will try to force the key to stay in the center, to the extent that they’re not really visualizing properly, but once I go over this with them, it ends up the same way. So when my eldest son, Harry, expressed an interest in the test and held his key steady, I naturally assumed that he just wasn’t doing it right.
But I was wrong. He’d added something that had never crossed my mind in all the years I’ve been using this test. See, Harry grew up listening to my teachings, probably a lot more often than he wanted. He’d heard me talk about the power of love over the unconscious mind. That was what made all the difference for me after Hope kicked me out of the house many years ago. Harry reasoned that proving that power would be the most loving thing to do, and by being intentional about holding the key still as a loving intention, he was able to bring out the power of his unconscious mind.
Even though it’s based on my teachings, I probably never would have thought of that—and it does show these principles in motion. If you can, you might try it yourself at home. Just keep in mind that it isn’t enough to theoretically accept holding the key steady as “loving.” You have to really believe it.
If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to think of all the improvements you want to make in your life, all the people you feel love toward, the relationships you want to pour yourself into. This experiment gives you a way to prove that you can really do that. That’s enough reason to hold the key steady in my book, and a loving reason is what makes everything possible.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!