The subconscious is everything underneath our threshold of awareness in any given moment. It is the layers of memory, learning, and dreams, and also the space of the cultural, mythic, poetic, and archetypal. It is a fluid space linking the conscious to the unconscious.
These deeper layers often get a bad wrap: many fear the subconscious and unconscious as the space where all their fears and worst memories reside. But it is important to remember that these realms are also the infinite reservoir that enlivens us. They are the wisdom that beats your heart without you ever having to try. It is the wisdom of the of the universe in your trillions of cells, unfolding inside you.
You have probably also heard the subconscious described as your "life script", blue print, or map. The subconscious holds the resonance and impressions of all we have learned and all we have come to expect of ourselves, others, and the world. We accomplish the expectations of the subconscious perfectly, even when we might consciously want it to be otherwise. The draw back of this power is that we often live out story lines and emotions long after they have been helpful. The benefit, however, is that - as we shift the subconscious to new understandings - we will be equally powerful in accomplishing the new map.
Too often, we get frustrated when the conscious mind seems to fail us - when self-help, will power, or cognitive understanding are not enough. It is a relief to know the concept of the subconscious. When cognitive processes, alone, don't work, it is not your fault
We come to therapy or yoga when shadows arise. Feelings of mismatch between cultural entrainment and what we feel to be true, between low-self esteem and a deep knowledge that we deserve more, or between the memory of a long-term illness and the decision for greater health - all of these signal the the impetus to learn, grow, and change. Movement, energy work, hypnotherapy, and talk therapy give opportunity to communicate with the subconscious in a conscious way, building new expectations and bringing to the forefront all the strengths that were always there.
We may use movement or therapy to heal, or we may use it to expand and reinforce our joy. Regardless the goal, these are means to unite the powers of our conscious, subconscious, and unconscious bodymind. Allowing us to feel more of the vastness of our existence, and all that we really are.
In long lineages of religion and philosophy, the body has been seen as separate from the mind and spirit and the body has often been given a bad wrap. It is seen as unimportant, as a place of sin or "weaknesses of the flesh", or the place of emotion and sensation as an obstacle to reason. Spirituality and psychology - as they may have been handed to us - often contain a disregard for the body, a mechanization, a shaming, an objectification of it, or all of the above. It makes sense that we might want to avoid the body as it is the place of pain and death, however it is also the location of goodness. For these reasons, healing as a process of coming into a deeper wholeness, usually involves a shift in our relationship to our body and physical reality in general.
The basic truth is that our body is the foundation for everything in life. Without the health of this body, no spiritual or practical efforts are possible. The state of the body is also the lens we look through. We see the world through different eyes depending on the interpretations and associations in our bodies and nervous system. The health of the body is profoundly connected to the psychology and understanding ecology of body, mind, spirit, and nature gives a greater potential to heal than models that see the body as something to be used. To care for the health of our physical body represents a respect and commitment to our own lives. And, taking steps to better care for our physical health often takes us into considerations that are deeply spiritual.
Though it might sometimes seem easier to take the "spiritual bypass" and jump over the often hard work of physical life, there is deep work in being who you are. While you may also believe that your deepest self is beyond the details of your name, face, age, experience, gender, sexuality, location - in order to connect to that deep self, we must fully live our details with discernment and integrity. This is the responsibility of incarnation - you were born in a specific place, at a specific time, with all the perfect details.
Integrating the body and physical reality may mean exercising, eating in a way that respects you better, or moving in a way that gives you joy. It might mean taking action on what you said you'd do, getting honest as to what you feel over and over again, or cleaning up earth life of finances, relationships, space, and time. Therapeutically, integrating the body would mean extending from cognition into feeling and doing. It would mean understanding that the psychological cannot be separated from the social, environmental, and political.It might mean utilizing the subconscious and the wisdom of the body through image, feeling, brain technology, or state shift. It may be that you are physically doing the best you can and need to shift a belief or inner narrative to allow you to experience the results of your efforts.
At the heart of it, a respect for the body is respect for the mystery of life and the fact that you are here. Just as we must learn to let go when it is time, we must learn to live fully while we are alive. To let ourselves act and interact with passion and courage. To let ourselves feel.
Spirit, consciousness, soul, energy, essence - everyone understands and defines these words in different ways, yet most do have some sense that there is a part of us which transcends, or extends beyond, the body. This sense could take the form of a belief in a soul which goes on after the physical body, or simply a belief in the capacity of to rise above any given circumstance and have hope even in the most hopeless situation. It could be the power of the imagination to come up with a new idea, or project back to remember the past, or forward to design a future. Transcendence has been described by many cultures through out time. And - though soul, spirit, essence - exists in a realm that likely cannot be proved - points to the so valuable knowing that, "I am more than this".
Perhaps not enough importance has been given to the invisible realms of life. Things that cannot be measured and cannot be seen or touched in the classical sense. But these unseen worlds are essential to life - dreams, imagination, archetypes, and a sense of being supported and guided by a larger matrix than just one mind - to bring these back, brings back a wholeness and a largeness.
There is the thought that, "you are not your body, mind, or emotions" that - though we need to do what we can to work with these physical elements wisely - they do not define us and they do not have to confine us. Perhaps you believe that you are an immortal soul having a human experience, or perhaps you've felt your troubles melt away when reminded of a transcendent power of beauty or love. It simply does seem that, sooner or later, your soul wins. And there is tremendous healing potential when we widen our view, become associated with our largeness, and know that this moment is just one stitch in an infinite tapestry.