One of our readers wrote
to Adam Khan and asked him this question:
Just a short question about
a book called The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy. Have you ever
read it, and if so what do you think about the basic ideas he
talks about? I read it while I was on a holiday recently and
was very interested in the idea that we share a connected consciousness
and that what we think, and how we think, has a great bearing
on what happens to us.
Here is Adam's reply:
I've never read that particular
book, but I am familiar with Murphy's work. I think many of his
basic ideas are sound. Your thoughts do indeed have a great bearing
on what happens to you. I no longer try to influence my subconscious
mind, though, and I'll tell you why. I think Murphy is right.
I think there is a subconscious mind (a mind that has more knowledge
and a different way of thinking than the conscious mind). And
I think the subconscious has powers that can be influenced by
my conscious mind. But the whole process and the results are
hard to see. They aren't tangible enough for my tastes. Did I
or did I not influence my subconscious? Who knows? Am I wasting
my time? And perhaps more importantly, should I listen to it
rather than try to make it listen to me?
Since there are so many
concrete and direct methods I know of that produce definite effects more
methods than I'll ever be able to master in my lifetime I
see no convincing reason to spend time on something that may
or may not be a waste of time. Concrete, direct methods are more
satisfying to apply. The optimism
principle is a good example. You can see it work, it is totally
in your control, and it has a clear outcome. Those kinds of principles
are more satisfying to me. Working with the subconscious mind,
in contrast, always seemed vague and uncertain in its effects.
Would the result have happened anyway? There is no way to tell.
I'll give you an analogy.
I know a young man who drinks wheatgrass juice because he believes
it is good for his health. But he doesn't exercise. The amount
of research on exercise is enormous and it shows that exercise
makes a definite, measurable contribution to good health. The
research on wheatgrass juice is miniscule in comparison, and
what research there is shows only a small health benefit. If
this young man really wants to improve his health, I would recommend
exercise. It is more definite, more concrete, and the effects
are more obvious.
The analogy breaks down
because he could easily exercise and drink wheatgrass
juice. But if he was going to do one or the other, he should
choose exercise. And if I feel my time is limited, I would rather
choose a concrete method sure to produce a result than a method
that may or may not work, and even if it works, that I may not
be able to say was really the cause of the result produced.
I know working with subconscious
ideas is appealing. It is mysterious. It's dipping your toe into
the weird and wonderful. It's fun. But I only have so much time
in my life, and since I can choose how I spend it, my personal
feeling is that applying basic principles is preferable even
if they seem mundane as long as they produce concrete
and clear results.
Here is an example of some
concrete principles. If you want self-improvement, if you want
to have more confidence with people, if you want to improve your
personality, try these and compare them with the more ephemeral
techniques of influencing your personality. I think you'll find
the concrete methods more satisfying.
your relationships easier and more pleasant.
Dealing with troublemakers at work.
Enjoy your work environment more.
more self-confident around people.
Another reader responded
to the above with this:
I read some of the extracts
from your book online. I agree that these are practical methods
that can be useful in some situations. But you are a long way
short of the teachings of Dr. Murphy. I also read the comments
you made about the subconscious mind and Joseph Murphy's work,
and was somewhat confused by them. You say that working with
the subconscious doesn't bring forth tangible results??? It does,
and Dr. Murphy's books are filled with examples of tangible results.
I know from my own work with the subconscious that results come
quickly and are there for all to see. I think the practical methods
you teach are fine but there is a lot more that can be done.
Here is Adam's reply:
Thanks for writing. We're
using the word "tangible" in two different ways. I
agree that when you influence the subconscious mind, you get
results, sometimes extraordinary or seemingly miraculous results.
But was it from your suggestions? Do you know for sure? Would
it have happened anyway? Yes, the result was tangible, in the
sense that it was real and measurable, but how certain is the
line of cause and effect? It may be certain for you if you're
a believer, but for others it might seem like wishful thinking,
and with legitimate reason.
What I meant by tangible
includes that level of reality (concrete results in the real
world) plus the certainty that this cause resulted in
that effect. If I feel upset right this moment and I change
my point of view on what's upsetting me right now and I immediately
feel better, the result is tangible and my confidence is high
that changing my viewpoint was what did it. If I find myself
getting weaker, so I start an exercise program and progressively
lift more weights, I am certain the cause of my strength
is the exercise I did. That's what I mean by tangible. Some methods
produce a tangible, definite result, caused clearly by the method.
I believe it is possible
to cause effects on the subconscious mind and have real effects
on your body and even the world. But I'm also certain that what
works and what doesn't and when it works and to what degree it
works is anything but a sure thing. My argument is that if I
have something I KNOW will work for sure, I would rather do that
than something I am only PRETTY sure will work.
If I had lots of time to
kill and the result I was after wasn't very important to me,
I might use something that "influences my subconscious mind."
Otherwise, I would go for the sure thing.