The Subconscious, the Supernatural and the Self-Help Industrysam
by E.G. Harne
I am both a practioner and student of psychic communications. It is my belief that telepathy, poltergeists, remote viewing, astral projection, etc., have the subconscious as their nexus. The subconscious, in turn, allows us to communicate via the psychic currents that surround us. If we understand how these currents operate and then navigate them successfully, we can optimize our interactions with psychic phenomena and enrich our lives in the process. Oddly enough, one of the greatest proponents of the subconscious as a communications tool with the supernatural is the self-help industry.
Let me begin by throwing down the gauntlet and stating that there is really nothing new in the self-help industry – hasn’t been for ages. It’s just that every decade or so, someone repackages old ideas, foists them upon the public as the next new life changing philosophy and makes a bundle in the process. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because I also believe that if people were to apply the suggestions outlined in many of these philosophies, they would attain some measure of success. What is most interesting about the self-help industry, however, is its reliance on what many would define as the supernatural in order to make our dreams come true.
One of the earliest self-help phrases originates from The Bible, the book of Proverbs, Chapter 23, verse 7, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Now, lest someone call me out on a technicality, let me state for the record that I am well aware that it is a bit of misquote and taken out of context. The fact remains, rightly or wrongly, that it has been used by many religious leaders and self-help gurus as an example of the conscious mind influencing the subconscious in either a negative or positive fashion.
In 1937 author Napoleon Hill’s seminal work, Think and Grow Rich, was published. A book that continues to be a bestseller was instrumental in identifying the supernatural and success as a cause and effect relationship. Hill proffered the following:
“Here is a most significant fact – the subconscious mind takes any orders given it in a spirit of absolute faith, and acts upon those orders, although the orders often have to be presented over and over again, through repetition, before they are interpreted by the subconscious mind.”
Hill also indentified the existence of the Infinite Intelligence, which all of us have the capability of tapping into via our subconscious. He stated that:
“…there is a power, or a First Cause, or an Intelligence, which permeates every atom of matter, and embraces every unit of energy perceptible to man – that this Infinite Intelligence converts acorns into oak trees, causes water to flow down hill in response to the law of gravity, follows night with day, and winter with summer, each maintaining its proper place and relationship to the other. This Intelligence may, through the principles of this philosophy, be induced to aid transmuting desires in to concrete or material form.”
In the chapter Thoughts Are Things, Hill emphasizes that they (thoughts) aren’t just nebulous entities; in fact, they have to the ability to become concrete realities provided we introduce them to our subconscious “in the spirit of absolute faith” through the application of autosuggestion or self-hypnosis.
The induction of hypnosis places an individual into a trance state. This in turn, provides a direct unfiltered route to the subconscious. Because the subconscious cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is not, if we offer it an idea, sometimes even an outrageous one, it will act upon it. This is what happens when a stage hypnotist suggests that a person swat imaginary flies or forget his name. With the individual in a trance, he accepts the suggestion given him – provided it is not against his moral code – and acts upon it.
The hypnotic trance, however, has also been documented as a tool for good. Edgar Cayce, also known as the “Sleeping Prophet,” reportedly went into a semi-conscious state and accessed the “Book of Life” (perhaps another phrase for Infinite Intelligence) and brought back cures for the sick. It should be no surprise then why the self-help industry encourages followers to understand the powerful connections between the subconscious, the supernatural and success.
In 1962, the self-help classic, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, was published. Written by Dr. Joseph Murphy, it built upon Napoleon Hill’s earlier concepts. According to Murphy:
“The infinite intelligence within your subconscious mind can give you everything you need to know about at every moment of time and point of space provided you are open minded and receptive.”
Sound familiar? Murphy provides many success quotes from no less an authority than the Bible. From Mark 9:23:
“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
And from Matthew 21:22: “Whatsoever ye shall ask for in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
I emphasize this point not in a spirit of jest, but to focus on the fact that self-help requires both a belief in our innate psychic abilities and recognizing the importance of communicating with a higher power to succeed.
In the 1980s and 90s, Tony Robbins burst on the self-help scene with two bestselling tomes, Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within. Charismatic and outspoken, Robbins emphasized that change within us could happen immediately. He believed – and demonstrated – that this could be accomplished by the application of Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP. This seemed to be departure from earlier self-help programs, but in reality it was not.
NLP had its roots in the teachings of Dr. Milton Erickson. Erickson was a psychiatrist and hypnotist adept at inducing a trance state in his patients via something called conversational hypnosis. He eschewed traditional hypnotic induction methods, believing the subconscious was always listening and that a person could be put into a trance through indirect suggestion. Now my purpose here not to engage in an in-depth discussion about Erickson’s methods, but I think it is important to note that a significant portion of Tony Robbins’ self-help program dealt with hypnosis, trance and suggestion, albeit with a tad more sophistication in its execution.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that the supernatural also figured into Robbins’ philosophy. In Awaken the Giant Within he states:
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible – the foundation of all success in life. It’s as if infinite
Intelligence will fill any mold you create using the impression of your intensely emotional thoughts.
Today, the supernatural continues to influence the self-help industry. There are far too many practioners to mention here, but their collective spirit is embodied in the book The Secret, written by Rhonda Byrne. In a nutshell, “the secret” involves The Law of Attraction:
“…like attracts like, so when you think a thought you are also attracting like thoughts to you.
“Thoughts are magnetic, and thoughts have a frequency. As you think thoughts, they are sent out into the Universe, and they magnetically attract all the things that are on the same frequency. Everything sent out returns to the source – you.”
The Secret is more or less a retelling and repackaging of concepts originally introduced by Hill and Murphy. Some of the terminology has changed; the Creative Process has replaced Autosuggestion while the Universal Mind has been substituted for Infinite Intelligence. But the fact remains that the supernatural remains a powerful force in the universe for human change.
It is a rather odd dichotomy that we have within us the ability to tap into an external force that can provide the answer to any question; to see across time and space; to interact with loved ones who have passed over; to help a lost soul find her way to a peaceful and loving place. The answers have been available to us forever. We need to stop looking and start doing. Unfortunately, we continue to run in circles, hoping desperately to locate one last tidbit of information that will unlock all of life’s mysteries.
In The Secret, author Byrne notes in one of her Secret Summaries that “Your thoughts become things.” As I mentioned earlier, over 70 years ago Think and Grow Rich had a chapter entitled “Thoughts are Things.” The more things change the more they remain the same.
E.G. Harne is a metaphysical consultant and writer who is currently researching a book on psychic communications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org