This 1963 classic by Irish-born American minister Joseph Murphy (1898-1981) strongly influenced the New Thought, New Age and self-help movements. Its brief chapters offer a clear, engaging and encouraging treatise on how to lead a better life, forge better relationships, become more prosperous and improve your health. Murphy repeats some points in different chapters, and his vocabulary and reasoning may seem odd or casual. For example, he groups all the functions of the autonomic nervous system as part of the subconscious. Some of his scientific assertions weren’t standard findings when the book came out, and now more of its science has become outdated (well, it’s been a while), so step in for the mindfulness and guidance he offers, not the hard data. getAbstract finds that his philosophical approach will interest anyone with a New Age bent and those seeking calmness through a blending of psychology and spirituality.
- Your mind has two areas of function: the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
- Your conscious mind is rational and makes choices, but it has limitations. Your subconscious is not rational but it’s infinite. It accepts the messages you give it as truth.
- Your subconscious mind controls your autonomic systems and can heal you.
- Your mind-set determines your fate. A wealthy mind-set promotes a life of wealth; a healthy mind-set fosters a vibrant body.
- Many people fail because they try too hard. Your subconscious mind works best when you feel relaxed and full of faith.
- To activate your subconscious, relax, have faith, visualize successfully reaching your goals, repeat affirmation statements and pray.
- Your subconscious mind can solve problems while you sleep.
- Your subconscious can find your “ideal mate” and heal emotional problems.
- Your subconscious can help you succeed and grow wealthy.
- Celebrate old age, a time when you are nearest to understanding the divine purpose. Your subconscious and your spirit don’t age.
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind Book Summary
You have only one mind, but it has two areas with different functions. One part is your conscious mind. That’s your “objective mind,” your waking mind or your “surface” mind. It can make choices. The other part is your subconscious mind. It is your “deep self” and your “sleeping mind.” Your conscious mind can reason. Your subconscious mind doesn’t reason or argue. Your conscious mind is the gardener, but the subconscious is the garden itself. Your conscious mind plants seeds in the subconscious, which blossoms with what you planted.
Principles of the Conscious and Subconscious Mind
You will be happier and more successful if you learn how your mind works. Your conscious mind does the thinking, and its thoughts sink into the subconscious. Your subconscious accepts these thoughts and acts on them. Whatever your conscious thoughts are, they produce a similar result in the subconscious. Think good things, and good will appear in your life. Think bad things, and bad things will appear. The subconscious faithfully and immediately accepts instruction from the conscious mind. Your subconscious stays open “to the power of suggestion.”
“If your thought is in harmony with the creative principle of your subconscious mind, you are in tune with the innate principle of harmony.”
People respond to suggestions differently, depending on their temperament or past experiences. Your subconscious controls how your body functions and what it feels. “Autosuggestion” can get rid of fear, change your temper and restore your memory, or – if you suggest negativity – it can make you ill. Because “negative suggestions” are powerful, monitor these darker messages and counteract them with “constructive autosuggestions.” Your subconscious works with the logic of a “syllogism”: If you accept a “major premise” as valid, your subconscious will function as if conclusions drawn from that premise are valid. Your subconscious may seem paradoxical. It is “all-wise” and can answer your question, however, it doesn’t argue with you. If you program it for limits and self-destruction, that’s what you will get.
“The problem with most people is that they have no invisible means of support.”
More than “90% of your mental life is subconscious.” The subconscious tends toward life. It builds, restores and achieves. It works for the good. While your conscious mind has limits, your subconscious remains “in touch with infinite life and boundless wisdom.” Your subconscious mind exists in a state of harmony, in which being strong and healthy is natural and being sick is “abnormal.” People get sick because they go against life’s currents and think negative thoughts.
“You only have one mind, but your mind possesses two distinctive characteristics.”
For your conscious and subconscious to interact, the nerves corresponding to each must engage and network. The subconscious is an intelligence that cares for your body. When you think constructive, positive thoughts, your subconscious provides the answers you need. If you try to force an answer, you’ll fail. “The principle reasons for failure are lack of confidence and too much effort.” You can’t coerce your subconscious. You must believe. Don’t rely on will power or behave as if you’re facing an enemy or opponent. Imagine moving freely through life and reaching your goals. Confidently ask for help and answers through your prayers.
Emotions, Relationships and the Subconscious Mind
Your subconscious plays a powerful role in your happiness, how you deal with emotion and your relationships with other people. You will be happy once you choose happiness and to the extent that you have faith. Start today. Trust in the divine order to manifest in your life. Trust yourself to overcome weakness and obstacles. Make happiness a habit. Be grateful for all the universe provides. Don’t make your happiness contingent on outside factors, like being rich.
“Your subconscious mind never rests or sleeps. It is always active, controlling all your vital forces.”
Don’t let past injuries or insults block you from being happy now. Once you remove a pain or obstacle, let it go. Don’t let yourself create a situation in which you benefit from illness or unhappiness, like people who enjoy the attention they receive when they are sick. Practice the best inside of you; keep your mind quiet, and express “God’s love” and beauty in all you do.
“Knowledge of the interaction of your conscious and subconscious minds will enable you to transform your whole life.”
Relationship problems arise because people don’t understand the power of the subconscious or how it works. To have a happy marriage, don’t wait until problems arise to solve them. Start before you get married. Understand that for “marriage to be real it must first be on a spiritual basis.” To attract an “ideal mate,” impress a vision of the kind of person you desire on your subconscious. State in the present tense that you are now attracting someone happy, faithful and honest who has the other qualities you desire. If you have a pattern of attracting the wrong person, examine the messages you send your subconscious. Identify negative messages, and replace them with more positive models through prayer and affirmations.
“For anything to have substance in the realm of mind, it must be thought of as actually existing there.”
An authentic marriage must also be “of the heart.” If your hearts aren’t there and can’t be there, divorce is better than a false marriage. If you’re not sure what to do, pray and ask your subconscious for guidance. However, don’t just drift into getting a divorce. Divorce starts in the minds of those involved, when a couple lets their minds fill with negative thoughts that drive out the love and compassion they should have – or once had – for one another.
“Do not make a god of money. It is only a symbol. Remember that the real riches are in your mind. You are here to lead a balanced life – this includes acquiring all the money you need.”
Don’t let this happen. Don’t complain about your spouse to other people, since that reinforces your negative mind-set. Don’t try to change your spouse. He or she will resist, and the resentment will damage your connection. Instead, “pray together.” Follow three rules. First, don’t carry one day’s frustrations over into the next; forgive one another daily. Second, “say grace at breakfast” and express appreciation regularly. Third, take turns praying for your marriage every night.
“Envy and jealousy are stumbling blocks to the flow of wealth. Rejoice in the prosperity of others.”
Your subconscious helps you deal with negative emotions. Life will always forgive you, because “God is life,” and life always expresses divine principles. Act according to those principles. Release grudges. Send love and harmony out into the world. The world will send it back to you. Criticism can’t hurt you unless you accept it with resentment. Find ways to learn from it. Pray for compassion, and practice forgiveness, especially of yourself. If someone hurt you in the past, treat it like a past physical injury. When your body heals, you move on, leaving the pain behind. Do the same with emotional pain. When you understand the role your mind plays in creating happiness, you can stop blaming other people.
The “Universal Healing Principle”
Throughout history, people have witnessed spontaneous, even miraculous, healing. In many cultures, people believed the gods healed them. Sick people went to priests for help, and the priests guided them through rituals and gave them mixtures of herbs or sometimes even stranger palliatives. When these procedures produced healing, the specific herbs didn’t make the difference. Patients didn’t get well because the priests possessed a special connection with the divine. These healers helped believers achieve a properly receptive state of mind. This let them accept suggestions of healing to come. Their own subconscious minds healed them. The specific methods people follow may vary widely, but the same universal healing principle applies to all.
“Your subconscious mind never grows old. It is timeless, ageless and endless.”
To heal yourself, think in the present tense about the result you want. Visualize that you’re healthy now, not that you will be healthy later. Your subconscious treats this as a fact. For your subconscious to heal you, you must have faith. The Bible underscores this principle often: You will receive “according to your faith.” For evidence, note how hypnosis can make people perceive that they have the symptoms of an illness. For instance, you can hypnotize people to believe they are cold, and they will shiver. A faithful subconscious mind produces positive changes in a body.
“Old age really means the contemplation of the truths of God from the highest standpoint.”
To generate healing, apply “prayer therapy,” wherein you synchronize your subconscious and conscious minds. Direct them toward the same goal. Pray positively about achieving it, while trusting in the “infinite power and intelligence” of your subconscious to carry out this healing. Don’t focus on your illness or pain; instead think of the vibrant health that is naturally yours. Visualize your goal, and keep at it until you can see this healthy state clearly. Your subconscious will take this as reality and manifest it within your body.
“Prayer is the formulation of an idea concerning something we wish to accomplish.”
Show yourself a “mental movie” in which you take the desired actions successfully. Repeatedly affirming “universal principles,” and making positive, specific statements of your goals will educate your subconscious. Relaxing into a drowsy state lets your subconscious be more receptive as you repeat your message. Expressing gratitude is useful, as is offering up a person’s name in prayer. It may help to argue against an existing “false belief” you or others are holding.
The “Universal Subconscious”
You spend about a third of your life asleep. Everyone needs six hours a night; many people need more sleep than they get. Sleep deprivation can have extreme effects. When you sleep, more goes on than you realize. Your subconscious stays active, guiding your body as it repairs itself, digests food, and so on. Sleep occurs when your conscious mind shuts down and lets your subconscious counsel you, recharge your spirit and connect your mind with the larger universal subconscious. Systematically relax your body; commit to sleeping peacefully and waking joyfully.
“Prayer therapy is the synchronized, harmonious and intelligent function of the conscious and subconscious levels of mind specifically directed for a definite purpose.”
Sleep helps you solve problems or generate new ideas. Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson had vivid dreams. Before he went to sleep, he asked his subconscious to generate and develop story ideas. A number of well-known scientists used their subconscious minds this way, too. Nikola Tesla never built his inventions before first visualizing them in his imagination. Dr. Frederick Banting had been trying to solve diabetes when – in a dream – his subconscious instructed him where to look for the solution, an answer that led to the creation of insulin. If you would like similar help from your subconscious mind, work on solving your problem with your conscious mind, and as you do, think about how happy you’ll be when a “perfect solution” appears. Ask your subconscious to provide the answer.
Your subconscious determines how you age. If you grow old in your thoughts, your body will follow. If you assume you will be weak and sick, you will be. If you embrace your later years as a time of vitality and wisdom, you’ll enjoy that experience. Your subconscious mind and spirit don’t age. Let them guide you as you grow older. You will be “as young as you think you are.” If you keep dreaming, and remain interested in life, you will remain energetic. Stop dreaming or setting goals, and you’ll grow old. History is full of people who contributed to society into old age or who kept learning: Isaac Newton worked into his 80s, as did the German author Johann von Goethe and the minister John Wesley. The key to successful old age is not exercising frantically to keep up with young people. It is realizing that old age enables you to contemplate divine truths “from the highest standpoint.”
Wealth, Success and the Subconscious Mind
Wealth is an expression of the functions of your subconscious mind. You will not become rich by saying, “I am a millionaire.” You become rich by developing a “wealth consciousness.” If you have a “poverty-type mind,” you’ll find yourself living in poverty. Your subconscious is a continuous font of ideas. It will produce them endlessly, once you believe you deserve wealth.
“Happiness is a state of mind.”
It is your right to be rich. You exist to live a happy and abundant life. Achieving this destiny depends on following the right principles. To be successful, your work must benefit humanity. Wealth doesn’t come from selfish desires. Rather than working for money, choose the work you love doing. If you do what you love, you are a success. Within that activity, specialize. Find a niche within your work, and learn more about it than anyone else. In any business activity, you will succeed if you enlist your subconscious. Always visualize positive outcomes.
Any challenge or problem brings with it solutions. If you can’t see your path through a challenge, trust your subconscious. If a negative habit gets in your way, recognize it as the result of training your subconscious to go the wrong way. Retrain yourself to positive habits. Assume that your subconscious knows what you should do and will reveal the answer. Fill your mind with visions of your goal, and let your subconscious bring it into being. If you desire your goals intensely – as passionately as you want air – you will get them.
About the Author
Joseph Murphy, PhD, (1898-1981), an Irish-born American minister, was director of the Church of Divine Science in Los Angeles for 28 years. He turned it into one of the largest New Thought congregations in the United States. He published 46 books between 1945 and 1987.
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