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Ruth L Miller is an eclectic scholar with degrees in many fields of science and the social sciences and is ordained as a New Thought minister - because she keeps on seeking answers to the fundamental questions that make it possible for the spiritual beings we call humanity to live well and in harmony on this planet for generations to come.

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What’s the difference between “unconscious” and “subconscious” mind?

You have every reason to be confused! Most of the writers talking about consciousness and metaphysics over the past hundred + years have been vague at best, and often confused themselves about the differences.

I’ve chosen Carl Jung’s model as being the clearest description. He said that only part of the mind is actually conscious, that is, aware of itself and its current environment. That part is our “personal awareness” or “conscious mind.” The rest of the mind is the “unconscious mind.” It has 2 aspects: the “subconscious mind”. which deals with fears, distressing emotions, and the body functions; and the “superconscious mind” which deals with ideals, values, and our experience of divinity. Jung went beyond that to say that both the “subconscious” and the “superconscious” were in touch with a larger mind, which he called the “collective consciousness.” This collective mind is filled with what he called “archetypes” – images and behavior patterns that apparently all people experience, regardless of where or how they grew up. These “archetypes” include the stuff of myths and fairy tales: the handsome prince, the endangered maiden, the earth mother, the wise old wizard, the shining being of light, etc.

Napoleon Hill, Charles Haanel, and others often referred to the “subconscious mind” when they really meant what Jung called the “superconscious.” They were trying to say that there’s a very powerful part of our mind that is hidden from our normal awareness and has access to an even larger mind – and we are “unconscious” of it.

All of them are trying to get us to stop trying to make things work with our normal thought processes, our “conscious mind”, and allow the part of our mind that has access to the infinite intelligence of the “collective consciousness’ (called the “Divine Mind” by some) to take care of things.

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