My earlier posts Before the Imprint—An Idea Evaded the Conscious Mind Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 presented a number of ways that ideas may slip past the conscious mind and into the subconscious mind. If you haven’t already read those posts, then please do so before continuing as this post builds on concepts presented earlier. This post reviews some of the more powerful sources of imprints.
An imprint is an idea that has been permanently impressed upon the subconscious mind. It is a memory of how to do something. We are a collection of memories. Everything that we do, we do from the memories of things learned in the past. We cannot do something for which we have no learning, and we cannot “not-do” something as well. We are “do-ers” by nature, always in motion even while at rest.
A memory is an idea that has been implicitly learned. The idea may have been learned in response to internal or external circumstances, or from sources of real or imagined origin.
Once something is learned
1) Repeated use of it makes it easier and easier to act in the same way;
2) It cannot be unlearned or erased from memory. Although it can fade and degrade over time through lack of use or aging. As the saying goes—use it or lose it;
3) It is only possible to modify it by relearning, revising or replacing.
Many sources of imprints are transitory in nature. They exert their strongest influence on us during certain periods of our development as we grow to adulthood.
From birth up until the age of about seven our earliest primary imprints come from our immediate family: parents, grandparents, close aunts and uncles, nannies, baby sitters, etc. Family makes the strongest impression on us for all of the obvious reasons: close proximity, frequency of contact, and their god-like guardianship over us.
When we start going to school our world expands and authority figures outside of the family make up the next group of imprint sources. Mom and dad continue to have a significant but diminishing influence on us as we experience other authority figures outside of our immediate family. Secular and religious teachers have significant influence up until the age of 13 years. These are the years when we may notice that our parents are not as perfect and all-knowing as we once thought they were.
We become more independent during our teen years leading up to 21 years old, earlier authority figures have lessening real-time influence on us, but we begin identifying with ethnic or peer groups which exert strong influence. This is the time when someone might become drawn—as if overnight—to a subculture. Media, if it is of a type to resonate with a peer group, can have an especially powerful influence.
As we physically mature our mind becomes more resistant to imprint sources. The conscious mind fully develops and it can prevent unwanted ideas from reaching the subconscious mind.
While there are many sources of imprints in our lives it takes some catalyst to make an idea stick, some driving force or energy to push the idea past the conscious mind’s defenses and into the subconscious mind. Sometimes the catalyst itself can be the imprint source. Strong emotions, especially fear, can carry ideas to the subconscious mind. In fact, an idea accompanied by any intense emotion, or range of emotions, has a good chance of becoming imprinted.
An emotion-link is a preexisting emotional relationship between a source and a recipient. The emotion-link pre-sensitizes us, so to speak, to imprinting. An idea delivered emotionally through an emotion-link is charged with enough energy to imprint. Consider, for example, an idea repetitively delivered by an authority figure in an emotion-charged and hurtful way, such as, a mother saying to her son “You are no good and worthless—just like your father!” Imagine the complex mix of emotions the son might experience: shock or outrage at the news that his mother believes his father is no good and worthless, embarrassment for being condemned as no good and worthless, fear from the belief that his mother is correct, and anger for being yelled at.
If emotion is the imprint super highway, then repetition is dial up. Where emotion is loud and in your face, repetition can be stealthy and subtle. Don’t underestimate repetition.
Repetition of any internal or external idea may eventually cause an imprint. The idea doesn’t need to be pleasant, true or welcomed to imprint. Television repetitively and tirelessly delivers all sorts of ideas to its watchers who may be receptive while viewing. In addition, television show personalities and cartoon characters can seem like authority figures to young viewers.
Over a lifetime imprint sources come and go and yet some persist throughout our whole lives. Once an imprint is made it remains active forever unless it is revised or replaced. Self-hypnosis along with hypnotic techniques and methods provide a way to repair negative imprints made on us in earlier life and to prevent negative imprints from being made on us now and any time in the future.