Each day as I walk to the park, I encounter a pile of rusty nails laying haphazardly directly in my path.
Steering the stroller to the side to avoid them, I realize they have been raked up at least twice over the past few months. I have seen the rake marks in the dirt and for a small time the nails disappear.
Soon, however, they start popping up through the soil again. Interesting. They just won’t go away. Someone must have buried them deep in the dirt long ago and they just keep re-surfacing.
As my feet continue down the path I think more about those pesky rusty nails.
Rusty nails seem to be a common occurrence in a place we don’t often think about: our subconscious mind. You see, our subconscious has a voice. It speaks loudly, so loudly it controls us without us even being aware of it.
An example of the power on the subconscious mind
In Thou Shall Prosper, Rabbi Daniel Lapin tells the story of a man with a lame arm. He had been in the war and ever since returning, his arm had ceased to work.
He had seen doctors and had tried multiple avenues to find healing. In desperation he contacted his rabbi (Daniel Lapin’s father) in a last effort to find some source of encouragement for his mystery injury.
After weeks of talking, the same scenario kept coming up. It uncovered something very interesting.
The man kept coming back to a time in the war in which he and his best buddy had been in charge of manning a machine gun to hold off the oncoming enemy. He had been in charge of shooting and his best buddy was beside him feeding the bullets into the gun.
During one especially intense battle, his buddy got hit. The man now had to load and shoot the gun by himself as his friend lay wounded beside him. With bullets whizzing and the enemy so close he could see their eyes, he grasped the gun and bullets with both hands and shot blindly into the waves of people before him.
At this moment his buddy cried out to him for a drink of water to wet his parched throat. He was aghast. He had no hands with which to help his friend! So, he told him to wait a moment.
Soon the whistling bullets ceased. The man let go of the gun and grabbed the canteen of water. Turning to his friend he quickly realized it was too late! His friend had died.
As the rabbi and the man talked through the details of the horrible scene moment by moment, something emerged. The man realized there had been a way he could have used his one arm to man the gun and reached the canteen of water to quench his friends thirst with the other arm.
They slowly unraveled the layers of unresolved guilt he hadn’t even known were there. They talked through what his responsibility had been during these intense moments of war. As they continued their talks over a couple of weeks time, slowly the man’s arm returned to normal.
The rabbi was hailed as a healer. He quickly rebuffed the declarations pointing out the answer simply lied in unearthing the deep secrets often held in our minds.
This man only needed help aligning his subconscious thoughts with his actual thoughts. His subconscious knew something his mind did not. And you can never lie to the subconscious.
It knew he could have helped his friend with the one arm and was therefore punishing it with the guilt which had never been addressed.
How the subconscious mind plays out in life
I tell this story because I equate these ares in our subconscious minds to rusty nails. Unless they are addressed, dug up, and worked through, they keep re-surfacing. And, like rusty nails, they are dangerous!
They are powerful and determine, more than anything, where we end up in life.
We all have rusty nails in some form which need to be removed. They say things like, “I always fail.” “I will never be successful.” “I will never have much money.” I am digging my own out as we speak. After-all, rusty nails need to be thrown away!
Everyone’s rusty nails are different. Each has a message and though we might say different words with our mouths, our subconscious will always win. So, if it truly believes the opposite, we cannot succeed.
If it could render a normal arm useless for the man in the story, what else could it do?
The important part is actually seeing the rusty nails, digging them up, and placing new dirt in the area where they dwelled for so long. There is great joy and healing that comes from getting rid of the rusty nails.
Question: Rusty nails ever pop up in your life?