Do we always know if we are conscious (awareness of attention) at any given moment or are we walking, talking dreamers?
What difference does it make anyway you may ask?
Well, where you allow your attention to sit has incredible impacts on how you interact with the world habitually.
The repeated ‘attending’ to and thinking about various stimulus, as well as our emotions (particularly emotional intensity) and actions create neural pathways that program us to operate automatically much of the time. This is due to the neuroplasticity of the brain and how it changes all of the time dependent on what we consciously experience.
Why is this the case you may be asking?
Well an easy way to think about it is that the BRAIN wants to free up bandwidth for the MIND (which is the brain in action) so that it can operate more effectively. The amount that the conscious mind can attend to at any given time is simply very limited.
The Subconscious Mind
What we understand is that the brain learns something, wright or wrong, good or bad and doesn’t really want to re-learn the same thing again. Thereby automatizing the organism by running many functions and actions subconsciously. Creating habits, responses and beliefs that operate automatically.
If you think about it, did you think about how to dress yourself yesterday? What about your morning routine when you woke up today? Driving a car from A to B, how many times have you not been able to remember the entire drive? Who was actually driving the car?
Questions for you:
Why do you like the foods you do?
Do you put on both socks before your shoes or one sock, one shoe repeat?
Folder or a ‘scruncher’ of toilet paper?
Why are these routine habitual things so??
In fact, it has been found that the brain operates automatically up to 95% of the time that it is operating.
Involuntary parts of humans include our cardiovascular systems and cellular functions for example, which we have little conscious input into.
Intentionally, yes, we can impact such things through choosing to exercise and eat different foods and there in lies the point….
It is both scary and empowering to realise that we are programming ourselves in each moment through our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. That has really positive outcomes for us and also very concerning ones.
Intentional activities including our attention, exercises, practices, routines and habits can have a marked effect on our lives and it all starts with understanding and managing consciousness.
Mindfulness practitioners know the benefit of being in the here and now. Actively taking in the presence of the present moment. The benefits are enormous and pervade ever aspect of our lives.
We are so seriously distracted through technologies, fast-paced multi-tasking (which by the way does not exist and is referred to as ‘switch tasking’) and other competing commitments that it is hard for many people to remain focused and reign in the monkey and reptilian mind (I will cover these in later posts).
A general rule of thumb that we can think about how we program ourselves is as follows:
THOUGHTS + EMOTION + REPETITION + TIME (TERT) = Programmed BELIEFS / ACTIONS.
Ever heard of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Intensely strong Thought (I could die / I am unsafe) + intense Emotion (extreme fear) + Repetition (reliving intense experience) + Time (can be life long). This is an example of TERT in action at the extreme and immediate end of programming.
Who do you CHOOSE to be?
If you understand that what you are attending to (inside your head or in the world), what you say (automatically or consciously) and the practices that direct you will quite literally change your life. CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
We then have to question the beliefs that drive our lives AUTOMATICALLY and UNCONSCIOUSLY. Are they correct, accurate, empowering and life enhancing?
Or, are they disconnecting you from possibilities and a version of yourself or life that is your birth rite?
Understand this, because…. YOU CAN CHANGE THEM!
The point of the matter is this, what you know as ‘truth’ how did you learn it and is it truth?
Do you have any of these that dig away at you ‘behind the scenes’:
- Not good enough.
- Don’t fit in…
- Not loveable…
- Why bother because I couldn’t…
- Too hard because…
- It’s no use as I could never…
- Good things only happen to others…
Where do these ideas come from FFS?!
The key to understanding ourselves better is this:
- The Mind is the brain in action and it runs amok because it is untrained and unmanaged.
- The mind has ATTENDED REPEATEDLY to certain STIMULUS and INTERPRETED STIMULUS in certain ways.
- These interpretations (impressions) are CODED into our BRAINS as being the TRUTH of things and then run on a LOOP AUTOMATICALLY regardless of whether or not it is.
We can all break the shackles of the self-defeating belief systems and develop new ways of living, being and thinking.
The GRIT Positive Psychology motto: Choose Your Mind. Choose Your Life. Choose Your Way. Its all about living consciously.