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March 2019

April 2019

Understanding how our unconscious brain controls our lives

NatureMuch of the dysfunction that runs in families is caused not by a lack of knowledge or education but by a lack of awareness. A conscious person is able to maintain a certain level of awareness in their daily life. There will always be lapses but where there is no awareness (mindfulness) you relate to other people through the conditioning of your mind.

Our unconscious brains consist of primitive instinctual behaviour and information that we cannot access. The unconscious brain is far more powerful than the conscious brain but it can contain loops of behaviour that are not particularly good – such as smoking or over-eating. We need to identify these undesirable behaviours and break the repeating pattern. The only really effective way of doing this is to access the unconscious brain and change the belief/pattern. This can be done through hypnotherapy, meditation and regular (daily) journaling. Just listening to someone or reading a self-help book would be ineffective because the instructions would only be observed by the conscious brain.

One of its main objectives of the unconscious mind is the survival of our physical body. It will fight anything that appears to be a threat to that survival. It also handles all of our basic physical functions (breathing, heart rate, immune system, etc).

The unconscious does not process negatives. It absorbs pictures rather than words. So if you say, “I’m not going to eat any more doughnuts,” the unconscious generates a picture of you eating doughnuts.” We have to switch the picture from the negative to the positive. It is better to tell your unconscious, “I’m going to enjoy eating more salads.”

To protect us, the unconscious stays alert and tries to learn lessons from each experience.  For example, if you had a bad experience giving a talk, your unconscious may choose to lump all of your learning experiences into the “I’m not good enough” category. It will signal you with sweaty palms and anxiety whenever you attempt to do it again. But if you do well in, say organising a cake sale at the local school, your unconscious will remember that “organising cake sales equals success” and you’ll feel positive and energised whenever the opportunity to organise a cake sale comes up.

If you are not consciously aware of the patterns in your behaviour you find yourself in the grip of emotional/mental reactive patterns and beliefs that you observed from your parents (mainly before the age of six) and the surrounding area that you grew up in.

These patterns usually go back countless generations into the distant past. However, if you can identify these behavioural patterns and become aware of these mental, emotional, and behavioural patterns you can make a choice about how to respond to people and situations. If you can connect with your soul (or Self) you can form deeper relationships.

The unconscious is very complicated but even just understanding the basics will help you harness its power.

Read more here on how to introduce more mindfulness into your day. I find that just making myself stop every now and again, and think about what I am doing and why helps me to keep connected with the present moment. Hopefully, this practice can help you too.


Mindfulness and making contact with a moment in time

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is not about creating emptiness, nor is it about producing thoughts. It is about stopping to make contact with the moment, the ever-shifting experience that we are having at any moment in time, and to observe our relationship to that experience.

If you walk in the woods listening to birdsong, you become aware that you are also breathing and having bodily sensations, such as feeling the breeze on your skin. You become aware of objects in your field of vision besides the trees, that there are sounds around you other than the birdsong, that there are thoughts that keep calling you away or making judgments about what you are doing.

Mindfulness means, just as you are about to turn a corner and change direction, you halt your movement and observe, for example, the intention to change direction that is already within you. Saying to yourself ‘I’m going to change direction’ rather than doing it without even noticing.

Mindfulness means making a little space every now and again to see ourselves doing something. You may think that you don’t need to do this in order to change direction. And that is true. However, it may be useful at other times in our lives as it teaches us to be more present in the moment and aware of our surroundings.