Our brain is the result of time and evolution. Our brain is not your brain and my brain, but the brain of mankind. ─ Neuroscientists have been searching for signs of consciousness in electrical brain activity for decades. These signs could determine whether minimally conscious or anesthetized adults are aware, and when consciousness begins in babies.
When an adult sense or detects something like a moving object, the vision center of the brain activates, even if the object is moving too fast to notice. When the object remains in the visual field for long enough, the signal travels from the back of the brain to the prefrontal cortex, which holds the image in the mind long enough to notice.
There is a spike in brain activity when the senses first notice something, and another signal, the “late slow wave” when the prefrontal cortex receives the message. The entire process takes less than one-third of a second.
The “autopilot” subconscious mind
The subconscious mind performs many functions for us, most of which we’re unaware of. The subconscious mind takes care of our body. It helps heal us when we have an injury or contract a disease. If a bone is broken, it joins the bone back together again. If we’ve been cut, it reduces the flow of blood to the wound, plugs and coagulates the area to stop the bleeding, and then sends white blood cells to the area to destroy any germs that may have entered through the wound.
Our subconscious also regulates our body’s involuntary functions, such as breathing, circulating blood through our body and oversees digestion and elimination. It also protects us from traumatic memories when necessary, and brings back those memories when we’re ready to be healed.
The idea of the subconscious as a powerful or potent agency has allowed the term to become prominent in New Age and self-help literature, in which investigating or controlling its supposed knowledge or power is advantageous.
In the New Age community, techniques such as autosuggestion and affirmations are believed to harness the power of the subconscious to influence a person’s life and real-world outcomes, even curing sickness. Skeptical Inquirer magazine criticized the lack of falsifiability and testability of these claims. The subconscious mind stores all your previous life experiences, your beliefs, your memories, your skills, all situations you’ve been through and all images you’ve ever seen.
Intuition and Imagination
Anything you can imagine can come into being. Your imagination is the seed of your genius. Every great artist, philosopher, and inventor learned to utilize their imagination through their subconscious mind. Your imagination can be used for creating wonderful things. But there’s also a flip side. If we allow our imagination to be ruled by fear, negative results can occur–because our fearful imaginings can also become real. Keep in mind, your subconscious mind doesn’t discriminate. It does its best to create what we imagine in our minds.
Your subconscious will work just as hard to create the negative imagery you present to it as well as the positive imagery you present. The good news is that our subconscious mind will follow whatever suggestions we give to it. And we can always change the ways in which we use our imagination.
Our subconscious also provides us with those “gut feelings” or intuitions that magically pop into our minds from time to time, thoughts that seemingly come from nowhere. Our subconscious brings those thoughts into our conscious awareness.
We are a field of energy that reflects our conscious state in every moment. Our subconscious mind directs our energy, generating and directing energy relentlessly. In different moments in time, we can be happy, peaceful, angry, loving, creative, lazy, energetic, etc. If you have a positive thought, your subconscious mind will express the corresponding positive feelings through the cells of your body.
Negative thoughts will create negative feelings. Your subconscious mind responds to your thoughts and creates the appropriate feelings for those thoughts. Energetic feelings are also magnetic in a sense. We draw people and events to us based on the positive or negative energy we are emitting, and this energy is reflected by our conscious state. If we’re expressing positive energy, we’re likely to attract people to us.
Most of us like being around positive people, but if we come off as being negative, its likely people will avoid us, except for those people who like being around negative people. Our subconscious mind carries out our habits for us, and it does it automatically. We don’t even have to think about our posture or the way we choose to sit or stand.
Again, it’s all automated for us. We’ve trained our subconscious mind quite well. When you drive to work, you really don’t have to think about where to turn or how to get there. You can be daydreaming the whole way and your subconscious mind will still get you there without any problem. Your subconscious will even drive your car for you while you daydream. Your subconscious mind directs your body to carry out the habituated behaviors you choose to teach it. In addition, it also learns and carries out emotional responses for us. These often occur in our daily interactions with the people in our lives.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Sigmund Freud didn’t exactly invent the idea of the conscious versus unconscious mind, but he certainly was responsible for making it popular and this was one of his main contributions to psychology.
Freud described the conscious mind, which consists of all the mental processes of which we are aware, and this is the tip of the iceberg. For example, you may be feeling thirsty at this moment and decide to get a drink. The preconscious contains thoughts and feelings that a person is not currently aware of, but which can easily be brought to consciousness. Freud believed that when we explain our behavior to ourselves or others (conscious mental activity), we rarely give a true account of our motivation.
This is not because we are deliberately lying. While human beings are great deceivers of others; they are even more adept at self-deception. Our rationalizations of our conduct are therefore disguising the real reasons. Freud was the founding father of psychoanalysis, a method for treating mental illness and a theory which explains human behavior.
Psychoanalysis is often known as the talking cure. Typically, Freud would encourage his patients to talk freely (on his famous couch) regarding their symptoms and to describe exactly what was on their mind.
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