We are not our thoughts nor our minds. Our mind is a tool. We are no more our thoughts or minds as we are are cars even though we drive them. Many of us have the car on autopilot without the GPS set. We’re just reacting to incidents on the road. We have to gain control of the car by being conscious of what we’re doing. We have to be conscious of what we want.
One way to describe an aspect of consciousness is awareness. Awareness is being.
Many models of the mind say that we have a conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious is what we’re aware of in any given moment and the subconscious is things we can know, but not presently aware of.
A simple example is the internet. This page represents your conscious mind, but the rest of the internet is like the subconscious.
Breathing is a subconscious act that doesn’t require you to think about. It happens like a background process needed for an operating system to run. You can however move your awareness over to breathing and control it if necessary. Certain processes in your body can function in this way. Some are on all the time, such as hearing, seeing, balance, etc. They are so critical to life that they normally don’t turn off. Others are so vital to your survival that you can’t move your awareness to consciously control them, such as blood flow direction or liver processes.
We won’t worry about those processes that we can’t control. Those are a part of our biology or the machinery of this body. Many people also call it the subconscious. There is a theory that nature is a part of this super-conscious field that permeates everything in life, but that’s beyond the scope of this article. Let’s keep it simple for now.
To avoid confusion, let’s just call the aspects of our biology we can place awareness on and control to a degree our unconscious mind. I’d consider the unconscious as a subset of the subconscious mind.
The unconscious pretty much contains the mental, emotional, and processing areas of our minds. Feelings, memories, and senses are also a part of the unconscious mind. If i asked you to suddenly become aware of the feeling of your elbow, you probably could. Before then you were unaware so therefore unconscious of it.
That said, there are unconscious processes going on all the time. When we drive, we don’t take much mental note of how much pressure we’re putting on the gas, brake, or steering wheel. It sort of automatically happens. That’s a good thing. Many things in our lives are under unconscious control. We don’t need to think about walking or running in order to just do. The problem is when we put too many aspects of our lives on unconscious autopilot.
We have the ability to put ourselves and regulate our moods consciously if we put effort into it. Often times, our moods and feelings are regulated by how we feel about the thought of something. The conscious mind is a subset of the unconscious mind. It is under our control. It is what we’re currently aware of at any given time and it can move to any other area of the unconscious mind simply by willing it to.
Neurological pathways connect sensory, thought, memory, idea, and feeling to one another in a network or cluster of sorts. If the think of cold for instance, we can think of snow, memories of being cold, pictures of the arctic, our kitchen freezer, cold showers, etc. All of those ideas however can be attached to a feeling or other memories. When ideas and memories are unconsciously linked to feelings, recalling these ideas or memories can create a states in our bodies that create anxiety or excitement or whatever feeling all without us knowing.
Given that thoughts crop up and disappear all without us being aware of them, the feelings linked with those thoughts can often leave us in a bad mood or feeling anxious without us knowing exactly why.
This is why being present and grounded the moment really helps if you find yourself constantly nervous or anxious. It’s why we can often make big deals of nothing. It’s why we can manifest things into reality for ourselves that we didn’t want. We’re unconscious of what we create.
Thoughts and feelings create our reality. I’ll go over how in a future article. For now, just understand that awareness can be controlled. Too often we just don’t do it and rely on autopilot. Being present is the art and practice of controlling our awareness to a desired state on purpose.