The Mind

Everything you know about the world is constructed in your mind.

Sound, light, taste, feel and smell are just signals that are received as electrical pulses and sent to the brain. They all travel through the air at different speeds, so the mind has to collect and compile them so that you see someone’s lips move and hear them at the same time. It’s a very sophisticated trick.

Imagine the mind as a computer. There are three components at work when we are interacting with the world. The central processing unit (subconscious mind), the monitor which shows us the result of the process (conscious mind), and the input unit/keyboard (the five senses).

Information enters the brain via the senses (smell, sight, feel, taste, hearing), the processor (the subconscious) measures it against past experiences and sends the result to the display (the conscious mind). The diagram below demonstrates how we make sense of an object. Click on it to enlarge.

how the mind works

This is how you might interpret an experience:

You hear a car screech and smell burning rubber but you don’t see anything. If you’re busy crossing a road, your subconscious runs the program that says: (car out of control + me in the road = danger), so the subconscious creates a panic mode and sends you into flight. What comes up on the monitor (your conscious awareness) are feelings of fright, heightened heart rate and blood flow, increased sensitivity so that time seems to slow down, and a readiness to react. What others will see is you getting a scare.

If you’re in your living room, however, the program might read: (car out of control + me in my home = potential drama for someone else). The result might be a sense of curiosity, and a desire to run to the window to see what’s happening.

So the inputs you receive into the processor, measured against the expected potential outcomes, dictate the thoughts you receive (the meaning of the event for you).

The problem is this:

Most of the programs we run are ones we have learned growing up. We tend to stop creating programs once we become adults. As children we accumulate them daily, then less frequently, until eventually we stop. And the subconscious is lazy, so it will run any program it thinks can approximately relate to the situation at hand. This is why we make generalisations. It saves the subconscious time, and in certain situations that can be the difference between life and death.

Example:

As a child we are bitten by a dog. The program becomes (dogs = pain). And for the rest of our lives, unless the subconscious is forced to learn a new program that says (some dogs, in some situations = pain), when we see a dog, we react with fear and panic. This gives rise to a phobia.

So, most of our programming is very naive, child-like, and simplistic and some become terribly harmful to us when we are adults. Imagine that you learned as a young child that all strangers aren’t to be trusted. You may well go through your life unable to meet new people, feeling insecure around them, unable to relax and make friends, forever doubting their motives and experiencing anxiety. Social anxiety. Even when, as an adult, you know that this is irrational, your subconscious continues to run the program that says: (strangers + interaction with them = deceit and danger). So the outcome is anxiety and fear. Because the subconscious runs it’s results as emotions, feelings, and physical sensations.

Below is a chart of the seven rules by which the mind works. It’s a great explanation for why we end up in the state we’re in.

Rules

Click to enlarge

Please fill out the form below if you have any questions or requests