Friend or foe, the mind can simply blow you away. But what the heck is the mind? The Yogis talk about manas when they refer to the mind of a person. It is the ruler of the senses with the power and faculty of attention, selection, and rejection. Moreover, the mind is a field of energy. Different schools of thought have different ideas, so nobody can really say what exactly the mind is. And here we go: the mind is a concept. What adds to the confusion is the fact that the mind lacks physical form. You can dissect the brain into its single parts, but you will not find a single piece of mind. So how can something that does not even have a physical shape can have such an influence on us and the ways we shift and shape the reality we live?
The concept of the mind can basically be divided into three parts: the conscious mind, the subconscious and the unconscious. I was inspired to imagine it as a triangle , with the unconscious part forming its base, then the the large middle part consisting of the subconscious and as a small cherry on top the conscious mind. But step by step now to get an idea of what what is and how the whole sytems works.
1 mind, 3+ consciousness?
The conscious mind is that what we are – as its name already implies – conscious about. Its our awareness about what is being presented to us through our environment in the here and now, our subjective experience of self and the world. Without the conscious mind, we wouldn ´t be able to perform daily active tasks. The amazing thing is that it has the ability to direct and to focus. This means that we actually do have a choice where we are directing our attention to. It also makes pretty clear that we can use the mind the way we want it and thus co-creating our world.
If the conscious minds directs and commands,then there must be someone who follows its orders. The subconscious is a huge storage container for all your accessible information. It allows you quick memory recall and runs all programmes to somehow get through your life. Moreover, it is constantly aware of what is happening inside and outside of you and filters all information. It is a true powerhouse as it does filter everything that goes in…and out! Since it stores and retrieves all information that you are gathering over your lifespan,such as memories, habits, beliefs , emotions and behaviours, it also ensures consistency. Take as an example the way you respond to situations, and the beliefs you have about your self and the world. These habitual patterns are all stored in your subconscious. It is in constant exchange with conscious mind and is its executive. In a nutshell: “The mind of man is conscious and subconscious, objective and subjective, external and internal. The conscious mind acts, the subconscious reacts; the conscious mind produces impression, the subconscious produces expression; the conscious mind determines what needs to be done, the subconscious supplies the material and necessary power”. (Excerpt from the Great Within by Christian D.Larson)
The terms subconscious and unconscious mind are often used interchangeably, yet there is a difference. We can always dig a little bit deeper into the field of consciousness. So as the conscious mind makes use of the information of the subconscious, the subconscious mind makes use of the unconscious. Therefore, the unconscious mind can be regarded as the base that stores ALL memories and its accompanying emotions,especially those you are not aware of. Yip, we are talking about repressed stuff here that can pop up unexpectedly when triggered by certain events. These memories are contributing to a huge extent to your beliefs and behaviours. The stuff of the unconscious fires back into the conscious mind at times.
To add to the intricacies of the mind complex, we shall not forget the collective unconsciousness as defined by Carl Jung. It is an aspect of the unconscious mind which manifests inherited, universal themes which run through all human life and are common to everyone. Its contens are made up of archetypes, something that Jung calls primordial images that have always existed and we all know and experienced. This makes it pretty clear that the mind is not only something personal, but connected to the greater whole and influenced by ancestral human history.
So let that sink in for a while. To be continued…
With special thanks to and worth to visit:
Christian D.Larson: The Great Within
Joseph Murphy: The poweer of Your Subconscious Mind
Carl Jung: The Structure of the Unconscious (Essay from 1916)