“We should talk about kid’s stuff.” My Cousin Jason typed out on an in-game messenger. We were both on League of Legends game client messaging each other after a long night session of gaming.
I laughed with skepticism. I knew exactly the kind of topic he wanted to talk about. And no, it has nothing to do with kid’s stuff.
“We should talk about theories or interesting stuff. I think I’m a pretty philosophical person, so let’s type about some theories XD.” Jason wrote back with excitement and anticipation.
“Ok.” I answered back, looking forward to his interesting thoughts and theories.
“This was a theory that I wasn’t able to fully understand yet because it had a lot of missing parts.”
“What’s it about?” I curiously replied back.
“It’s kind of about our conscious and unconscious mind.”
He had my attention. I opened my eyes to take in anything Jason had to write.
“A lot of my theories were made because of the stuff I think about. I analyzed how everything works and most recently or few months ago I started to analyze my life. By doing so I formulated some strange theories about how we humans might work. However, since humans are different in so many ways, it’s hard to tell whether if my thoughts are right or not. That’s why my conscious/unconscious theory is kind of floating in mid air so I’m basically not sure if it’s valid.”
“What is this theory?” My curiosity peaked as I asked him again.
“Ok let me remember… So when we do things we usually do it from the conscious part of our mind.” He paused. “This theory is going to be pretty hard to explain because I’m not sure what words to use for the way our mind works. Basically our unconsciousness is always doing things, but we just don’t notice it until our consciousness grabs hold or takes a peek.”
Jason began to describe his theory with an example.
“So think of it as our breathing. We are unconsciously breathing, but when we notice that we are breathing we can kind of control it. We can stop breathing and then slow down or speed up. However, when we don’t pay attention to breathing, it just happens naturally. So what I’m going to say is that the unconscious part of our brain is actually always doing stuff we are unaware of.”
Jason began to relate his theory to human behaviors.
“The unconscious part of our brain analyzes details or things that we will never notice. Think of it as an autopilot response mechanism. People are different in such that they all have their own preferences in the qualities they like in others. Your unconscious brain categories people based on your own preferences. One of them is appearance.”
“For example sometimes we like people without knowing the reason why. Like love at first sight. You don’t know the reason for that because your unconsciousness is at work. It is always examining and analyzing details in our lives or doing random stuff without us noticing. Your unconscious mind is identifying the similarities between each person that you see. This is why you’re attracted to some people while not to others. It’s very hard to explain think of it as our conscious mind being the dumb one and our unconscious mind being the smart one.”
“So what I mean is more complicated than you think. There is deeper stuff we can’t control like our heartbeat or where our blood flows to in our body. I mean we can run and raise our heartbeat but we can’t just make it stop by thinking. It’s like our unconscious mind disables a lot of the features or blocks them from our consciousness.”
While Jason was explaining his train of thoughts, I listened carefully to his explanation, but a certain phrase grabbed my attention and kept repeating in my mind.
“Consciousness peeking into our unconsciousness.” I really love that phrase. I could tell that he was on to something great. His thoughts were genuine and ingenious, but like any theories even if you know them, what is the point if you don’t apply them? What is the point of peeking into your unconsciousness? Jason gave me a great theory, a random thought. However, I will try my best to interpret it into a useful lesson on consciousness.
Take a Peek
What does it mean to be conscious? It means to be aware, to be ever so present, to occupy your body fully.
Think about it. If you are unaware of your breath, heartbeat, surroundings, and other aspects of your very being, then what are you aware of? Are you lost in thoughts? Clearly if you are lost in thoughts, you are not occupying your body. You are not present.
What does it mean to peek into your unconsciousness? It means to gain control over yourself. To take hold of your very own essence. To be at your natural state of ease. I can give you some personal examples.
At this very moment of writing, I am occupying my body. I am paying very close attention to each of my breath. I feel my fingers dancing over my mechanical keyboards typing out each word gently. I hear the windy noises that the fans are making on my PC. My shoulders are relaxed. There is a serene feeling of inner peace and quietness.
When I go outside, I can see trees dancing endless to the rhythm of the winds. Its branches sway back and forth in a genteel fashion. I stop and pause. I take a moment for reflection and gratitude. I appreciate the sky, the earth, and my very own presence because my awareness understands that all this is temporary.
It is that feeling of standing outside at 3 AM in the morning when snowflakes gently fall onto the ground from the dark sky. Everywhere I look, layers of snow covered the ground like fluffy pillows placed on top of each other. I became one with the surrounding.
If you are truly aware and truly conscious, then you should understand that there is no greater peace than what you already have. Sometimes you just can’t feel it because there is so much mental noise. And sometimes only by thinking less can you become smarter and brighter.
Why do you think so many spiritual practices emphasize meditation? It is to become more conscious, and aware. That is all.
I disagree with Jason that our unconscious mind is the smart one and the conscious mind is the dumb one. If you are always in your unconscious mind, you are not aware of your consciousness. It’s true that the unconscious part of our mind is always analyzing and categorizing what we see and feel. However, if you can’t shut it off, then you are not in control.
For example, if you are aware that smoking is detrimental to your health. However, you still do it, then you are unconsciously acting out a harmful habit that can destroy your well-being. Or if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but still want to indulge in eating immoderate amounts of food, then you are unconsciously fighting against your own desires.
To be unconscious is to dwell in a state of turmoil and conflict because the unconscious mind loves problems. It latches on to them and gives it identity. Maybe your problems define who you are, so you are unwilling to give it up.
What are some of your current problems? Why are they bothering you? Why are they problems at all? If you are doing something that you don’t perceive as a problem, but others do around you, why are you bothered by it? If it’s acceptance you are looking for, then can you accept others for not being on the same page as you?
I could say that there are certain aspects of my life that I am unhappy about. But doing so, gives it an identity that my Ego can latch on to. It also brings it into the present. At this moment I have no problems, no worries. There may be certain aspects of my life that I am unhappy about, but there are 100 times more things I am currently incredibly happy about now.
When you are conscious, you are at peace. You feel no resistance. You see things as they truly are because you are no longer clouded by thoughts.
Jason is right. It’s really hard to explain the unconscious and conscious mind. It’s a phenomenon that is hard to explain because the mind can’t understand it. However it can be felt. That is why peeking into your unconsciousness is important. It allows you, even for a short moment, to see the bigger pictures of things, to gain a clarity of mind. Dwelling in a conscious state is optimal, but that would require patient spiritual practice. However, it doesn’t take much effort to take a peek. Will you take a peek with me?