by Che Garman
Although many would argue otherwise, in the world of ‘self-improvement’ the right answer to this question is you. You are in charge of your life. But which you? The subconscious you, or the conscious you?
Right now, the conscious you is reading, analyzing, and perhaps assimilating the words written in this blog. Your conscious mind is your intentional mind. It is your thinking mind. It is the mind that usually gets the credit for being in control of our lives.
Your subconscious mind is your programmed mind. It monitors and regulates all the systems in the body. It perceives the world through your senses, and then automatically records this information in your brain. This information is then categorized according to how it fits in with your beliefs, i.e. your existing program. If the new information doesn’t agree with this program it is discarded as false. The rest is stored as true and is added to the existing program.
Without intentional effort on the part of your conscious mind, all that we experience in life will be in agreement with all that we have experienced in our past. Unless we consciously intervene and somehow affect this process, our subconscious mind will continue to run the show.
Over time, the thoughts which we think most become the programs that our subconscious mind acts upon. They become our beliefs. Unfortunately, the subconscious mind also determines what we repeatedly think and do, because the job of the subconscious mind is to learn these repeated behaviours. It is designed this way so it can remove the necessity of consciously having to think about every behaviour or action we intentionally repeat.
This process works well, for the most part. Who wants to have to consciously think about routine tasks all the time? Imagine having to drive your car the same way you did when you were first learning – one stressful moment to the next!
This ‘automatic thinking’ serves a very important purpose. It frees our conscious mind to think about other things. At least, that’s how it is supposed to work. But there is another fly in the ointment – one which literally affects what we experience day to day.
A part of our subconscious mind, known as the reticular activating system, or RAS, acts as an information filtering system. Without the RAS, the four billions bits of information that is processed by the subconscious mind every second of our lives would cause extreme information overload (our conscious mind’s limit is estimated at 2,000 bits per second). But how does the RAS know what information to let through to our conscious minds? It simply scans the new input from the subconscious mind, and brings to our attention only those things that are in alignment with our programmed beliefs, or that support those things we were consciously (intentionally) thinking at the time.
As anyone can see, this has all the potential of becoming a vicious circle. If we let our automatic thinking look after our lives, our subconscious mind ensures that everything we experience will be in agreement with our past programming. So we will only be allowed to see and experience what we have programmed ourselves to believe.
So who’s in charge of your life?
It depends. If you cruise through your day on autopilot - if you let your habitual thinking override your intentional thinking - then what controls your life is whatever beliefs exist within your old programming. The only way to take control of your life is to take control of the program that runs it… and the only way to do that is through conscious, intentional thought.
Unfortunately, discovering and analyzing our existing belief programs is not a straightforward task. Nor is consciously monitoring all of our thoughts to decide whether they are habitual or intentional. There are ways to speed up the process, but before we can do this, we really need to know more about beliefs and how they work. See Change Your Life... in one word!
Think about your thoughts. Can you tell which you is doing the thinking?