The conscious mind uses the five senses to record information, but only the important information gets noticed. The conscious mind can only focus on a limited number of things at a time, so it selects the important things and ignores the rest.
This feature of the conscious mind keeps you from going crazy.
It is why you rarely notice the hum of the refrigerator.
It is also why city people don’t notice sirens and country people do. The conscious mind of the city dweller is only concerned with sirens that directly involve them while, because sirens are more rare in the country, every siren is noticed by the country dweller.
We must also understand that we only perceive with our eyes, ears, noses, tongues and nerve endings. We interpret these signals with our brains. This is why I hate coconut and my husband loves it. Our interpretation of that taste varies even though the substance is the same.
The conscious mind stores important information in the subconscious.
The conscious mind also looks to the subconscious for interpretation of an event. It asks the subconscious mind “have I seen anything similar before?” Notice that I emphasized the word similar. The mind generalizes events to make it function more efficiently. This is why we can open a door that we have never seen before because it is similar to other doors.
This gives us a sense of certainty about the future. “I am certain that I can open that door because I have done it in the past.”
The conscious mind compares what it currently perceives with what is stored as reality in the subconscious.
It makes an interpretation based on the reality stored from our past experiences.
Now the conscious mind asks “what is this leading to?”
The answer will be based on information stored in our subconscious.
If we interpret this as leading to pleasure, we will seek to repeat the experience. Likewise, if we interpret this as leading to pain, we will avoid the experience. In case of a tie, we will avoid pain.
This system was designed to protect us from danger. We learn what a tiger looks like and that it will eat humans, therefore we will avoid the pain of being eaten. Not only will we avoid a particular tiger, we will avoid every tiger and every animal that is similar to a tiger as well. Our precious brain protects us.
BUT… our evaluation of new situations is based on past experiences. Sometimes our interpretation of these experiences may be wrong. What if the first time we encountered a house cat, it just happened to hiss at us and scare us? That negative experience with one naughty house cat may prevent us from the joy of owning a cuddly kitten in the future. Our past can be limiting our future.
Finally, the mind decides whether to seek or avoid the behavior, based entirely on the past, not the future.
The problem is that we cannot change our past negative experiences, we cannot roll back the hands of time and make that house cat stop hissing at us.
We can, however change our interpretation and how we store our previous experiences.
I will show you how to do this in later posts after we learn the basics of how this stuff works.
For now, you can use small rewards each time you change your behavior to a new habit. These small rewards will cause you to repeat desired behavior.