For centuries upon centuries, extending to this very day, philosophers, scholars, and spiritual leaders share a similar message – Your Mind is the Most Powerful Force in Your Life. Yet, day after day, we forget this simple truth. We spend our entire lives marching to the drumbeat of opposing beliefs and thoughts that tell us that forces outside of our minds control our very existence.
This lie is so much more pleasant than the truth. If everything outside of us is responsible then we can blame the world. Even if you don’t want to play the victim card, you already have by living your life believing that things outside of you have control over your life.
Stop reading now, and return to believing that your life functions according to everything around you. I promise that you won’t know the difference. Tomorrow you will wake up feeling the same as you did yesterday.
All I am offering is the red pill. Keep reading and I’ll show you just how powerful your mind really is.
The Whole Mind Concept
What is the mind? The shallow answer is that it is nothing more than the bundle of soft nervous tissue housed in your skull. But this superficial, biological definition is less than hollow – it’s a weak excuse for explaining the wonder that is human. The human brain is an amazing and powerful organ, but it is only the biological element that makes part of The Whole Mind.
To begin to explore The Whole Mind, let’s divide it into the two notions that you may already know: your Conscious and your Subconscious. These two artificial divisions are a wonderful place to start our conversation. The division is very logical. There are those things that you are thinking about or are aware of, right now, at this moment. That is your Conscious Mind. It’s the stuff right there on the surface that you are accessing right now. Then there’s the rest of the stuff. Those things that are not currently present, some of which may become present at another time and some of which will never be present.
Your Conscious Mind
For just a moment, take yourself back to your childhood. Find a time and a place that has comforting and pleasant memories. I am sitting in the covered porch of my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ cabin in the woods. My grandma is making pancakes on two electric griddles while the family chats and boasts about who will eat the most. Have you found that happy memory?
Now consider for a moment, where you are right now. How does the surface upon which you are sitting feel? Is it hard or soft? Is your back straight and your posture strong, or are you relaxed and leaned back? I love sitting on my sofa with my legs propped up on the ottoman. A quilt keeps me warm while my laptop rests on my thighs. Stop for a moment and listen. What noises do you hear around you? I hear the birds chirping outside and traffic in the distance.
These examples reveal how you are able to guide your Conscious Mind. You are able to take control of your thinking and direct it. In the moment, you can place your thinking upon a place, your own body, your surroundings, your memories, and your emotions.
Back up for a moment, and consider this: you are actively thinking about the concept of thinking. Your Conscious Mind is innately aware of its own capacities and is self-reflective. You can move your thought beyond the simple exercise above and leap into complex thoughts about any ideas or concepts, including your own experiences and your existence.
This type of thought may feel as if it is “active,” or something that requires you to make it work. However, it simply happens. You and I are so fortunate to wake up in the morning and simply exist. Our capability to understand our existence is part of what makes us human. Within your Conscious Mind, you access the greatest gift of the Whole Mind: free will.
Before we dive any deeper, we must explore the other side of this artificial dichotomy. For without the Subconscious Mind, our very lives would be over and we would cease to exist. We are who were are because of our Whole Mind, not just because of our conscious thought.
Your Subconscious Mind
Your sub-conscious, your unconscious, and concepts of subliminal thought encapsulate a portion of what we are discussing. Mix in your soul, your heart, and your life force or very being, and you are beginning to get closer.
Your Subconscious Mind is all of that and so much more. It is all of those things that you are unable to hold in your Conscious Mind, for your Conscious Mind is limited to this very moment.
Metaphorically, we can create a montage or collage of your Subconscious Mind as the greatest repository and processing machine in the universe. Contained within it are your memories, emotions, values, beliefs, ideas, dreams, hopes, learnings, and a host of concepts and capabilities that we struggle to put into a box that our Conscious Mind can grasp. The capability of the mind to hold and transform all of what is held within it defies simple, rational comprehension. And yet, every moment of every day, your Subconscious Mind goes about its business.
Your Subconscious Mind has the power to take all of what it holds and integrate that into something that your Conscious Mind can grab hold off, comprehend, and ultimately use in a variety of ways. Take for example mathematics. As a child, you first learned to count. The concept of a numeric system seemed fundamentally natural, as you used physical items in the real world to count. Then when you were older, you began to learn addition and subtraction. These items seemed logical and were easy to demonstrate using physical items.
Soon after, your world of mathematical understanding began taking a radical turn. You transitioned from physical items that were countable to concepts of numbers. Your Subconscious Mind went from needing physical items that it could see and touch to comprehending algebra and calculus. That moment when a concept become clear, one that was once incomprehensible only seconds before, is the moment that your Subconscious Mind was able to integrate, store, process, and utilize a new concept. And it does this constantly.
Our transition from not understanding a mathematical concept to grasping it is a parallel to how the Subconscious Mind constantly works. Its vast store of information is scattered throughout an infinite and growing space within you. Your Subconscious Mind is continually organizing, categorizing, prioritizing, and storing these bits of information. Simultaneously, your Subconscious Mind is also processing, correlating, associating, connecting, and solving the unending puzzle that is your life and your experience.
The unobservable and non-stop activity of the Subconscious Mind is the genius of you at work in every moment of every day.
The Conscious-Subconscious Relationship
Your Whole Mind is both your Conscious Mind and Your Subconscious Mind. These are not two separate entities operating independently with occasional cooperation like some distant, separate political allies. Rather, they are one in the same – distinct and separate at the same time that they are connected and interoperable, as if they are elements in a complex Escherian machine.
The fundamentally true and absolutely real power of the Whole Mind is that amazing integration and interaction between our momentary awareness and the complete magnitude of the formidable, infinite capability of the Whole Mind. Yet our great challenge as human beings is that we only experience life one moment at a time. And our momentary awareness feels completely dominated by the Conscious Mind.
The Whole Mind at Work
Your Whole Mind is always at work in every moment. There is an enormous volume of data and information passing in-between your Conscious Mind and your Subconscious Mind.
If you can visualize your Conscious Mind as an entity sitting in the middle of the infinite universe of your Subconscious Mind, then we can begin to understand the functioning of this paradoxically impossible and absolutely ideal machine.
Imagine for a moment that your Conscious Mind is both receiving and sending data. That flow between the two entities can be increased or decreased. You can change the actual volume. Both can erect barriers, filters, and gates that change the movement and content of the flow.
Furthermore, the Conscious Mind can oscillate in size, growing larger, becoming more pliable and porous, shooting out tentacles deeper into the vast reaches of that infinite space, becoming more and more melded and fused to the Subconscious Mind. Alternatively, the Conscious Mind can retreat and shrink, building higher and thicker barriers, hardening and retracting from all but the very edges of the subconscious.
The existence of your Conscious Mind and Your Subconscious Mind, coupled with the amazing interplay between them, make you and every other person human.
Information Coordination & Integration
Your Whole Mind has an unparalleled capability in regards to information flow, coordination, and integration. Twenty-four hours per day, you are being bombarded with information. This data comes from both external and internal sources. At the most simple level, our biological senses register all of the elements of our immediate environment: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch. At the same time that our biological senses are registering, we are often also receiving conceptual information. This can come in a multitude of forms including imagery, speech, and written words.
That we simply don’t explode from the input of information is truly astounding. But we are creatures that go well beyond taking in information. We are also creators of our own information. Remember from our discussion of the Subconscious Mind that it never shuts off. It is always working at processing, organizing, prioritizing, and categorizing everything that it has. In addition to trying to coordinate what it has, it is also integrating concepts to enable us to function, constructing new ideas, and continually working to solve puzzles within the vast space that it exists.
Our Conscious Mind also wants in on this party, and Whole Mind is happy to oblige by bringing both external information and internal information into our present awareness. Astonishingly, all of this happens whether we want it to or not and whether we acknowledge it or not. The job is taken care of both when we are thinking about it and when we are not thinking about.
Bringing in, managing, and processing all that information is only a small portion of what your Whole Mind is doing. There are even larger tasks. Both our conscious and our subconscious is on a non-stop mission to make sense of all of it.
Perception & Identity
At its most basic level, our Whole Mind is asking two simple questions:
What’s out there?
Who am I?
Without falling into some great philosophical debate on subjective idealism, let’s agree that there is something beyond our minds and that we are all trying to figure it out. It is not just that there is a physical world out there that we are trying to comprehend, there’s everything else. The massive flow of messages and information flying at us, along with interactions and relationships with other people.
Your Whole Mind is in a continual process of trying to make sense of all of the external data, while at the same time coordinating and dealing with a massive information flow between the Conscious and Subconscious Mind, all the while, trying to solve the puzzle of who am I and what is my relationship to all this stuff out there and in here? You do this with both your Conscious Mind and your Subconscious Mind. You’ve spent your whole life doing it and will spend the rest of your life engaged in this process.
The Greatest Artist Ever
The very mechanism of how you perceive and process everything outside of you and inside of you is how life is for you. It is your actual reality. Your Whole Mind is the greatest artist that has every existed, and in every moment of every breath that you take, it is working on a grand canvas inside of you, building an ever-changing artistic masterpiece.
Your Whole Mind constructs this masterpiece that only you can see, that only you can experience, and that only you can change. Splashed upon the canvas at any given moment are your thoughts, your emotions, your memories, your experiences, and your perception of everything outside of you. As you stand and stare every day at the masterpiece, you will notice that your Whole Mind is also painting you upon the canvas.
The Grand Artistic Illusion
Similar to other great artists, your Whole Mind wants you to be sucked into the art, to be completely consumed. And this artist, the one inside of you, is successful. As you stand transfixed before its masterpiece, you convince yourself that this work of art is absolute reality. However, you are only looking at what your Whole Mind has created for you.
That is your reality. The one inside of you. The one that you are experiencing right now. It is made of your memories, your thoughts, your emotions, and your experiences.
If I sound as if I am trying to tell you that your Whole Mind is trying to deceive you, you would be completely wrong. Your Whole Mind is desperately trying to find the answers to those two questions.
What’s out there?
Who am I?
Your Whole Mind can only answer those questions by working upon the canvas. It is doing its job so well that we may absolutely believe it without questioning the masterpiece itself or the process that creates it.
Rampant Vandalism in the Studio!
The problem is that we’ve spent our whole lives being bombarded by messages and information that have become deeply embedded within our Subconscious Mind. As our Whole Mind paints upon the canvas, those messages are being expressed. And if we believe that our masterpiece is absolute reality, and we don’t question the masterpiece, then we are simply slaves to the illusion.
Sadly, modern society is stealing the greatest elements our humanity – happiness, success, joy, playfulness, peacefulness, and contentment. From harsh religious dogmas to stylish advertising, we are bombarded with messages designed to make us feel less than what we really are. We are convinced that what we really want is right around the next corner. All we have to do is subjugate our natural tendencies to the will, desires, and edicts of other others.
Unfortunately, it’s not only society. Oftentimes, it is also those people closest to you. Together, they have helped the artist paint a negative, skewed picture of the world around you and even of yourself.
The Truth You Already Know
Do you know when you feel happy? Of course, you do! But the world is trying to convince you that someplace out there in the future lies a greater state of happiness. All you need to do is buy this, own that, experience those things over there and then do this other thing. Because, once you own it and have done this or that, then other people will look at you and know you are happy, which in turn will somehow magically let you know that you are happy. Don’t believe me? Spend an hour watching television advertisements. That is the message.
Success is no different. How do you know when you are successful? Last time that I checked, there wasn’t a government-sanctioned, official register of “successful people.” However, we toss that term about like it is something that we are all shooting to achieve. A new external meaning for the word is pounded into us from a young age.
You’ll be successful, if you do A, B, and C, then go about getting the approval of X, Y, and Z. Once all of the right people have looked at you, and blessed those activities that you have done, then you get tossed into the bucket of those deemed successful. And yet, as a child, you could take chairs, cushions, and a sheet and build an amazing fort. You could crawl inside your fort, enjoy whatever you did, and feel completely successful at the accomplishment of building your own fort.
What you are forgetting, RIGHT NOW AT THIS MOMENT, is that you are holding the brush. Once you come to understand that it is your Whole Mind that creates your reality, and that you are the artist, then you can begin to influence that masterpiece.
Free Will is Simply Using the Brush
The ultimate act of Free Will is grabbing the brush and joining the process of painting your masterpiece. You are the one who is present in your Conscious Mind. It is you building, maintaining, and using the magnificent space that is your Subconscious Mind. You are your Whole Mind and your Whole Mind is what is generating the reality in which you live.
Once you begin to understand this truth. Then your life is yours to define. You can begin to look honestly at who you are and what you believe. The outside world becomes what it really is – outside of you. Of course, you are absolutely still part of this world, but you finally get the freedom to put everything where it belongs. You are no longer at the mercy of living a life that is being defined by others. Your reality is yours to define.