The first step in understanding the mind is to realize that your thoughts are what determines your everyday experiences. This is the basic premise of all spiritual texts and esoteric schools of thought. It is also reflected in many scientific spheres such as quantum mechanics. People have certain thought patterns that they picked up from the wider society, from their parents, from groups and organizations, etc. They then project these thought patterns onto their surroundings. And they then mistakenly believe that their own projections and interpretations are the ‘truth’. But the truth is different for everybody, depending on their particular thoughts. This is why there is so much diversity in the world today.
Thoughts Become Things
A core component of spiritual growth lies in removing all of the thought patterns that we have picked up when we were young. These were just programmed into us. When we learn to remove and reinstall different thoughts and beliefs is when we start to come into our true autonomy as masters over our minds. And this is partially why meditation is recommended across times and cultures. We are able to calmly observe our own thoughts patterns without reaction or involvement. This is one of the only ways that we can see things objectively. Otherwise, we tend to identify with our gender, political ideologies, nationality, or class. And we naturally see this as ‘correct’ due to our limited life experience.
People who do not understand the power of their own minds are largely lost as they cannot identify as conscious creators of their own reality. They will consistently find fault with the world and ask why it is so difficult to contend with. Understanding the power of thoughts is the first step to personal mastery.
The Insanity of the Mind
From the perspective of spiritual systems, the mind is irrational, illogical, and insane. We are required to observe the mind and detach from it in order to see its dysfunction. But we can also observe this dysfunction on a grander scale with the wars, hate, environmental destruction, racism, sexism, homophobia, political attacks, broken relationships, government spying programs, smartphone addictions, health problems, and more. Something is a little dysfunctional with the human populace, and this is a result of millions of minds that are not in the right place.
Social media and centralized media also serve to program these minds into a state of disempowerment and fear. And advertising also has quite a destructive effort as it encourages people to smoke cigarettes, drinks alcohol, and consume sugar and caffeine. An important point to remember is that you are not immune to advertising even if you think you are. When you perceive something it leaves a mental impression in your subconscious. So unless you switch off your tv and avoid going into a shop, you are a victim of advertising. Scientific Discoveries & Psychological Observations
There are some scientific discoveries and psychological observations that might be of interest in understanding how the mind works.
- The mind cannot distinguish between real and imaginary.
- 95% of your activity is subconscious (try being consciously aware of every key you type on your computer. Your progress will be vastly reduced.)
Your subconscious has stored everything that has ever happened to you, much like a gigantic computer.
- We are bombarded with 2 million bits of data every second. It is the job of the subconscious to filter through all of this.
- The conscious mind remembers between 5-9 pieces of information. This information is passed to the subconscious for processing to free up conscious space.
- Most of our energy expenditure goes towards the brain.
These discoveries have important implications. If the majority of our lives are fulfilled by the subconscious, it follows that we should try to manipulate our subconscious mind as opposed to our conscious abilities.. Programming of the subconscious for conscious growth is the basis of affirmations and self-hypnosis for empowerment. But along with these strategies, there are other things to consider in order to create a positive mindset for growth and fulfillment.