Mindfulness is it Not the Answer?

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I keep hearing about mindfulness and consciousness as though they are the trendy new answer to our problems. Well I’m not convinced.  I do see them as part of the solution and it is my opinion they are nearly there, perhaps just one level from the top.

Let me lay out my thoughts before arguing the case. Our conscious processes are capable of using 9 bits of data at any time. All the rest of our brain is operating below the conscious level and has a hundred trillion data connections and is thought to be operating about a hundred times faster as well as being automatic. Some people call this the subconscious, but it really is far superior to the conscious and for this and other reasons the term unconscious is used by Hypnotherapists. I would go further and call it the #epiconscious or #epimindful. The prefix “epi” meaning above, so above-mindful, above-consciousness.

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Right now your unconscious is running thousands of processes, reading this being only one of them. It is also running your mood, temperature, blood circulation, posture, eye movements, repairing body parts, checking all information against everything stored there, being creative, talking to you and listening, etc, etc. infinitum.

Everything you do for the first time is done consciously and after many repetitions is passed over to the unconscious for it to deal with it at the appropriate next time. Just think of how difficult letting the clutch out whilst accelerating was at your first several attempts of driving and how easily you do it now!

As an example next time you are in a conversation just notice how little of what you say you are aware of before it come out of your mouth!  And that voice in you head now, and your reaction to this article – all formed in the unconscious and brought to consciousness.

Our physical and mood reactions to everything occur just before our consciousness of what triggered them. Bearing in mind (no pun intended) how much goes on below awareness and happens automatically I would confidently state that less than 1% of our thought processes are conscious ones. You are in effect mainly being run by your unconscious.

The purpose of the conscious is to direct our unconscious. It enables us to “drive our life” because if we don’t drive it who does? The unconscious will of course check everything you ask of it against its learning and belief systems and its survival mode. So to get anything changed we have to work out if we need to change any of our beliefs and check our understanding from life’s lessons to ensure they are in line with our new desires. It is thought that 80% of all we know about life we learned before we were 6. So take 5 years off your age and that is how outdated some of your programs, beliefs and rules are. Also give it some thought to how much you actually learned for yourself in that time and how much was from others by their example or through them repeated telling you something (great if it was true and positive and you were shown love, not so great if you are called stupid or clumsy and abused or ignored). Either way would you really let a 5 year old run your life for you, yet this is what we are all doing!

We all know what we “should do” and we can tell others how to deal with their issues, yet we struggle with them ourselves. This is because we have trained our automated unconscious programs to cut in and do whatever fits in with our learning and belief systems.

So being mindful, is in effect just bringing to awareness an automated program that is unwanted or unhelpful. This act of awareness may make it possible to change just by the very act of “catching it out” and thinking of a better way of doing whatever it is. Usually this will take repetition and vigilance (willpower), but with only 9 bits of data held in the conscious is more often than not pushed aside by any other task or issue that needs access to conscious thought. Hence mindfulness being taught during trance like states, where the concentration on breathing alone occupies our conscious processes enough to drive out most other thoughts.

So where does #epimindful come in, you ask? #Epimindful is to take the next step up from mindfulness by taking what we have found out about this troublesome automatic program and changing it at the unconscious level. The change comes from overwriting the old program or deleting it. There are many ways of dealing with it, initially get the help of someone good at accessing the unconscious and then learn from them ways to talk to your own unconscious, it really is simple once you know how (and of course once done several times becomes, in itself, an automated program).

The main issue is to work on the cause not the symptoms, find the under-lying belief that is no longer true or helpful. If you have many symptomatic issues look for the thread that runs between them and deal with that.

I will provide more articles to follow-on with this theme. Please comment and I will ensure you get the answers you seek.

 

Illustration by Amanda Spitzner, copyright Steven Blake (full explanation of the principle it demonstrates, in my next Blog)

 

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