The mind is made up of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious realms. We’re mainly conscious when we actively go about our daily activities, for instance, drive around, visit friends, and actively engage in conversations. The subconscious level plays a part when you’re conscious as well. Except that it brings about actions that are not planned or actively permitted by the conscious realm or aspect of you. Well, when you’re unconscious, it’s a different ball game. You’re inactive but not necessarily dead.
As such, you’re not fully aware of what’s happening in your surrounding environment and can’t actively engage in anything pertaining to it — although it’s likely that your subconscious level may still slightly be playing a role — like in the case of someone who sleeps and dreams — or a comatose patient who wakes up to reveal the much he/she was aware of that occurred during their ordeal — spiritually and/ or physical environment.
These different levels of the mind I’d like to call it, play different, sometimes intertwining roles in enabling us to think, behave, and generally live well. But it all depends on our ability to learn the different aspects or modes and know when to let them and when to swing to another. There are two main modes involved when it comes to how we use our minds. The autopilot and conscious/intentional modes. Autopilot mode has to deal with things you do or say that isn’t really done from a purely conscious level, whereas conscious modes pertain to things that you’re aware of doing.
These modes have their various pros and cons and the ability to juggle them up the right way goes a long way to determining how sound your mind is and how well you live.
There’re several activities that being on autopilot mode helps to make easier — with no consequences or strings attached. Think about activities that mostly fall within the range of things you need to scale through with — without much mental energy exertions — because then, it’s unnecessary and painful. Like cleaning up, somewhat driving, cooking, you name it. This doesn’t mean that a tinge of consciousness cannot be tagged alongside when displaying these levels of unconsciousness — because attaching intentionality to them could still trigger the Automatic Sensory Meridian Response; otherwise known as the ASMR.
The conscious level is termed as being intentional. This part requires permissible mental energy exertions to get by. This pervasive mind mode requires you to be intentional in carrying out several activities that would either enable you to live well or not. In short, it forms the major and most important aspect of the mental framework. This is the part where we’re liable to consequences by our actions and words — as we’re presumed to have fully, consciously involved ourselves in doing or saying anything we did. It’s also because the conscious mind is made up of thoughts, memories, feelings which we are aware of — according to an article by Sigmund Freud, the popular Austrian Neurologist and founder of Psychoanalysis.
We’re the ones in control, most times, at least. So that means that we get to choose what we want it to play a role and what we don’t. We make the choices to reflect different levels of our minds in a way that’d let us continue living.
To do so, we must be aware of when to let a particular mode be, when to invite and activate it, (yes, it’s possible), and when to swing the pendulum to the desirable or needed mode — at that particular point in time. It’s a case between choosing what is right and what is best.
As much and as beneficial as the mind is to our mental well-being and total well-being, as stipulated by many research by authors, psychologists, and/or philosophers, there are times when we just need a break from it all. We acknowledge that we may not be on the right track doing so, but we feel it’s the right thing to do at that moment. Although we know there might be consequences of letting go, we still let it — temporarily. This is when it feels right — for us to continue living. Living and living well serving as ultimate goals. The bigger picture.
To let a particular mode be
This is when we’ve ascertained that the current mind mode we have, either the conscious or subconscious display, is the best thing for us and we leave it be. It could be that you are consciously making an effort to figure out a solution to a dilemma you found yourself in at work and you believe that being conscious and using your mind at that time is the right bet as opposed to letting it flow.
To invite and activate another mode
As aforementioned, there are many times when we exercise the need to invite another mind mode to some circumstances. It doesn’t always have to be the best or most comfortable thing to do that is inimical to the right thing, rather it could just be that we believe, based on our cognitive capability, that another mode will serve us better — to continue living. For instance, you could choose to switch to an autopilot mode when you’re in an extremely emotional or mentally difficult situation that has the ability to mar either of them. At that moment, being intentional or conscious in figuring things out may spell doom and become counterproductive. What do you do? You invite and activate the autopilot mode. To ease the pain, the discomfort, and engender relief — even though temporarily.
Swing the pendulum
When you’re done being and using a particular mode, after each mode has served its purpose, swinging the pendulum back comes in. This is when your time frame for being a certain way has elapsed and it’s time to get back to the right mode, not just the best one now. This is also the part that we mostly display here and now. Everyday level of consciousness or cognitive ability that we exercise mostly each day. The one we deem fit and right. That’s the main purpose of swinging the pendulum. When you have intentionally let yourself display subconscious, unconscious, or autopilot mode of behavior to scale through some aberrations and difficult situations, it’s time to swing the pendulum to the ‘real’ you. The kind you’d mostly be.
You are in control of your life and you now understand the different levels of the mind that truly exists. The conscious level is mostly the level that we display in our here and now. That is what tells if we are good or bad people, charitable or skimpy. The subconscious level is a part of the conscious level that we don’t actively permit ourselves to display. This is when we are prompted to blurt out or take actions that we’d otherwise not. However, It’s said that the things you do from the subconscious mind goes a long way to defining who you may be in the conscious realm and therefore the ‘real’ you— in case you’re confused and need to know yourself better, hence, advantageous to self-discovery. This is similar to the pure unconscious realm as well.
Using the mind well comes also with understanding when we leave our conscious state be, when we forgo it temporarily and activate the autopilot mode and when to swing back to the former. The choices we make in doing this proves as humane as we are and can get. Certain life occurrences require specific modes and there’s no shame in choosing to relieve the brain and mind of their roles, temporarily to scale through. There’s no shame in inviting and activating intentionality in certain life occurrences that may otherwise require you to be on autopilot, sub/or unconscious modes so as to partake in the queer yet enjoyable and powerful benefits of the ASMR feeling everyone is raving about.
It’s all you and on you.
Different realms of us show up at different times where they are either needed or comfortable enough. Swinging the pendulum comes into play when we must determine what needs to be done right or what’s best to scale through by to diffuse discomfort, bearing the bigger picture in mind and that is, living and living well.
*Do not forget that every action has a consequence; be it that it was manifested when you were aware and active (conscious) or that you were unaware and reactive (subconscious and unconscious)*.
Give yourself the chance to swing the pendulum back and forth; seek (professional) help when it becomes overwhelming and you can’t fathom it all. It’s all you and on you.