Our mind is full of surprises. When we think that we have enough understanding about our minds, it presents us with more surprises. Do you know that our mind has three levels? The conscious mind, the preconscious or subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind. This theory was developed by Sigmund Freud, who believed that human behavior and personality are derived from the constant interaction between these conflicting psychological forces that operate at three different levels: conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. Each one of these parts plays a pivotal role in shaping the behavior of human beings.
Let’s understand these levels of mind briefly.
1. Conscious mind
Our conscious mind is the warehouse of all the thoughts, feelings, memories, and wishes we are aware of at that given moment. It is that aspect of our mind that allows us to think and act rationally. It also includes that memory which is not always the part of consciousness, but we can always retrieve it easily and bring it to awareness.
For example, the immediate awareness that you are experiencing while reading this article falls under the conscious mind.
2. Preconscious or subconscious mind
It can consist of anything that we can potentially bring into our conscious minds. You can consider all the stuff that forms our dreams. It consists of all those experiences or impressions that are imprinted on our minds from those past experiences. These behaviors or patterns can be awakened by implicating those experiences again in our lives.
For example dormant memories of past experiences.
3. Unconscious mind
Our unconscious mind is made up of all the thoughts, primitive desires, and memories that are buried very deep within ourselves. However, these feelings are far from the reach of our conscious mind, which means we are not even aware that those feelings or desires even exist within us. These desires continue to have a significant impact on our behavior. It is also known as Shuddha Chetna.
For example, these contain feelings of deep pain, conflict, and anxiety.
We can also call these Chetan, Achetan and Avchten in Hindi. Chetan means that our conscious mind, which is awake and aware all the time. Avchetan means that stage where our consciousness is in a sleepy state. Achetan means the absence of consciousness. It means our consciousness is buried so deep that we are unable to find it.
The connection between our breath and the unconscious mind
In yoga and meditation, our breath holds a primary position because breathing is the only function in our body that occurs both consciously and unconsciously. Every living being on this planet, whether they are humans, animals, birds, or insects, breathes. Breathing is a process that comes to every living being naturally. Whether we are awake or asleep, our breathing continues. According to the yoga sastra, our breathing is guided by our unconscious mind.
How deep breathing affects our brain?
In yoga, the process of controlled breathing is known as pranayama. These pranayama exercises allow you to breathe consciously to harness the power of life forces or prana in the body. This has a significant effect on our conscious and subconscious minds. When we practice these slow and deep breathing exercises, it makes our mind calm and stable by quieting the constant mental chatter. As per the sage Patanjali, when a person begins to practice controlling the breathing through the means of pranayama, then it removes the veil.
As we have mentioned earlier that our breathing is under the control of our unconscious mind. So when we start to bring our breath under the control of our conscious mind, we become more aware of ourselves, especially of those parts that have been buried deep inside our unconscious. We become more aware and it helps us to harness the power of the subconscious and the unconscious mind.
While pranayama is something we all have heard and experienced a lot lately, a less talked about subject is just watching your breath without even trying to control it or modify it in any way. Do you think that does anything? Well, this could be your passport to the infinity!
Vipassana and pure consciousness
Vipassana meditation is one of the most ancient meditation techniques that was developed by Lord Buddha in India. The practice of vipassana meditation involves the path of dhamma.
In the vipassana meditation, we have to focus on our breath entirely – thoughts can come and go. We just need to watch, watch and keep watching. When you are constantly focused on one point without any other distraction, it allows you to look carefully into a certain deeper aspect of your life. You become an observer of your own thoughts, deeper desires, and even those conflicting emotions that you didn’t even know exist. It means you start noticing that part of your unconscious mind which is always hidden from you but which is always working. You start noticing the changes in breath pattern that happens ‘automatically’ when your emotions change when situations change. And you start experimenting that as soon as you bring breathing to normal, emotion becomes normal, situations become ‘normal’. You learn a lot of correlations and dependencies…
By watching the constant work of the creator, you try to ‘know’ the creator … or can I say…
Be The Creator!