Following the previous article on how to better your life by recognizing the signs and listening to your body in order to know which micro-habits to implement in your routine. Today we will go over a few pointers that are about the most complex notion, consciousness. To implement the micro habit of trying to be conscious. Philosophers believe that your perception is your reality. So, let us try to simplify your perspective on consciousness.
One of the world’s most interesting neuroscientists of this century is Christof Koch. He has dedicated his life to understanding human consciousness. After over 40 years, still to this day, science has not yet demonstrated what consciousness looks like in the brain. Nevertheless, this does not mean that consciousness is not real. Koch himself believes that one day we will know all the answers.
At one point in the earth’s history, humans believed that the earth is flat. Nowadays, we see the most astonishing pictures from the Hubble telescope. Not only of our earth but every other planet. Furthermore, human beings used to be under the illusion that all they see is all there is. They believed that their senses are capable to detect everything, and that there is nothing more than what is visible to the naked eye. So, not only have telescopes changed our humanity, microscopes have shown us the little particles that make the universe. At first, we thought that atoms are the smallest particles that make up the universe till we found smaller. Moreover, nowadays, photons are helping us understand much more than we ever dreamt of.
Accordingly, in the near future, we will know how science will explain consciousness. Till that day, let’s focus on what we innately know about our beings.
When a child is hungry, the parents know that the human child will act differently just because the body is deprived of food. The adults even have a name for it, hangry. Meaning they are angry because they are hungry. Similarly, most people will be expecting a woman to be moody on her period. Pms is a condition that affects most woman’s emotions, physical health, and behaviour during certain days of the menstrual cycle. Smart men in a relationship know that it is because of her hormones if their lady acts differently.
In conclusion, we are conscious of the fact that there is an underlying cause to most events. This conscious state of being does not need to end with specific issues that have been simplified for us.
As previously mentioned in the last article, neuroscientists and psychologists tell us how we have one brain and two orders. Therefore, we should find ways to know why each order in the brain is telling us a different thing.
For example, when a human being suffers from anxiety, they suffer from a particular fear in life. Instead of masking it with pills that do not fix the root of the problem, it is better for the health of someone anxious to try to find the underlying issue of what is causing such a fear. After digging deep and finding the underlying cause, the human being can find ways to cope better with anxiety. In this way, they become conscious. They know that they feel an emotion, which is fear in this instance and consciously choose a life path that helps them better understand themselves and cope.
Another example could be someone who has PTSD. We all feel for soldiers that come back home from war. We know that when someone suffers from PTSD, they can get panic attacks. A soldier that comes back home could easily have a flashback of a bombing when he/she hears a loud noise. Because of the diagnosis of PTSD, and the apparent cause which is the harsh reality they have seen in war, they are conscious of the cause of the problem.
Sadly, most people are not thinking this way about life. They do not consider that every little thing that happens in life shapes the brain and, therefore, the reactions and emotions that the brain has.
All these examples have to do with recognizing an underlying cause of a mental disorder. Not everyone is suffering from such an issue. You might ask yourself how this will help me become more conscious of my daily life.
So, let’s discuss another example that most of us can relate to. Everyone on this earth has a biological mother and father. In the most basic psychology course, they teach the students how the first few years of attachment form the human being’s cognitive framework to understand the world that acts as a template for future relationships.
British psychologist and psychiatrist Bowlby (1969) has argued in his monotropic theory that infants and children form an internal working model which serves as a template for later attachments. This is called the continuity hypothesis.
Another great example is Ainsworth’s strange situation (1970). The American-Canadian psychologist has linked behavior to the form of early attachment. The findings showed that kids have three main attachment types: Insecure-avoidant attachment, Insecure-resistant attachment, and Secure attachments.
Think about it. A child whose first experience is with a loving, reliable caregiver will assume that this is how relationships are meant to be. This will help them choose functional relationships and behave functionally within them.
Hazan and Shaver (1987) researched the link between early attachments and adult relationships. It was found that the prevalence of attachment styles was similar to that found in infancy. They also found a positive correlation between attachment type and love experiences. Securely attached adults described their love experiences as happy, friendly, and trusting. They emphasized accepting and supporting their partner despite faults. Their relationships were more enduring 10 years on average, compared to 5–6 for resistant and avoidant participants.
Learning about how children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments because of a human being’s survival tactic can help you understand relationships and adults’ survival tactics more deeply.
I believe that your internal working model is not only affected by your childhood experiences that most do not even remember. I believe that every experience of your life changes you on fundamental levels. Whether it affects you in the right or wrong way depends on how conscious you are of all that is happening and your knowledge level. This can be seen when a human being makes a mistake in life. Some are smart and think of mistakes or failures as lessons that teach them what not to do, what works for them, and accept that the lesson has a price that they had to pay. Others think of failure as the end and cannot see that a mistake could be a stepping stone to knowing what is right for themselves.
American neuroscientist David Eagleman writes in his book, the brain, the story of you, ‘All the experiences in your life- from single conversations to broader culture- shape the microscopic details of your brain. Your brain is a relentless shapeshifter, constantly rewriting its own circuitry — and because your experiences are unique, so are the vast detailed patterns in your neural networks. Because they continue to change your whole life, your identity is a moving target; it never reaches an endpoint.’
Shining light and trying to see the depth of everything can help us better understand our world and the people around us. Taking a holistic approach to looking at a human being as a whole. Considering their actions and taking their past into account will be very helpful in life. Adding knowledge to our memory bank and accepting to better understand every situation is all that is needed in order to be able of being conscious of what is happening. Shutting our eyes to the rest of the ice berg is not the way to go for humanity.