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The Mind: Our User Interface with Consciousness

There are so many rich and varied philosophies out there about the nature of consciousness and the nature of the mind. A way that I have come to think of my mind, is not only as a personal field of conscious awareness, but also as a user interface with the whole of my reality.

Of course, from a straightforward, cognitive behavioural approach, we know that our thoughts and beliefs impact our actions, which ultimately determine the results we get in our lives. Just from this alone, we can begin to understand the importance of a healthy mind: if I don’t believe I can do something, the likelihood is, I won’t do it! Beliefs and their impact on behaviour alone has huge power over the type of life we can create. This is the theory of mindset – but it is just the tip of the iceberg!

Research on the Placebo Effect suggests that our minds and our expectations have an impact on our physical bodies. This is taken so for granted, that the highest calibre of scientific study is a double-blind experiment. A double-blind experiment means that neither the person gathering experimental data, nor the experimental participant knows which participants are receiving an active intervention and which are receiving a a placebo or control intervention. This is for two reasons: one, so that the scientist’s interpretation of results won’t be impacted by their expectations; and perhaps more excitingly, two, because there is a substantial body of research that participant’s beliefs about whether they will be cured by a particular treatment impacts the treatment outcome. The upshot of this is, that to determine that any pharmaceutical drug is useful, scientists have to rule out the normal and accepted possibility that a patient might cause the changes in their body with their belief that an intervention will work!

In quantum physics, this is taken even further. Experiments have found that the thoughts and expectations of experimenters determine the behaviour of particles being observed by them. That is, the belief of the experimenter causes the outcome of the experiment.

In the sphere of biology, Bruce Lipton’s research supports the idea that physical cells have a consciousness of some kind, and that we can communicate with that consciousness through our minds, to effect measurable transformation. Joe Dispenza, an expert in biochemistry and neuroscience, has gathered substantial evidence that a person’s general beliefs about themselves and their lives, coupled with the coherence of their electromagnetic field (arguably another way to measure qualities of consciousness) impact the quality of life circumstances experienced on a daily basis.

So the mind is impacting our behaviours, our cells, and our experience of life. Does it also connect with anything other than the physical?

Have you ever been ‘struck’ by an idea, or had an inspiration hit you ‘like lightning’? This is a common phenomenon, where great artists, poets and even scientists talk about ‘receiving’ ideas rather than inventing them: as if the inspiration already existed and the job of the artist or scientist was to be open and available to ‘catch’ them. In my life, I have certainly had these experiences, where music, lyrics, and speeches have seemingly ‘arrived’ in my consciousness and I have almost felt more like the listener rather than the singer, speaker or writer of what was being expressed. In my belief system, this seemingly external consciousness may come from the soul, or from a field of consciousness that is intrinsic to the whole universe (as in the cosmology of panpsychism – see David Chalmers, Christof Koch and Phillip Goff, and the cosmology of panspiritism – see Steve Taylor). Perhaps our minds are not only a means of communicating with the consciousness of our bodies and physical realities, but also with our souls, and with consciousness that exists beyond our individuated selves. This suggests that with clarity of mind, we may be able to attain greater connection with a sense of clarity, purpose, meaning and inspiration in our lives.

And then there is the nature of the mind itself. What a huge impact mental health has on our wellbeing! When our minds are clouded with insecurities, stresses and negative thoughts, we usually feel limited, held back, and sometimes depressed or anxious. When our minds are clean and clear, we feel present and alive. We are able to experience the beauty of the world around us, connect more deeply with those we love, and feel enabled to be our best selves.

In a way, our minds are magical. Not in the other-worldly sense of Hogwarts and Unicorns, but in an almost more exciting this worldly sense of personal empowerment, transformation and the capacity to live healthy, happy, connected and abundant lives. Our minds are precious gems - and our job is to polish them, so they become clear enough to let our light shine through.