When I first started understanding the concept that we have two voices in our head (the conscious and subconscious) I was a little confused.
I’ve done a whole lot of meditating (and reading on the subject) since then and understand it much better now.
One of the questions I would ask myself was whether I was thinking thoughts from my subconscious egoic mind or from my higher conscious true self.
It is so easy to tell now but at first it really wasn’t. I guess what confused me is that I always thought we should trust our subconscious because that was more “instinctive.” We’re supposed to follow our instincts, right? Not always! At least not the lower instincts.
See, our brainstem is responsible for basic functions like breathing and heart rate. Every living creature has at least a basic brain that functions like this. It’s the unthinking brain that makes you pull your hand away from a hot stove. It’s where fight or flight comes from. These are called autonomic functions.
Our limbic system is our seat of emotions. This part contains the amygdala which sorts out emotions. The amygdala lives on top of the hippocampus, by the way, which stores emotionally charged memories.
Then there’s the cortex. This is our higher thinking brain. This is what sets us apart from other animals. Without it we couldn’t understand verbal and nonverbal cues, plan things out, regulate our emotions and more. The cortex is our analytical brain.
Fun fact: Children don’t yet have a developed cortex which is why they can’t handle their emotions.
So, if you think about it, you don’t just want to use your limbic system because you’d be more animalistic. You would act like an ape in the sense you would be highly driven by emotions and concentrate mostly on eating, sleeping, fighting and reproducing with some grooming and basic socialization. (Though their worlds are very complex and we’re finding out great apes can communicate in a more complex way, plan, use tools, recognize themselves in a mirror and much more, they are still no where near as high functioning as humans).
Our higher brain is where we do our reasoning and higher functioning in life. Primarily in the frontal lobe.
Obviously, all of this works together and the brain is much more complicated than this basic description.
Now, I have come to believe that there’s an even higher level of awareness called our higher selves. You aren’t going to find this in science books. Some people view this as our soul.
So back to the question of how we can know whether we are thinking from our lower brain or our higher consciousness?
This is just my opinion so feel free to take it with a grain of salt. Better yet, do your own research and experiments and find out what resonates with you.
I believe that the more emotionally charged we are with our thoughts, the lower level of consciousness we are functioning. The more primal emotions, the more ego-minded.
Our spirits are made of love. We are made human to experience all senses and emotions and to make our own decisons. That is the gift of life. Our cortex brain allows us to analyze, set goals, organize our thoughts, make decisons about everything, learn new concepts and so much more. It’s a beautiful thing.
So, in my thinking, I know when I’m using my lower consciousness (limbic) mind because I feel enraged or some other very strong primal emotion.
When I’m using my higher mind (cortex) I am thinking rationally, planning and figuring out problems.
When I’m thinking with my highest consciousness I am at peace. I am calm and loving. Creativity flows and I see beauty in all things. I am understanding that we are all one. I don’t have any fears or judgments. I feel a sense of contentment. I am definitely not defensive or upset. Those are lower emotions.
The reason I mentioned meditating is because that’s how I first found my higher self. I used to be a huge worrier. There was a wheel in my mind that was always spinning. I’d stay up at night worrying. I’d dwell on everything. I was very emotionally driven. Everything was black and white. I believe I was living in state of lower consciousness; always thinking from my ego. I was letting my ego guide my actions.
When I first started meditating I could barely calm my mind for one minute. If you’re new to meditating you’ll know that one minute seems like a long time when you’re attempting to allow your mind to slow down or stop. The thoughts just pour in. That’s definitely not your higher self speaking to you. That’s your ego.
Over the years, I worked my way up to meditating for hours. They would pass like minutes. I had some amazing insights and even out of body experiences while meditating. It got to the point that I was no longer aware of my body. It’s quite amazing. It’s like my senses would disappear. Since then I’ve heard some Buddhist monk talks that described a very similar state.
One of the main reasons I feel strongly that we have a higher consciousness, or soul, is that I had an out of body experience in a meditation. I floated out of body and went to different place. A place that was very dark but extremely peaceful. There were other souls there too without form floating around like amoebas. I sensed there were animals and other beings there too. Just as I started to ask myself “who are all these beings?” One floated near me and telepathically told me “we are one” then I was sucked back into my body. I was so sad because I wanted to stay there forever. The feeling of that place was what I would describe as calm. I could think thoughts but there was an underlying peace. I wasn’t afraid of being there. I wasn’t worried or upset in anyway nor was I ecstatic or particularly happy. I think I was blissed out! And no drugs were involved, only the natural chemicals in my brain.
You can believe that or not. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m just here to blog my thoughts, ideas and experiences.
I’ve gotten to the point that I can get to that place in daily life. Not floating outside of my body, but the peace and calm place inside of me. THAT’S when I know I’m thinking from my higher consciousness and not being driven by emotions or ego.
I’m fascinated with enlightenment because I believe that it’s a state where you always think with your higher consciousness. For me, it’s glimpses. But those glimpses are oh so good. I’ve read that enlightenment is freedom from dogma or blind faith and having the courage to be led by your own reasoning. I love that. I don’t think anyone has a definitive definition. In Buddhism it is finding “the truth in life” and referred to as nirvana.
Pro tip: You can never TRY to mediate. It’s kind of the opposite of trying. You have to let go in order to meditate. After that out of body experience, I wanted it back really badly. I kept trying to get there but the harder I tried, the further I got from ever getting there. I’ve come to realize, at least for me, that I just have to calm my mind (I start with body scanning like yoga nidra) then just relax and expect nothing. If I think a thought, I come back to body awareness or imagine it floating by.
Interestingly, our dreams may contain some higher conscious thoughts. I don’t believe all dreams are our higher consciousness but some of them are. It’s reported that people like Einstein and Tesla received insights to problems during their sleep; problems they struggled to solve with their cortex brain during waking hours.
I had a dream once in which an idea for a children’s book came to me. When I woke up I wrote the whole thing in 15 minutes. I still have it but haven’t tried to get it published. I bet you’ve had insightful dreams as well. Did you ever wake up just knowing which decision to make when you had a dilemma?
The key to remembering your dreams is to not jump out of bed right away. Wake up then just lay there trying to remember them.
The last point I wanted to make is getting back to following our instincts. Instincts (as in the lower brain) are not the same as intuition. I now believe our intuition is what we should be following which comes from our higher self. Instincts are great for primal functions like fight or flight but not for guiding our lives to our greatest good and the good of others.
What are your experiences meditating?
Do you have inspiring or insightful dreams?
I’ve looked it up and know there are lots of people out there who lucid dream and have out of body experiences. Are you one of them? I think it would be so cool to connect with someone else who has had one!
I’ve had several different esoteric experiences that I want to write about. I used to be embarrassed to admit it but I’m at peace with it now. I’m at a place in my life where I’m just happy to be me. Quirks and all. I’m ready to tell my stories and experiences. So if you’re interested in stuff like this stay tuned!
Do you find yourself thinking a lot from your ego? I know I still do. It’s those snap judgments we make on a daily basis. I think that’s a big problem today. But I also believe there are more and more people open to this idea of finding their higher consciousness and allowing it to help lead them to their best life.
If you ever want to get to that place of higher consciousness, might I suggest that you constantly ask yourself if you are making this decision or action or saying these words from a place of love. If you’re not, you may need a moment to get to that place of calm with some centering or grounding techniques or whatever works for you (being alone, meditating, being in nature, sleeping on it, etc). You have to experiment with that to find what works for you.
I hope this finds you happy and well.
Thank you for reading.