Can you ever truly claim to have made a choice subconsciously, or were you involved consciously, at some level?
Hey everyone, another blog for you today; this time on the issue of subconscious choices, and whether or not they always get made consciously.
This was a conversation that I had during one of my guest spots, over at LOA Today. You can check out the episode, in it’s entirety here:
So Walt (one of my co-hosts, along with the lovely Alyx) contended that it is simply not possible for us to make a choice, purely from the subconscious mind. My view is that it’s perfectly possible, but we had to get clear on defining our terms.
Based on scientific research; we all operate subconsciously up to 90% of the time.
Good thing too, because if you had to consciously choose to breath all the time, you’d never get anything else done. We also know that between the ages of two and seven is when we really start taking things in mentally, forming the framework of beliefs that will run our subconscious for the rest of our lives. More or less.
Walt believes strongly that kids of that age are very conscious, because of how attentive they to everything around them. I don’t define that as conscious choice making though, because while they are very alert to what’s around them; they are operating on pretty much pure theta brain waves. In other words: they don’t have a filter for the information.
Now we know this because we’re able to measure brainwaves, that much is all but indisputable, but as Walt asked:
“How do we know that this represents choice?”
Now of course, we had shifted topic slightly, but my point in talking about the brainwave state of children, during this time of acute observation, was that: it is then that their subconscious is being informed, without intervention or judgement based on previous experience. So during this phase, it surely is possible for our subconscious to form an opinion, that will then unwittingly carry over into adulthood, where it will continue to run the show undetected. In effect: representing a choice, or choices, that we never made consciously.
I see this a lot in my coaching; people falling prey to the idea that they are ‘in the river of change’ when in fact they’re just making the same choices, time and time again.
We all know someone who keeps dating the same type of people, even though they know, through bitter experience, that they will inevitably end up in a place of heartbreak. And what do they say when that happens?
“I’ve learned a lesson”
No you haven’t! Not unless you make changes to your choices, get out of the ‘river of change’ and on to the ‘bank’ of your new life!!
No event is a lesson, unless you show up ready to learn from it. If you messed around in class at school, can you call those lessons? You walked away none the wiser (except maybe in how to avoid learning, which doesn’t strike me as wise).
I’m currently learning Russian. I don’t get every word right, first time. I have to come back to some of them a few times, but I’m doing so with the intention of learning and moving on. Repeating the same mistakes time and time again, calling it ‘a lesson’, but not doing any work to change based on it, isn’t learning. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s definitionally insane!
I’ve fallen into this trap in my life before, many times: falling into the same old traps and calling them ‘lessons’. It took one of my mentors to say “Dan, when are you going to finish school?” before I woke up to what I was doing.
To cut to the chase: I think this all really comes down to intention.
We can zoom out and see things from the greater perspective of the universe, in which case: none of this means anything anyway! We can choose to live our lives in repetition of the same old ‘lessons’ every day, and that’s fine, but if we show up expressing the desire to grow: we have to make ourselves aware of the choices that our subconscious is making for us.
Making the choice not to be a victim of chance, requires conscious intervention at all levels of our decision making. I think that this being necessary in the first place, means that we have to be running on at least some subconsciously made choices, that did not originate from our conscious mind.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you if you have a differing perspective, or have something to add. Please drop me a comment down below and I’ll get back to you.
That’s all for today.
Thank you so much for reading this blog, from the bottom of my heart! If you enjoyed it, I produce regular Do It With Dan blogs, podcasts and videos. I have three books published now: Stepping Beyond Intention, The Dreamer’s Manifesto and From Time-to-Time (a really great book on time mastery). All of these are here to serve you and make you part of the journey as well.
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