I’d like to clarify a few simple concepts about the brain, consciousness, and the mind.
The brain is the organ of the central nervous system that has the greatest number of neurons clustered together. When neurons are in great number, we have intelligence. As a matter of fact, the brain consists of some one hundred billion neurons that are connected in a myriad of three-dimensional patterns. The diverse combinations of these billions of neurons linked together and firing in unique sequences are neural networks or neural nets, as they are affectionately called by scientists. When nerve cells team up and make new connections, it is because we learned something new. We are, therefore, changed by our individual learning as well as personal experiences.
Nerve cells or neurons are extremely tiny. About 30,000 – 50,000 fit on the tip of a pin. In one part of the brain called the neocortex, each nerve cell has the possibility of linking with 40,000 – 50,000 other nerve cells. In another section of the brain called the cerebellum, nerve cells have the potential of connection with up to a million other nerve cells.
Because the human brain affords so many possible connections between neurons, and because neurons are unique cells that can communicate directly with each other, the brain is able to process thought, perform actions, demonstrate behaviors, speculate possibilities, remember experiences, and learn new things, just to name a few. Therefore, the brain is the instrument that facilitates conscious awareness.
Let’s talk now about consciousness. Consciousness is not the same thing as the brain. Think of consciousness as what inhabits and occupies this bio-computer called the brain. We have the ability to think and, at the same time, observe our own thinking process. Consciousness is our awareness of self and our awareness of the world around us. Equally, it is that intelligence in us that consistently and consciously gives us life, moment by moment.
Therefore, there are two elements to our consciousness. Part of consciousness maintains an individual free will–the part of you and me that is a thinking personality with our own traits and characteristics. This is the conscious aspect of our selves with certain unique qualities. It is subjective and it therefore has the ability to learn, to remember, to create, to dream, to choose, and even to not choose. We will call this part of consciousness, secondary consciousness.
The other element of consciousness, which we’ll call primary consciousness or the subconscious, has to do with the intelligent awareness within us that gives us life every day. This is a system of awareness that is separate from the conscious mind. It is what keeps our body in order. Thus, as a bio-computer, the brain has the ability to process trillions of automatic functions every second on a cellular level and an aggregate level as well, of which we are consciously unaware. Specific parts of the brain possess specialized anatomy to manage these rudimentary processes. These are the aspects of our health and life that we take for granted every day, the systems that control our heart, digest our food, filter our blood, regenerate cells, and even organize our DNA.
This intelligence knows so much more than what our personality self knows (even though we think we know it all). It takes a great and unlimited consciousness to be so responsible for all of these functions. Few ever stop to acknowledge its power, will, and infinite intelligence.
This aspect of consciousness is what gives life to all things. It is objective and constant. It is the quantum field, the source, point zero, and the void. It is the Observer that observes, holds, and collapses the quantum field into physical form. It is a real intelligence with quantifiable energy or force that is innate to all things. It is, literally, life. Quantum physics, as we are learning, is just beginning to measure this field of potentials.
We as human beings possess both elements of consciousness; we have free will to choose life as we like it, and at the same time, some greater intelligence is giving and allowing us life every second. We are consciously aware as secondary consciousness, and we are connected to primary consciousness. We could not exist without this force of life. As a matter of fact, science is now beginning to understand that everything physical (including you and me) is just the tip of an immense iceberg. The question is, what is the field that holds it all together and how do we make contact with it?
The brain has the equipment, so to speak, to facilitate both these levels of consciousness. When consciousness is facilitated through the human brain, the end result is called mind. Mind is what the brain does. Mind is the brain at work, the brain in action. It is produced when an operating brain is animated with life. There is no mind without the physical expression of life through a working brain.
Mind, then, is the product of consciousness manipulating this fine instrument called the brain. The brain without consciousness is inert and lifeless. Since both of these specific levels of consciousness animate the brain to create mind, we must possess two different arrangements at work in the brain. We have conscious mind and subconscious mind embroidered in two diverse brain processes.
Naturally, the brain has two distinct generalized systems with the proper hardware to facilitate these two types of consciousness. The home of conscious awareness in our brain is in the neocortex, which is our thinking brain. The “crown” of our brain, the neocortex is the seat of our free-willed personality. It is the part of the brain that makes each of us unique, that distinguishes us from other individuals. The neocortex, therefore, is where the secondary consciousness lives. All of our individual experiences and willful learning in this lifetime are recorded and processed in the neocortex.
The parts of the brain that function under subconscious control are the midbrain, the cerebellum, and the brainstem. For the most part, these regions have no conscious centers. However, they do possess an intelligence that not only keeps the body in order, but handles an infinite to-do list. Thank God, you and I as conscious beings do not have to be responsible for 100,000 chemical reactions per second in every cell of the 70 to 100 trillion cells of our body. The consciousness that uses these parts of the brain is literally our connection to the quantum field or primary consciousness.
To summarize, then, the brain is the organ that consciousness uses to manipulate thoughts into learning and experiences. Mind is the product of the brain in action. Mind operates when the brain is “alive,” processing conscious and subconscious mechanisms. Consciousness has two specific qualities. Primary consciousness is the observer, the source, the quantum field, and you and I are connected to it by the way our brain is hooked up to that field through the midbrain, the cerebellum, and the brainstem. Secondary consciousness is the traveler, the free-will personality that learns and evolves its understandings for a greater expression of life. Its home is the neocortex.
When we can unify our conscious mind to that infinite mind with unlimited potentials, we now have access to a world of new possibilities. As a matter of fact, there is a specific science that studies what happens in the brain when we emulate the observer. When we begin to enact our God-given right to create, we eclipse with the observer. Now the observer as primary consciousness is observing our observation as secondary consciousness. Once we understand how the brain works to create mind, we can begin our journey into unknown future potentials. Celebrate the genius that is you!