By Tania Kotsos
UPDATED: JUN 2020
The conscious mind is also known as the self-aware mind or objective mind. It is the first level of mind at which you attain self-awareness. Through the conscious mind, you are consciously aware of yourself in the physical world as being personally separate from others and as having a distinct personality. It is the mind of your five physical senses, enabling you to consciously experience the outside physical world as the protagonist of your experience. But most importantly, the self-aware mind is the seat of your capacity to reason and use logical discernment.
This ability to reason is what sets human beings apart in the animal kingdom. Your conscious mind essentially grants you the freedom to consciously choose the thoughts of your inner mental world. And since your thoughts are the cause of your outside physical circumstances, you must engage your reasoning power in order to discern right from wrong thinking and maximise your thought power.
Through the power of the conscious mind you can also decide how to react to outside circumstances, rather than leaving your reactions, be they emotional or otherwise, at the mercy of the programs of the unreasoning subconscious mind. Self-awareness also enables you to objectively study and identify your subconscious mind's core beliefs in order to reprogram them if they do not serve you.
Given its capacity to reason and discern, your conscious mind has an incredibly important role. It is intended to be the guardian at the door of your subconscious mind, ensuring that only wanted and empowering messages are allowed through. It is intended to be the commander of your subconscious mind, as it is only through it that you can access the subconscious.
The words 'intended to be' have been stressed intentionally since most people have no idea of this incredible role of the conscious mind. Instead, they experience life as if automatons, indiscriminately allowing messages from the media, society, school, friends, family and even those they deem their enemies to pass through to their subconscious mind unchecked and irrespective of their nature.
The New Thought author, Charles Haanel, explains this incredibly important role of the conscious mind in his book The Master Key System: "The subconscious mind does not engage in the process of proving. It relies upon the conscious mind to guard it from mistaken impressions. When the 'watchman' is 'off guard', or when its calm judgment is suspended, under a variety of circumstances, then the subconscious mind is unguarded and left open to suggestion from all sources."
It is your self-aware mind that gives meaning to your experiences. Your conscious mind receives impressions from the outside world in the form of raw inputs that have no implicit meaning. It then modifies these inputs by using emotion, perception and associated memories to give them meaning. In turn, it sends the adjusted inputs down to your subconscious mind, which effectively instructs the subconscious mind to accept them and to carry out the directions implicit within them.
The problem is most people do not consciously evaluate the inputs they receive, nor do they pay any attention to the meaning they give them before the inputs are allowed to pass from their conscious mind to their subconscious mind. In this way, unbeknown to you, you have facilitated the scripting of your subconscious mind's core beliefs, both positive and negative, that is today largely determining the quality of your life.
Even if you are consciously self-aware at the level of your personality or personal self, and even if you pay attention to your thoughts about what is going on around you, you are more than likely still acting out the script held in the subconscious mind, albeit unbeknown to you, simply because you believe and assume it to be true and not up for change.
Your subconscious mind's beliefs make up your core beliefs that you use to navigate the landscape of your experience. This 'map' is used by your personal self for survival and for the consistency of knowing what to expect out of life so as to avoid negative surprises, even if what you expect is not what you want. The 'map' itself is personal, not factual, because it's based on a set of personal beliefs you did not consciously choose to begin with and whose validity or accuracy you never questioned. And when the beliefs are negative they can only lead you away from where you wish to be.
Unbeknown to most people their life is being run in strict accordance with a set of deeply ingrained subconscious programs that they did not consciously choose in the first instance. To complicate matters even more, according to psychology, most of these programs are locked in place by the age of around seven to ten, and then again through the formative teenage years and up to one's late 20s.
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This is because a child's or young person's ability to reason with the conscious mind is limited compared to that of an adult. This may enable a child to learn new information with relative superiority but it also means that a child's subconscious mind, being more easily programmed, is left wide open to unchecked negative messages that it receives through what he or she hears and observes. By the time a child has reached its later teenage years, his/her capacity to reason through the conscious mind has significantly developed and he/she is able to consciously choose what messages to accept or reject.
But even then, they more often than not fail to do so because of the already existing beliefs. In this way the young person's mind continues to be passively programmed until their late 20s, where passively means without one's conscious mind's input or agreement. Put simply, once core beliefs are in place and the subconscious mind is carrying them out, what shows up in the outer world serves to confirm those beliefs and there is little room to believe in change.
This search for confirmation by the conscious mind is known as confirmation bias, which is the tendency to look for, interpret, favour, and recall information that serves to confirm or support one's existing personal beliefs or values, and in turn, reject contradictory information. This goes a long way in explaining why people tend to have similar experiences even if outside people and circumstances change, be it in their relationships, finances or other areas of life.
As is the case with the subconscious mind, the first degree of self-aware consciousness has a weak spot of its own. The Achilles' heel of the self-aware conscious mind is that it identifies with what I have called the counterfeit ego of your personality, which itself comes part and parcel with your perceptions of your memories and related beliefs, your assumed strengths and weakness, the idiosyncrasies of personality that you use to define who you believe you are and so on.
Through the counterfeit or false ego, you personally and objectively experience yourself as being separate from all those things outside the physical you, including people and things. Your point of reference at the degree of consciousness of the conscious mind is ‘me’ while everyone and everything else is perceived as ‘them’ and ‘outside things’. The counterfeit ego of the personality treats the outside world as the cause and the inside world as the effect of that cause and this proves a barrier to believing the truth that it is the other way around.
We have seen that the conscious mind is that part of your consciousness that is operating at the level of your personality or counterfeit ego. It is the first level of self-aware consciousness but bear in mind that all levels of mind above the subconscious are, by definition, conscious and objective. As you raise your degree of consciousness and awareness above this first degree of the conscious mind, you gain access to the superconscious mind of the Higher Self. At this level of mind, you hold the master key that unlocks all of life's mysteries. This is the seat of the Real Ego in the original meaning of the Greek word «ΕΓΩ» (EGO) meaning I.
Not only can the subconscious mind be reprogrammed with ease at the level of the superconscious mind but the reasoning ability of the conscious mind also becomes heightened. You also become consciously aware of the wholly subjective nature of your experience. At this level of mind, you know that everything and everyone (including the physical you) is a projection of your mind and hence subject to change by changing your mind. The route from living at the level of the subconscious mind up to the superconscious mind, is always first through the self-aware conscious mind.