“The brain processes 400 billion bits of information a second but we’re only aware of 2,000 of those. That means that reality is happening in the brain all the time”.
Joseph Dispenza from the DVD: What The Bleep Do We Know?!
If you were to look at a tree, you could probably see every leaf on that tree (depending on angle etc). But would you know how many leaves were on that tree?
If you tried to recall in great detail let’s say your 5th birthday, could you do it?
Yet under hypnosis people have been taken back to events in their early life (such as early birthdays) and they can recall the events of the day in great detail. The brain is a phenomenal computer with massive retention of detail, be it the number of leaves on a tree or what present your Aunt Gertrude gave you on your 5th birthday, how it was wrapped and that fact that you already had one of them from the previous Christmas! But do you need that much recall? If you went through your whole life with all these facts, figures and memories bouncing around, it would be hard to function due to the overload of information. That is why our brains have filters, which cuts out some of the information that we perceive we simply don’t need. They serve to keep our conscious mind only fed with the amount of information it can cope with and primarily focused on the most important things. For example, you become aware of the car coming down the road as you cross over, rather than how many petals there are on the tulips in the garden on the other side. One piece of information could save your life, so it prioritised over the other which will generally be filtered out.
Sometimes these filters malfunction a bit. Have you ever had the experience where you’ve lost something, looked all over for it and been unable to find it, then some clever bugger comes in as says “here it is”, in a place that you looked closely at several times. You wonder how on Earth you could possibly have missed it!
Basically, your own brain sometimes gets a block and filters out information that you need, but fortunately this is not that common.
These filters are of course largely based on our upbringing and life experiences telling us what is and isn’t important. However, we can often get things wrong and we can easily be filtering out important pieces of information!
Our social conditioning too can affect us. Is that guy offering to help carry a ladies groceries just being an old fashioned gentleman or is he trying to find an excuse to get closer to her and perhaps attack her later? Sometimes social conditioning and education causes our logic to over-ride a gut feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that any guy who offers to help is a potential rapist, but you can see how if somebody is raised to expect good manners, they may overlook some other warning sign!
“Your mind has a spam filter on it, just like your email. There are literally billions of calculations going on every second just in your body alone”.
“Your spam filter is blocking out everything that is not important to you. Until you tell your brain that something is important, then it will keep it filtered out”.
Andy Shaw, author of Creating A Bug Free Mind.
Bearing in mind that we are capable of taking in vastly more information than we are consciously aware of; sometimes our unconscious mind will notice something that our conscious mind has missed.
Maybe that friendly looking guy who is being so helpful was in the newspaper last year as a rape suspect or mugger. Your conscious mind doesn’t have a chance of remembering, but your unconscious mind does. The unconscious mind cannot communicate this directly to the conscious mind, but it can communicate by emotions. It can give you that gut-feeling we call intuition!
I know this is a simplistic example, but it can take many forms. Let’s say for example that you’re walking home late at night and you have 2 options of which route to take. For no apparent reason, one of them just doesn’t feel comfortable. Your logical mind tells that this route is shorter, reasonably well lit and you can’t find a good reason why you don’t feel safe. Perhaps your conscious mind has forgotten that you saw some shady looking character walking down that way earlier and your unconscious is concerned that they might still be lurking around. It sends you an uncomfortable “feeling” to warn you.
I’ve always believed that women tend to be more intuitive than men, as men rely on logic more. Sometimes logic is good, but sometimes it can be our undoing as there is a time and place for both. Women for example, often know when they are being lied to, yet if you ask them how they know; very often they don’t have a clue. They just know, their intuition tells them. The giveaway signs of a tiny shift in a person’s body language, maybe lack of eye contact, some almost undetectable change in tonality; the unconscious mind receives it all and process it even if the conscious mind can’t.
So intuition can be a useful life skill in relationships, work, whilst driving, just about any facet of life including of course your self-protection. As with the examples above, it can save us getting into a dangerous situation in the first place by listening to the gut feeling which defies our logic and social conditioning.
Assuming that you gone somewhere and everything is fine, no warning signals and everybody is happy; then suddenly out of the blue without any warning, somebody starts to pick a fight. When somebody is picking a fight there are certain clues as to when they are actually going to stop talking and threatening and actually physically attack. That is not the subject of this post as to cover it properly would take too long. However, if you want to pursue this subject in depth then I recommend Geoff Thompson’s book, Dead Or Alive.
If you asked most people to list the signs that a physical attack is imminent, most people wouldn’t really be able to give an in depth answer. However, your unconscious mind will pick up every sign and feed it back to you, if only you are able to be aware able to notice these signals.
Even in a more friendly setting like a competition or just club sparring, some people seem to have the uncanny ability to automatically know just when their opponent is about to move no matter how much the opponent tries not to telegraph their technique. It is almost as if some people can “read” their opponents. This is basically intuition. Their years of training have taught them to read every sign, even the slightest of change of breath, the slightest change in facial expression or bodily tension before an before the opponent attacks, which gives away their intention. Again, the defender may not actually consciously realise that they know these signs or what these signs actually are, but their unconscious has long since learnt to recognise them. And if their conscious mind is calm and quiet, it is able to receive this warning information from the unconscious mind.
Developing your intuition is almost a side effect of Mushin (calming the mind and silencing the inner voice). The silenced conscious mind can receive ideas from the unconscious mind. It can receive, acknowledge and respond to the emotions sent by the unconscious mind in the form of a gut feeling or intuition. You could call it an instinctive knowing. I say “almost” a side effect of Mushin, because when we start to feel these intuitions, even if we have become good at Mushin, we still have to take the leap of faith and actually trust these messages that we have started to receive. Even if we can think very clearly in a crisis, we still have to learn to trust that sometimes we don’t need to think, we just need to allow ourselves to respond automatically without any thought at all.