Is there a difference between mind and consciousness?
Where does our mind end and our consciousness begin? What if our mind is a memory of only this lifetime—in this body, at this time—whereas consciousness is a composite memory of all our lifetimes? If we are truly a spiritual being having a human experience, then such an interpretation is possible.
For the purpose of discussion here, let’s assume a hierarchy of body-brain-mind-consciousness. Using the computer as an analogy:
- the hard drive is the brain
- the software or programs represent our mind—our present day thoughts, which reflect past experiences from both this life and other incarnations
- the image on the monitor is the projection of our mind at any given moment
If we consider this analogy further, we realize that the hard drive and monitor are neutral while the software programs—our mind (present life) and consciousness (composite of all lives)—are actually creating our reality.
The hard drive responds to whatever program is downloaded and installed—and it does not judge or place a value on any of this software. For instance, according to the hard drive, Adobe Acrobat is simply a different program than Microsoft Word, not better or worse, just different. If our brain is also neutral, just like the hard drive, then it is our thoughts that serve as the programs creating our reality. The brain is just executing these thought programs. In this case, the body, as a functioning manifestation of the brain, can be viewed as neutral, too, reacting only to the thoughts (instructions) of the mind. This would certainly explain the placebo effect and the “mind-over-matter” concept.
A software program is designed to operate in a specific way with an expected result. Is this also the case with our thoughts? Perhaps our thoughts have infinite possibilities and limitless probabilities, especially when we consider our freewill. While our thoughts, within the human experience, follow certain guidelines, we are ultimately the decision maker when it comes to installing software programs. Since we have the power to choose our thoughts, therefore, the mind runs the brain that runs the body. But, who is this “we”? This concept becomes further complicated when considering consciousness. And when the subconscious—the hidden memory of all past thoughts, feelings, and actions from all lifetimes—is added to the equation, understanding what drives the human experience becomes even more challenging. Is the “we” that makes the day-to-day decisions our brain, our mind, our consciousness, or our spiritual being? Perhaps the “we” is a dynamic and evolving composite of all of these components, changing every second through the exercise of freewill.
Whatever we see on our monitor—in our world at large—is a reflection of the programs open and running on the hard drive—our brain. Therefore, is it then possible that the world is actually neutral, only the mind programs tell us differently? No two people see the same world. While we are all sharing this human experience, our personal interpretation of the world is very individualized and subjective. We all have unique programs running in our mind, each with a different “spin” on what is happening. We all experience life within the “box” of our beliefs.
If we replace the program “I am a victim” with the program, “I create my own reality,” will we see a different world on our monitor?
Everyone has a “story,” a personal CD that is spinning in the drive. How difficult would it be to replace this CD? The brain does not care, nor does the body. In fact, the body may become healthier if a new program started playing in the brain.
What if the whole human experience is only the reflection of our thoughts, created and designed just the way we want it, for all of the various purposes and learning opportunities we want to experience in life? Then perhaps the mind truly does work primarily with the memories of this lifetime, while consciousness represents the composite memory of all lifetimes. Overall, the master program of consciousness—including the subconscious—then would be running in the background. It’s always there and open to access, but behind the scenes and not visible on the monitor.
Mind-consciousness interplay is critical for understanding the human experience and how our freewill plays into the picture.
While the body and brain are the physical elements of our reality, it is these non-physical elements—mind and consciousness—that actually determine our experience.
Moreover, since feelings follow from thoughts, how we feel about life is predetermined by our thoughts. However, we actually get to choose how we feel about everything. If we want to change how we feel, we need only change our thoughts. The beauty of the human experience is that we are the master of these thoughts—and we get to decide every moment of our life which CD will be playing.
We are the disc jockey of our world!
Steve Priester was born in Minnesota and relocated to Florida after retirement. His spiritual journey has wound its way through A Course in Miracles, Zen, and mediumship. He facilitates a weekly ACIM discussion group in The Villages, FL, and speaks to metaphysical groups on various topics. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.