In a world where energy is a sparse commodity, it is an imperative question about how your energy is being spent every day, and how can you spend it more wisely. Simply put, your five-sensory system “Sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch” are what is used to expend or receive energy from the outside world. You use them to explore your universe and surf between different experiences throughout the day. Every night, you shut them down during your sleep to recharge and get ready for the next day. In over polluted countries people suffer from hypertension and heart dis-eases and sometimes ADHD due to the continuous and unnecessary stimulus of multi-senses that leave you feeling drained and overwhelmed at the first few hours of your day that has just started!
Generally speaking, we have two kinds of consciousness. The “spotlight” and the other is the “floodlight.” The spotlight consciousness is what we call conscious attention, which means fixating your focus and directing your energy towards your senses to the task at hand. While the floodlight consciousness can manage to drive the car and notice all the stoplights, the other idiots on the road while having a conversation with your friend without even thinking about it.
At personal, organizational, and societal level, we tend to focus on and value “spotlight” learning much more highly than “floodlight” learning. The spotlight perspective dominates the world of degrees, certificates, and even much of the self-help literature focuses on the spotlight. Things tend to be easier to see, understand and manage in the spotlight. However, But being aware of and regularly tuning into floodlight learning is increasingly important in a world where we are bombarded daily with information and influences, where we have a bewildering array of choices about how and with whom we interact. So much of learning is driven by context and circumstances – whether we choose them or they are thrust upon us, but we do not often think critically about our context and circumstances.
To wander from place to place in this transitory world is to pursue “name”. A person is born naked. But then he is given a name, registered, and covered with clothes, and a nipple is stuffed into his mouth, and so on. When he grows up you say, “He is great, strong, clever, rich.” You find consolation only in words. In fact, everyone is just naked.
Your 2-million-year-old brain is not designed to make you happy, it is designed to make you survive, and it’ll always be looking for what’s wrong. Because it’s the characteristic of the spotlight consciousness to ignore stimuli that is constant, when anything is constant it assumes it’s safe, that it does not pay attention to it anymore – that is absorbed through our floodlight – around us all the time and instead we turn our focus on our troubles that might happen to us. But we make too much of it, that we identify ourselves with the radar, the spotlight, its main focus is the myopic view. Yet we end up eliminating all the gorgeous things, all the happening and all the learning that comes from the floodlight, which captures the bigger picture of our lives.
You get your energy up by getting out of your head and doing things, especially things that scare you the most. The power to control the environment, and those within it, is power over what can be felt, smelled, tasted, heard or seen. This type of power is external power. External power can be acquired or lost, as in the stock market or an election. It can be bought or stolen, transferred or inherited. It is a thought of as something that can be gotten from someone else, or somewhere else. One person’s gain of external power is perceived as another person’s loss.
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate
Meditation helps you to combat this tendency to think negatively and brings consciousness to your life. During meditation, you consciously choose to lessen the stimuli of your five senses by focusing on your breathing. Meditation cultivates your consciousnesses muscle. Being conscious means being aware of your both spotlight and floodlight consciousness altogether, while alternating between them and taking cues from both. It has the power to make you hold a conversation with your friend and observing their non-verbal communication, their facial expressions, and your surrounding as well; which will help you adjust your conversation smoothly as you go. It’s about observing yourself from the outside and being more aware of your thoughts that fuel your emotions which influence your actions without running out of breath. It’s seeing the flower along with its thorns and realizing that both constitute the flower.
Meditation helps us cut this toxic mindset off at the root rather than hacking at the branches. Meditation helps you to be more conscious, when you are conscious you use your mind to focus that the senses follow. When you are unconscious, your mind follows your senses. Your meditation helps you to spot the patterns of your toxic thoughts, and help you take a different path when faced with unnecessary thoughts. The quality of your thoughts follows the quality of your consciousness.
Let go, or be dragged
The floodlight consciousness and the extraordinary capacity of the nervous system to comprehend situations instantaneously without analysis, that is to say without verbal or numerical symbolism of the situation in order to understand it, we have this pure possibility of pattern recognition. This is why humans by nature are good with associations and bad with reasoning. Because we normally know about doing things without inherently knowing how we do them.
In a world overflowed with information and things to attend do, subscribe or follow; our attention is becoming a very expensive commodity that everyone seeks. Ads for instance work hard on exploiting as many senses as they can, they repeatedly hack your spotlight consciousness, and subtly exploit your floodlight consciousness through hearing, smell, and other senses. So that every time you use their product, multi-senses are stimulated with an exhilarating experience. The more the senses triggered, the more connections created to the product, the more loyal you become a blind follower to the product.
We have an enormous potential of intelligence of knowing how to do all sort of things which to the extent that we are academically minded people we won’t allow ourselves to do it because we don’t know how we do it because we can’t explain it. Like opening and closing your hands without any knowledge of physiology. A fully functioning person is a person who knows very well how to think things out, but he makes his best discoveries without thinking.
Both sides of the spectrum is the spectrum
Do not be fooled by your personal breakthrough because of deep thinking; I do not personally agree with the term “deep thinker” that I would rather term it as “deep observer.” Your mind always know what to do, most of the time the problem has to do with you standing in the way by claiming to think. You have to remember that on any decision making, there are always an infinite amount of data and information to take. The only reason you decide to do something is that your time is up, not because you have had a deep realization.
Ponder upon the unprecedented advancement of Ancient Egyptians, the spring of the Greek Philosophers, who paved the way to the renaissance led by Islamic Golden Age who lacked the abundance of information that we have today. Their multi-disciplinary knowledge, single tasking ability and life free from inessentials coupled with their guts; were the real reasons for their big strides in establishing the foundations of Modern Philosophy, Mathematics, Astrology, and Medicine. Information does not equate knowledge, knowledge is the art of knowing what to ignore.
Malcolm Gladwell has dedicated his whole book, Blink, to talk about Thinking Without Thinking. He mentions endless real life stories about how humans used their guts to achieve greatness, and also to survive dangerous situations. In real danger, human body tends to witness a spike in adrenaline, and racing heartbeat above 150 bpm; some senses automatically shut down to save the energy for other senses needed for survival, and how victims of live shootings were able to navigate their escape in unfamiliar territories. Your floodlight consciousness continuously surveys your surroundings to register all the details of your environment for any future reference as in a case of real danger.
“Mind the gap” there is always a gap between who you think you are “spotlight” and who you really are “floodlight.” Being conscious of this gap is what distinguish your capacity for growth or not. When we do not understand who we are, and consistently fail to see ourselves from the inside, we fail to give ourselves the proxy to exist; instead, we tend to cling to externalities and rely on others and objects to give us our daily intake of power, we end up hoarding any sort of thing from feelings to material thinking that their presence will diminish our inherent feelings of fear and our tendency for survival. We rely on people, objects, and possession to give us the power we are missing from inside. To possess something can mean to be possessed by that thing. When the things we accumulated through need have actually bound our freedom, we can say that subject and object have traded places and we become the object of possession.
So next time you think about thinking, get out of your own mind and start doing. An experiment is the only means of knowledge at our disposal. Everything else is poetry, imagination.
Till next time