“To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream. Not only plan but also believe.”
In the first part of this series, we had learnt about the Thinking Entity consisting of the Conscious Mind, Subconscious Mind (SCM), Intellect, and Ego or in Hindi, Mana, Chitta, Buddhi and Ahankar. Please read the first part before you dive into this one to get the concepts clear. In the last part, we had talked about the fact that the mind and brain are not the same things, though we may erroneously keep believing so. The brain is a physical entity enclosed inside our skulls with its intricate web of neurons, axons, dendrites and so on. The mind (the conscious one) on the other hand refers to the flow of thoughts. We had also discussed the fact that the SCM has a separate brain, the solar plexus, which operates quite differently from that of our brain, which is used by our conscious mind.
Solar Plexus: The Second Brain
Having understood the Thinking Entity and how we think and act, let’s learn about the brain of the SCM – the Solar Plexus. It may sound farfetched to you, but our Solar Plexus has a place of pride, both in our scriptures and in science. Let’s tackle the scriptures first.
According to the Kundalini Yoga, the Manipura Chakra or “the city of jewels” or “the lustrous gem” is located in our navel centre or the solar plexus. This is supposed to be a radiant centre of energy that distributes life throughout the human body. This chakra is so important that without it, the Kundalini Energy cannot be awakened. This centre is the nucleus of the “soul-based consciousness” meaning that it has the power to plug into the Infinite Intelligence and get us the answers to all our questions that our conscious mind and intellect is incapable of getting. Biologically too, the Manipura Chakra is the originating point of 72,000 nadis (channels that carry life force energy.)
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the ancient fountainhead of all yogic sciences, elaborates “Sutra 3.30” or “Samyama on the Navel”. This is essentially a manifestation meditation about which we will discuss in the following series. Samyama as per Patanjali is an amalgamation of dharna (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (realization). This form of meditation is supposed to manifest whatever one wants in life.
In ancient Greece, navel-gazing was called Omphaloskepsis and was a form of philosophical pursuit and enquiry. In the Chinese Taoist tradition of Tai Chi, one is supposed to be conscious at all times of his/her navel, always remain in navel-centred consciousness.
Coming to science now, the solar plexus area is referred to as the “second brain.” This is called the “Enteric Nervous System” which has sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of the gut. The number of neurons is a staggering 100 million, sizeably more than even the spinal cord. This second brain controls our gut behaviour independently of the brain. Not only that, but our emotions are also probably influenced by our second brain.
Let’s look at our life experiences too. During pregnancy, the foetus is connected and nourished by the mother’s body through the umbilical cord, which is connected to the navel. When there is a danger lurking around the corner, where do you get that “sinking feeling” or “butterflies”, of course in your gut? No wonder, it is called the “gut feeling”. Osho or Rajneesh was a great proponent of “gut centricity” and believed that our consciousness is not located in our brain, but in the gut, the belly button to be precise. We will revisit the role of the solar plexus in our manifestation exercises in the next series of posts.
Reticular Activating System (RAS)
This is another fascinating body part that has a prominent role in our thinking and consciousness. The RAS is essentially a network of neurons in our brainstem that has the power to filter out certain information from reaching the brain. What is this information that reaches your brain, which you allow to be reached? Let’s say you enter a room full of people and you are trying to locate your spouse in that crowd. It is the RAS that will blank out all the irrelevant inputs from reaching your brain so that you quickly locate your spouse. For example, if you know that she is wearing a blue coloured dress, the RAS will disregard all the persons who are males and females who are wearing dresses other than blue. If you have decided to buy a black car, you will suddenly start to see more black cars on the road. They were always there but because you had not focussed on these so far, your RAS was not filtering out other coloured cars from your consciousness.
We had discussed the limited processing power of our conscious mind. The RAS protects the mind from information overload by filtering and giving you what you feel is relevant for you. The RAS thus is a filter between your conscious mind and the SCM. This filter is set by your conscious mind- “I want to locate my wife who is wearing a blue dress and has short hair, in this crowd.” Of course, this statement is made internally and is largely unsaid but is more of an intention. With this programme set in your RAS, it reaches your SCM and thereafter only the relevant information is allowed to reach your conscious mind by your SCM. Your SCM, being the powerful entity that it is, then manifests for you what you had desired- locating your spouse within seconds in a crowd of hundreds. You would have noticed a similar situation when you go for the Parents-Teachers Interactions to the school of your child. Amidst a mass of children, wearing the same uniform, and playing on the playfield, you take only seconds to locate your child.
Now, that brings us to the topic of this article i.e. the power of your intention and belief. We could add faith to it too as our faith is nothing but what we believe in. It is very clear that the complex interrelationship between the conscious mind, the SCM and the RAS (let’s call it CSR for now) work essentially on what you intend to do or believe in. We have already discussed the intention part so let’s come to the belief bit. If I believe that my boss is biased against me and is out to harm my career, this complex system of CSR will ensure that it creates such conditions in my workplace which reinforce my belief. More goof-ups by you, more frowning by your boss, and a vicious circle.
I hope that it is becoming clear by now as to why everyone keeps harping on the positive attitude bit. The more negative and fearful your thoughts are, the worse is the filter set by your RAS for your SCM to work upon. The SCM, being the faithful and immensely powerful entity that it is, will move heaven and earth to manifest in your life whatever you direct it to. Remember that your SCM is the key to it all, it is the real power that is creating your life for you, as per your own instructions. You may be giving these instructions consciously (“I intend to top the forthcoming exam”) or unconsciously (“I have not studied enough, I hope that the paper is not too tough”- rest assured that the paper will contain mostly what you have not studied.)
Your SCM also doesn’t respond to threats or coercion, you can’t force it to manifest something for you. Saying. “I will…” amounts to such coercion. You should also not say, “I need to or I want to….” Because both convey a sense of lack to your SCM and it will manifest situations of such nature in your life. What is instead required is to go with the flow, with a belief or faith felt intrinsical. Saying, “I choose to or I intend to…” is a much better alternative.
The Law of Reversed Effort
The sceptic in you by now would be saying, “Big deal, this positive thinking stuff. I tried being positive about … for weeks and exactly the opposite happened.” You would not be far from the truth, it routinely happens. In this series, we are trying to get at the causes of such “reversed effects”- you want to be/do or have something and exactly the reverse happens. There are a few reasons for that.
Firstly, we allow the “Intellect or Buddhi” part of our Thinking Entity (TE) to get in the way. This part is the rational and logical part of the TE and hence finds it difficult to believe in something which doesn’t exist, as yet. We had learnt that the intellect works based on its memory bank meaning something that it has seen/heard/felt/smelled/touched/experienced etc. Let’s say, you want to lose 10 kg weight within the next six months, so obviously at this point, you are 10 kg overweight. Hence, in this instance, the intellect has no memory bank of you being 10 kg lesser, it is more in the realm of imagination. Now, the intellect will raise its logical query, “what nonsense, you arekg – in weight, what is this talk of – kg (10 kg less)?” The need is to get convinced that your SCM will do what it is directed to do by you, but with inner conviction.
The second reason could be that we set such fantastic goals that they don’t conform to the natural laws and hence can’t manifest. If I am terribly unfit and overweight, then a goal of running a marathon next week is well nigh impossible. It is this impossibility of this goal that you will intrinsically not believe in it, have no faith in its manifestation. Howsoever positive you may be about this goal of yours, it is unlikely to manifest because of your own disbelief and lack of faith in it. The famous French psychologist, Coue said, “When your desires and imagination conflict, your imagination invariably gains the day.” Invariably, you can’t imagine something in which you have little faith or belief.
Let’s now wrap up what we have discussed over the last two articles of this series.
- Our “Thinking Entity” consists of four parts- the conscious mind, the subconscious mind (SCM), the intellect and the ego.
- The conscious mind is the “captain of the ship” which stands guard at the helm to consciously allow perceptions and thoughts to come inside our Thinking Entity.
- Since there is an overwhelming number of perceptions that might crash the conscious mind, due to its limited processing power, we have a part called the Reticular Activating System (RAS), which filters the incoming perceptions as per the directions of the conscious mind.
- The “filtered thought programmes” sink to our SCM embedding themselves in it, forever. They may remain dormant for years or decades but come to the fore when some decision is to be made. The SCM will provide us clues in the form of hunches, intuitions, sixth-sense or Déjà vu.
- The SCM is carrying such impressions not from the current birth but also the past births and hence is our connection with the superconsciousness, the Infinite or Divine Intelligence.
- Like we have a brain which is the brain for the conscious mind, similarly, the brain for the SCM is our solar plexus, through which we are connected to the Divine Intelligence.
- The real power thus lies in our SCM and if we could convince it to get us something, it will.
- To convince our SCM, we need belief or faith in our intention to be, do or have something.
We will end here and let you mull over this discourse. In the subsequent series, we will go about the methodology of convincing our SCM to do our bidding, to act as our faithful slave that it is meant to be.
 Think Twice: How the Gut’s Second Brain Influences Mood and Well-Being; Scientific American.
Read more from Anand here: