In your mind, millions of thoughts are racing through. Some of them reach consciousness, some are only vague glimpses of memories and ideas, some are strong and magnetic. The mind needs a certain level of energy for a thought to reach an initial triggering point and in order to have an impact on your consciousnesses. This is important, because many times we overweight our awareness levels in the process of decision making. Once we have made a decision, many underlying processes had already happened inside our subconscious mind and thus it is important to broaden our understanding how our minds work in order to gain more control over our thinking and behavior.
Similarly, while working on a project, you might invest a lot of effort and you may feel that with time as you progress there is no real finalization of your work or you still have not found the right solution. However, if you leave your work for a short period of time to rest, and do something else, refocus your attention, take a nap, or watch a movie, you will notice that your ideas have matured in your head on their own as if there was a period of incubation. Sometimes you have the “A-ha!” experience when you suddenly find a solution for your problem or remember where you put your keys.
This characteristic of our minds to be in a large part on the auto-pilot is an achievement of evolution to preserve energy and to focus our attention on the signals that might be of significance for us. However, it can make us slaves to our habits or dysfunctional behaviors and thinking patterns, as well. Like the water and fire, mind is “a good servant, but a bad master”. Thus, we need to know how to put restrains on our habitual thinking and become more aware and attentive when (or better before) our brains hijack our consciousness and we become too nervous, frustrated and overwhelmed by our thoughts and emotions.
Although our conscious minds are only the tip of the iceberg, as Freud would say, we can access this massive potential that lies beneath the surface and use it to our own advantage by regularly becoming more aware of its movements and signals that come through our dreams, gut feelings, art, and intuition. Be very attentive, patient, and just observe, without intervening, and you will find that the mind, similarly to a wild animal, will become calmer and more tamed.