"Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Seven to ten billion bits of information are streaming into your nervous system RIGHT NOW and in each and every moment! How do you process this onslaught? How do you decide what to focus on and what to forget or put on hold? Your nervous system is designed to “make sense” of all of this input and create a smooth and stable experience. But it does that at a cost. You end up ignoring much of what is going on and selectively paying attention to only parts of your moment to moment realty. This is how you maintain your sanity, or at least what seems like sanity. Of course, it is impossible to be aware of everything.
Your plate is full; in fact, overflowing, and more than likely you are running through the events of your life on autopilot. Yet in the midst of this barrage of chaotic input you make endless choices that impact the quality of your life and the lives of those around you. Are you aware of what your choices are? Are you aware of the choices you have made today? Your life is a collection of the results of the multitude of choices that you make every second. While you can’t be consciously aware of every choice you make, you can be selective about the choices that will impact you the most. If you are like most people, you don’t realize that you are actually the author, creator, and sustainer of your attitude and experiences in life. Most of the time you probably have the sense that you are the spectator and recipient of experience rather than the creator. Most of the time choices seem to be made for us. But each moment you can choose to be and act from a positive state of mind or a negative state of mind. This is a huge choice. It defines who you are; it defines your basic attitude about living.
Since billions of bits of information flood into your nervous system every second, you can only imagine that you’d have to have some blinds spots. Can you imagine what it would be like if you were actually consciously aware of everything streaming into your senses? That is a lot of information! Think about the wide-open look on the face of an infant whose nervous system is totally open to all the millions of bits. “Seven to ten million bits…I’ve got to sleep…I am tired…I am hungry…Someone change my diaper…I need a break.” No wonder they sleep so much!
As your nervous system developed, it formed two aspects of awareness. One part is your conscious mind, very much like the tip of an iceberg, floating above the vast, usually shadowed, other part, your unconscious mind. Your conscious awareness is like a spotlight. It shines a light on something specific, something particular happening in this very moment. Right now for instance, you are aware of the words on the page, perhaps you hear the sounds in the room, but you are probably not aware of what your tongue is doing. Ah, now you are. That is because the word triggered a specific part of your conscious mind to focus on your tongue.
You can choose to direct your spotlight of conscious awareness to different parts of your experience. In the process you can build a stronger muscle of awareness that allows you to discover, identify, and actually shrink your blind spots. This requires becoming more and more receptive to paying attention to what is going on in the moment.
There are verbal and nonverbal clues about what is happening, and you need to recognize them first and foremost. Once identified you can re-educate your awareness to be open and alert to seeing and using all of the feedback available, not just the tiny pieces you usually focus on.