How to Quiet Reason and Listen to Your True VoiceNone By Homaira Kabir
“The heart has its reasons which reason does not know.” —Blaise Pascal
You glance over your shoulder and see someone at the table behind you. Something inside of you instantly tells you that you should keep away. If asked to explain your reasons, you simply shrug your shoulders. Or you come up with something that doesn’t even sound right. You may even convince yourself of your reasons and marvel at your rationality. Ah, the vanity of the mind!
And yet, so much of our daily lives are governed by mental processes that occur outside of conscious awareness. Scientists now differentiate between the slow and deliberate workings of the conscious mind and the almost instantaneous behaviors initiated by the vast cognition of the subconscious. How often have you thought deliberately of lifting each foot as you walk? Or consciously analyzed the meaning of a red light before deciding to stop? Luckily never, or else our lives would be marked by total inaction!
The Three Brains
Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, divides our cognition into what he calls the three brains—in our gut, around our heart, and in our head.
Remember the time your heart fluttered and it was love at first sight? Or when butterflies invaded your stomach before an important presentation? Heartfelt emotions and gut feelings are not simply metaphors.
They are the messages that are conveyed to our subconscious mind through a complex web of the vagus nerve that connects mind and body. They are the decision makers behind “off-screen” thinking where reason has no access. If anything, reason is a latecomer to evolution’s party, that simply justifies the speedy decisions of its older comrades. It's like our own personal lawyer.
This neural system generally serves us well. But what happens when the client is guilty and its lawyer is bound by law to uphold its case? For in the vast subconscious of beliefs,