THE THREE LEVELS OF MIND – SENSATIONS, FEELINGS and COGNITION
We are all familiar with the mind as having differing levels of consciousness. One common understanding is that we have the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious. Freud suggested we have the ID, the EGO and the SUPER-EGO.
There are many other interpretations that come from conventional as well as the ancient mystical viewpoints.
You may need to put your own preconceived ideas to one side while you explore and try to understand the mind from the position of the SENSATIONS, FEELINGS and COGNITION.
The first level of mind deals in SENSATIONS, which are generated in the brainstem.
The second level of mind deals in FEELINGS, which are generated in the limbic system.
The third level is the COGNITIVE mind which is housed in the prefrontal cortex.
The current scientific and mental health paradigm regards the cognitive function of the brain as the controlling force, and all brain research, human behaviours and mental health approaches are based on this belief.
However the brainstem, acting through sensations, is by far the most powerful and influential part of the human brain. This understanding will eventually turn the current paradigm upside down, in that the brain works more powerfully upwards from the brainstem, and not downwards from the cortex.
Janovian Primal Therapy (JPT) was the tool I used to open up my lower subconscious levels so that they became part of my conscious state. During my journey through JPT I got to experience my three levels of mind, which were the COGNITIVE, the FEELINGS (as different from emotions) and my SENSATIONS. My sensations were very strong and powerful and were the reason I had very little cortical, or thought control, over my depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. All these things developed because of traumatic imprinting in my brainstem.
All this goes against the current paradigm that suggests we can control bothersome emotions and thoughts through positive thinking, exercise, diet and meditation etc. Undergoing JPT leaves one in no doubt that strong sensations from the brainstem are responsible for what we feel, and then feelings drive our thoughts, ideas and actions.
The implications in understanding the brain in this way are huge, and especially so in understanding the causes of mental health disorders, as well as the way we relate to others.
This is not a theory or hypothesis – it is how the brain works. The sensations, feelings and cognition are three different ways of experiencing this world. The psychological industry is based on pure intellectualism, with academic grades coming from tests on the activity of the pre-frontal cortex only. Their training does not include any requirement to experience the full force of their own sensations, and so this part of their brain is not part of the current understanding of human functioning, especially as it applies to the causes and cures of mental health disorders.
Once a person has experienced their three levels of mind they will develop a very different world view. From this perspective many important aspects of human functioning can be explained.
For example, LOVE is a sensation/feeling generated in the lower brain, so the need to repress primal pain also keeps the human race from its loving feelings. This activity in the brain has dire consequences for the whole of the human species.
This blog will further discuss how the interaction between the three levels of mind, or consciousness, affect human behaviour. With my co-author Steve Tandy we will write about how removing primal pain imprinted in the brainstem leads us to be able to experience pure love. In our experience pure love encompasses and expresses our higher selves, our spirituality, our inbuilt God force, Zen, Tao, Tantra, Kundalini – all these things and more are representative of love in action. They all come from and are best experienced and understood within the THREE LEVELS of MIND.
The best way to experience being in this world is through the SENSATIONS and FEELINGS.
Gil Bates, June 2017