You can’t trust another till you trust yourself, because if you don’t trust yourself then how do you know who’s trustworthy?
The mind is a universe in a sense. As a recent book title seems to suggest, we have both those elements of our mind that are readily available to our awareness, and those things they thought are definitely a part of our awareness. They just never seem to surface so we can look at them clearly.
Like perception for example. The range of behavior our perceptual faculties can display is very broad. Our senses can have any number of quirks, from partial color blindness to my own amplified neural signals, which are just as much of a problem as blindness. But starting with perception, everything else can take on a shape and character that other people wouldn’t even begin to recognize let alone understand.
I’m not sure what you mean by “everything else.” Oh, downstream from perception is attention and early cognitive processes, and downstream from that is the activity we think of most often when we consider our own thoughts and experiences. One level impressing itself on the next the deeper you go.
Like, all the way down to chemicals in the neurons? Ah, that is where my issue comes in, so yes.
One example is of a young woman who had visual processing issues. Without full concentration, her visual input would cut out, so the only things she could really see were things she could focus her attention fully on. This fluctuated with her stress level, but how it affected her attention and cognition is what would shape her entire life experience, and it was “only” a perceptual issue.
A narrow visual focus or something to do with processing the image? It was visual processing. She only ever perceived part of any complete scene she was expected to respond to.
So her vision was fine, but her processing of that visual image was the problem. Yes. She could see anything, and even focus on details, but this focus just to see took up so much of her attention and cognitive resources that other things were compromised.
Her IQ was fine. She was gregarious enough, but because of how people reacted to her struggle to take everything in, her stress and behavior just got stuck on a vicious spiral. It took quite some time for someone to realize that it might be a perceptual issue, and now with a combination of personal training and assistive eyewear, she functions without issue. We just assume our perception works as it should. We take for granted that we will see and hear whatever we need to hear.
She probably didn’t know she was different from other people. She didn’t, until a doctor intuited what was up and asked some pointed questions.
I think each of our senses needs to be “trained” and sometimes re-learned. You are right, and in fact this is the ground floor or foundation of all our conscious experience. Every other process in your brain is shaped by your perceptual profile. Pain sensitivity, taste sensitivity, all of it has a direct impact on how we experience, think of the world, and model it to ourselves. What is not commonly considered though is that even the perceptual level “thinks.” On the perceptual level the concerns are very elemental, just doing its best to preserve integrity, to make certain nothing relevant to your organic well-being is missed.
I have a poster from the 60’s that says, “Each person carries within herself the world in which she must live.” They do, and they carry it in their eye. Not only beauty, but all of life is in the eye of the beholder. FMRI research has even detected that the blind still form “pictures” in their mental field of vision. They just don’t have what we would consider visual detail. Instead of color it would be texture and temperature overlaying shape.
Is that why therapists like to use visual thing like those ink blots? This is indeed true. Your senses think.
This might have something to do with “phantom limbs” after amputations. It does. The nervous system attempts to reconstruct information it expects to be there. This is also why it can be fooled with that mirror trick. Synesthesia is not as strange a thing as it might seem. Sensory cross over happens for all of us, just in most of us it isn’t conscious.
Like seeing a number as some color, etc.? Exactly. Numbers associated with tones, letters with colors, things like that.
Or seeing some day of the week as a color or a musical note? Yes. It’s natural and can be artificially induced to some small degree even in neurotypical individuals. So the thinking that goes on in the sensory parts of the brain is not normally conscious for you, but it still happens, not only the smell of freshly baked cookies, but the automatic pleasure signal as well.
Just underneath this level of awareness you have the behavior of attention, the processing and trying to make sense of what you see and hear, or otherwise sense. So where the senses are sort of the basement of the mind, attention is the ground floor and most readily available to our awareness and voluntary direction.
Perhaps why Buddhists put so much emphasis on “awareness/attention.” Yes.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.