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They Only Come Out at Night

Written by Joseph Carrabis

The brain, like any other organ in the body, functions best when it has a good supply of healthy resources available for thinking, feeling, deciding, not to mention monitoring the rest of the body for signs of stress and fatigue.

Neuroscience has known for years that the brain functions along certain rhythms and that these rhythms play a major role in how well people think, evaluate information and make decisions.

So here’s a simple question for you; At the end of the day, the brain’s resources are nearing depletion. True or False?

How about half and half? The conscious brain is tired. One reason we feel tired at the end of the day – regardless of any physical exertion – is because the brain’s been working all day. The more the brain works the more it sends out a “get some rest” signal to the entire body.

But the nonconscious brain? It’s ready to party-hearty.

Let’s Get Visual
Visual cognition — the ability to understand what we’re looking at and respond appropriately – and voluntary attention – the ability to focus our attention where we want to – tend to be weakest after people have been awake and going about their daily business for 10-14 hours.

Visual cognition fades and target or visual discrimination fades with it. This means people can be looking at something familiar and see something completely new and unique. Sometimes this is hallucination and sometimes you’re seeing what’s really there.

Most people who experience visual discrimination failure do so because perceptual sensitivity – the ability to clearly see the difference between two similar but not identical objects – is minimal at the end of their day. People’s eyes are tired and they can’t distinguish one item from another. This all results in what’s called attention failure; the conscious brain is making resource demands and the resources are no longer there to meet the demands.

More succinctly, the conscious brain goes into failure mode and the nonconscious brain – still fresh, happy and willing to take up the slack – takes over. It takes the same signals that our “rational” brain has been trained to interpret one way and lets us know what’s really there (if anything at all). Our conscious filters are no longer active. What you thought was a treestump in the middle of nowhere may well be the dropped hat of a wizard who was scurrying out of view.

Believing is Seeing
It’s not just our visual system that gets affected. People will be more sensitive to smells, motions, sounds, tastes, et cetera. You may think you’re imagining a gentle tap on your shoulder and maybe you’re not. The amazing aspect of this is that people can train themselves to relax their conscious mind so that the nonconscious mind does all the perceiving.

Imagine what their world must be like!

More impressively, there are people who’ve trained their conscious and nonconscious to work together, allowing each’s strengths to come to the for when necessary and letting both consciousnesses work hand-in-hand when required. This hand-in-hand aspect of consciousnesses is only a little different from people who’ve taught themselves to think with both right and left sides of their brain active (most people are right or left hemisphere dominant in the modern world and that dominance is usually determined by culture and education).

Practice Practice Practice
The way to train yourself to merge consciousnesses (and merge hemispheres, too) is simple. Psychophysicists, musicians, designers and artists have known the technique for quite a while.

Relax. Clear your mind. Breathe.

It’s that simple and probably easy to do; chances are you’ve been breathing for most of your life. If you’ve ever fallen asleep, you’ve relaxed. Ditto clearing your mind.

Go for it.

That’s all for now. Stay warm and well.

About the author

Joseph Carrabis

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