Monday, February 12, 2007

subconscious processes

My mind does quite a lot of work for me on its own. Subconsciously.

While I'm sleeping - or possibly doing other things? who knows? I don't, cos its subconscious.

For example - I did a class on Friday which was a bit of a pig's breakfast. I've had a few weeks of going straight from one two-hour class (with 2nd year undergrads.) straight to another two-hour class (with third years). Its not too bad if I'm either pretty focussed or at least fairly relaxed (either will do), not too tired and fairly organised. And the second class is a good one - a very nice group of students who discuss and contribute well and don't mind me eating my lunch while we work.

This week I was very tired, I wasn't focussed or organised and neither was my lecture which I'd re-arranged at the last minute. So the second class was a bit of the proverbial scraps and slops. We also had to move rooms as the projector wasn't working, and I was using a lot of pictures etc..... - and then we had to move again after an hour when another class arrived who'd been allocated the room.

I was relaxed, thankfully and I don't think the class minded the shambles too much - I did fess-up and apologize - and I think they found at least some of it interesting. And if they didn't, they were too nice to show it.

... getting to the point here....

I wasn't particularly bothered about it - which shows how my teaching and confidence have come on over the years! It wasn't a cause of great anxiety, I just made myself a note that I mustn't do the class again next year without some reasonable revision, restructuring etc. I'm constantly writing myself little notes which I will struggle to decipher a year later.

However - I woke on Sunday morning (not having thought about this consciously since leaving work on the Friday) and my mind was about half-way through re-writing the class; I had a very different structure which gave a much clearer focus, made much better use of my material and examples, covered all the key issues I wanted to raise, came from a perspective more likely to raise students' interest and engage them......

how excellent is that? not me, I mean - but the way our mind can work on something, processing all sorts of things - without our conscious participation. All I had to do was write some notes to get it out of my head, so that I could go back to enjoying a weekend without work - and voila! The revision of this class is all but done.

I'm always amazed by the way our brains can produce - sometimes hours after the event - a name or fact or something we couldn't initially remember. Having, presumably, spent some time in the vaults checking through filing cabinets. While we get on with other things.

If only house-work etc. could be done in this way. I suppose thats what the shoe-elves are to do with?

I was wondering, on my way into work this morning, whether maybe healing might work in a similar way?

It may be a cliche to say that time heals. But sometimes it does seem to. Emotionally as well as physically. Is there a way in which our hearts and spirits can process things - and heal - in ways we are not consciously aware of?

Maybe profound things can happen in the spaces between?

I'm hoping so.

Sometimes the effort of going through the process consciously is just too tiring, the heart switches itself off automatically and takes a break.

But things may still be going on on some other level.

"there is a dearest freshness deep down things"

Spring is not far off. There are lots of things I like about winter, but I always look forward to Spring too.

And its my wedding anniversary as I write this.

Which is not unrelated.


Wendz said...

Bles you Letty. What a wonderful post. And hope your special day was ultra good.

I think you're onto something about our brains taking over subconsciously when we let go or just can't do it consciously anymore.

I know how I can through terrible things, try and deal with it and then just give up. What happens to me is that I dream a lot when I'm pondering something or dealing with raw emtion, and although I don't always get an answer I do get a huge measure of release and peace. Something seems to click during the dreams.

ramblingwoman said...

Yes, our minds our incredible.

Through evolution us humans have learnt logic and thought but underneath it all we are just animals (which is no bad thing).

Thank heavens for the unconscious! Have you ever tried NLP? Basically your conscious mind can give your subconscious mind orders! (like, 'tidy the shoes under stairs' and 'pay those bills!' - I wish!)

(See you Thursday!)

Calamity Tat said...

You two are always meeting up Hmm....used to be so easy to meet up didn't it when we just lived up the road.. anyway I shall subconsciously be there with you both :-) and if I was you could feed me honey raisin bran muffins...

grumpy old woman said...

Thinking of you,and yours, Letty

Steve said...

Very true -- the subconscious is amazing! You've got to wonder what evolutionary purpose it served. Were we as neanderthals thinking in the backs of our heads about how and where to kill tomorrow's deer, while building tonight's fire?

Joyce said...

Isn't that where the idea of "sleeping on it" came from?

Trac said...

I love my gloves or whatever they are called, so much I had them on for two hours in my house! :O)

You have been invited to attend a
Brits/Valentines Party!

Dress code: Don't care!

Reya Mellicker said...

I always make the best decisions when I take in all the facts, think about it a little bit, then put it on the "back burner" for 24 hours (or more). Yes yes our minds are so powerful, and I love it that you've articulated a truth I believe in - that being relaxed is central to the success of all efforts. Bravo!