Not going by any standard definition, consciousness, actually is a continuous flow of thoughts that is running non-stop within the brain in regards to both objective and subjective experiences in the world. It is an ever-changing process, shifting from one thought to another moment by moment.
Your conscious thoughts are based on your experiences, emotions and feelings associated, sensation about this world. And it is continuously changing.
One moment you are sitting on your desk for work, another moment you are anxious about tomorrow’s meeting, the next moment you smile remembering a sweet memory from your recent holiday, then you focus on your work, but at the same time your thought shift about meeting your friend at lunchtime. It is a continuous flow of thoughts.
Consciousness has been a topic of research and discussions for many decades for scientists, psychologists and philosophers. Many studies are done on the state of consciousness during sleep, meditation, dreaming, hallucinations and so on. Different theories and different understandings have been expressed. Still tons of studies are going on. It is an ever-evolving field.
4 Interesting facts about consciousness.
1.Awareness is the most important aspect of consciousness. It is your awareness that makes you conscious about the unique flow of thoughts that shift from one moment to another about your experiences, memories, feelings of both subjective and objective world. Your consciousness is so ingrained in you that it becomes a part of who you are. It is this consciousness of yours which makes you aware of what is right or wrong and help you make opinions, choices, decisions in any aspect of life.
2.Parts of the brain: Brain imaging studies have been successful to determine which parts of the brain are responsible for consciousness. It is a series of neuronal exchanges within the neural pathways in the brain which contribute to your state of consciousness. Since there is an interplay of much neuronal exchange, when a person has a localised brain damage, consciousness is not lost but can be changed or reoriented.
Cerebral Cortex: It is the most important part of consciousness. This part of the brain is responsible for understanding, analysing, perception, execution and control of voluntary actions. That is the reasons in case of very small children (up to 6-7 years of age), they remain in a hypnosis state of consciousness as their cortex is not fully developed. As they grow up, into adults, the cortex slowly develops and so is their understanding of this world grows.
Thalamus: This is a relay station where both sensory and motor signals are received from the body and relayed to different parts of the brain as required.
The reticular formation also plays an important role in wakefulness, alertness and sleep state.
3.Level of consciousness: Consciousness is not only when a person is fully aware, or awake in the environment, but also a state of sleep or relaxed state. Different brain and brain waves study revealed that the level of consciousness differs in different brain waves states. Brain waves are a pattern of waves occur due to impulses exchanged between the neurons within the brain.
Beta waves (14 to 30 Hz): Such waves are dominant during wakefulness, fully alert state. Decision making, analysing, mental activity and so on.
Gamma waves (30 to 42 Hz): This is high frequency, fastest brain waves when there is rapid processing of information but in a quiet brain state.
Alpha waves (9-13 Hz): Such waves flow when you are in a relaxed, calm state. It is a resting state or a meditative state. It is also a learning state, when new information can be absorbed and mind /body integration.
Theta waves (4 to 8hz): Dominant as low-frequency waves during sleep and deep relaxation. It is the state of dream, imagery, also hold fears or nightmares of the past. It can last for a very short span and can be access to information, learning, intuition.
Delta waves (below 4 Hz): Dominant as slow waves during deep dreamless sleep, unconscious state.
4.Vibration: Advance brain imaging study reveals that exchange of information, communications in between the neuron pathways within the brain originates with some kind of vibrations and resonance. Fundamentally, it is true because everything in this universe is moving, resonating vibrations with various frequencies. Therefore the activity of the brain also functions on the different frequency of vibration that originates within the brain as different brain waves pattern.
Albert Einstein has said it long before that ” Everything is in vibration”