Updated on September 25, 2023
Doug Tales 137: The Conscious Mind, Part One
Do you ever spend any time thinking about thinking? That is, do you really know how your mind works, and how you personally respond to the many things around you seeking to influence your thoughts? Or, as Doug Mendenhall would joke, “Are you going to think about such things, or instead just go back to sleep after you eat another cookie?” As Doug became conscious of his own consciousness, he sought to teach others to “awake and arise.” Some foundational concepts about mindfulness are in his book I See…Awake! (2015), pp. 63-65:
While I was working on this chapter, my daughter, Denise, asked if I wanted to hear what the Lord had taught her the night before. Now I don’t know about you, but I am always curious about what the Lord teaches other people, and even more so when the other person is “sighted.” So obviously I said “yes.”
We discussed how the conscious mind works and what the Lord had shared with her about it and the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind accepts all that is put into it with no judgment, and it is the conscious mind that has the job of figuring out right and wrong.
Then she said, “He taught me how the conscious mind works.”
“Really?” I replied, “Because that is what I have been writing about, the basics of consciousness. Do you want to explain what He taught you and the reason He taught it to you? I am not going to tell you what I have written until you explain what He said. That way I can get my witness even before I finish writing about the concept.”
“Okay,” she answered.
She told me some of the same things I had written. (What a great way to have something witnessed to you, even while writing about it. I felt like the Lord was giving me the “further knowledge” part before the chapter was finished!) She explained that the brain has three parts and the upper part has a male and female side to it and must be in balance to be healthy. She also mentioned that these were some of the things taught in the ancient mystery schools of wisdom. She said that Jesus showed her during her near-death experience that after they fled Jerusalem He had attended those schools as a very young child in Egypt. (Wow, another witness of how He learned line upon line.)
I asked her why He had shared this information with her the previous night. She explained that He told her that since the time of Adam, the Gods of Light and especially the Adversary taught how the mind worked, and He wanted her to know about it. I agreed with her that this has been known since the earliest times. Satan made a covenant with Cain that he would not divulge the “great secret” when he declared:
“And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.” (Moses 5:31)
The great secret was their covenant together, but also how to get gain, rule, and control people. He taught Cain how the mind works.
People who really do not understand what makes them tick, how their mind works, how to function mentally and emotionally, are in a position to be completely controlled and manipulated because the Adversary knows more about it all than they do. So we must understand how the mind works.
The solution for not being deceived is consciousness. In the LDS Temple the man Adam, (who represents everyone) was in a deep sleep and was told to “awake and arise.” God is talking to all of us and that is what we must do, awaken our conscious mind and arise, meaning get busy—it is a call to action. From that point on we are taken on a journey designed to enlighten our minds, finally culminating with a parting of the veil of the mind as we enter symbolically into the presence of a glorified being. Sounds to me like what we have come here to earth to do—wake up and do whatever the Lord God requires for enlightenment—thereby opening our spiritual sight and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ in a sacred embrace.
Are we so hungry for someone to think for us and to solve our problems that we are willing to lay down our personal responsibility and take any solution offered? It’s like saying, “Just give me the sales pitch, and I’ll buy it” like the people did in Moses’ time. But doing so, we give up our personal dominion, or self-rule, allowing others to reign and rule over us. If all we have to do is what we are told, our minds become malleable and our behaviors become directable by these organizations. This is wrong as none of us can abdicate our responsibility for choosing a particular behavior.
Are we not always responsible for any harm we have caused?
When we stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, will He accept our statement, “My Stake President told me to do it,” and all is well? We alone are responsible for our thoughts and actions; we cannot pass it off to another, no matter what we may have been taught. We will pay a price if we give up our agency (except to the Lord) or take it from another.