The Reticular Activation System (RAS)


The brain processes over 400 billion bits of information every second. Out of this huge amount of information available, only 2000 bits of this information can be processed consciously. The rest of the information is processed without our awareness. In other words, 99.9999% of the information presented to us simply go unnoticed!

The question then is, “what decides for us the bits that we perceive and the ones that we don’t?” Well, this decision is made every time by the reticular activation system (RAS).
The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is the part of the brain stem that acts as an ‘Automatic Goal Seeking device’! It is a network of nerve pathways that filter all the sensory input your brain draws from your external world. Whatever you see, hear, feel or taste passes through the RAS.
The RAS is crucial to your success because it sorts through your environment for information patterns that best match your beliefs or what you are familiar with. When it sees a match, your conscious mind is alerted. The RAS links your thoughts and feelings with similar things in your environment.
It’s funny how differently people react to the same event. Where some people see opportunities, others may perceive difficulties. It is obvious that how you feel about any event is influenced by what you think it means. In other words, your belief system will determine whether your RAS will work for you or against you.
If you want your RAS to work for you, then you must program it to watch out for what you want. When you program a specific idea or a goal into your reticular activation system, it doesn’t matter whether you’re asleep or awake, thinking about it or not, the RAS will find precisely what you’ve told it to find. It will pick out for your awareness relevant data from billions of bits of information around you and edit out irrelevant information.
When you create a clear, focused picture of what you want, this part of your brain kicks into high gear and doesn’t stop until it finds it for you….
One of the easiest ways to program your RAS to work for you is to care about how you feel. Feel good about yourself, feel grateful for what you have or what you love, appreciate the success of others. When you do this frequently, your RAS will get the drift. You will begin to easily see things to be thankful for, including great opportunites for better living.
Here’s the thing, if you’re focused on good feelings your RAS will always match you up with more things that make you feel good. By now it’s obvious why “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Here is some warning however. The RAS will work against you if you program it to watch out for what you don’t want. The RAS does not care whether you love something or not, it only looks out for whatever pattern in your environment that matches your dominant thoughts or beliefs.
For instance, If you are usually conscious of what you don’t like, then your RAS has been programmed to alert you to what you don’t like! You will ‘see’ so much of what you don’t want, it would seem as though you are practically at war with your environment.
You see, anger does you no good. Neither does jealousy, envy, nor hatred. Forgiving others is more often than not for your benefits, not for the offender; after all, when you forgive others you dispel with ill feelings.
Your feelings are doing much more than you think. So care much about how you feel; it’s your highway to success.