Spotlight vs. Lantern Consciousness

Why do children think differently to adults? One way to explain it is to think of the type of light given off by a spotlight vs. a latntern.

Spotlight consciousness, which is the mode of which most adults operate from, gives us the ability to narrowly focus attention of a goal. In the second mode – lantern consciousness which children more often possess – attention is more widely diffused, allowing the child to take in information from virtually anywhere in the field of awareness which is wider than that of most adults.

While children don’t often exhibit sustained periods of spotlight consciousness, adults occasionally experience that vivid panaoramic illumination of the everyday that lantern consciousness affords us. The adult brain directs the spotlight of its attention where it will and then relies on predictive coding to make sense of what it perceives.

In contrast, the mind of a young child has few preconceptions to guide her perceptions down predictable tracks. Instead the child approaches reality with the astonishment of adult on psychedelics.

Alison Gopnick has discovered through testing her hypothesis on children that four-year-olds are better at solving some problems better than adults. In one experiement, she presented children with a toy box that lights up and plays music when a certain kind of block is placed on top of it. Normally, the block detector is set to respond to a single block of certain colour or shape, but when the experimenter reprograms the machine so that it responds only when two blocks are placed on it, four-year-olds figute it out much fatser than adults do.

How Breathwork Helps the Shift from Spotlight to Lantern Consciousness

In the course of a Breathwork session, there is a shift in consciousness from spotlight to lantern consciousness due to different pathways opening up in the brain (beginning with the firing up the amygdala, the region of the brain primarily associated with emotional processes). Breathwork allows our ego consciousness to take a back seat and allows more diffuse information in which can be insprirational, challenging or divine or all three at once!

If you are intersted in out Breathwork Facilitator training in Tilba NSW this October please go to our training page.