There’s an important discipline involved in avoiding a constipated mind… and most of us are failing.
Haven’t you forgotten something?
Are you sure? Are you sure there isn’t something important that you’ve filed away for later? That important thing that’s now sitting on the bench by the phone beneath a bunch of other things?
Isn’t it stuck somewhere in your mental landscape like a bindi in your foot? Doesn’t the free-flow of your thoughts stub its toe again and again on that thing, that you’re not really sure what it is anymore, but by the weight of it you’re sure it’s important.
Sounds like you’ve got a constipated head.
You need Uncle Jon’s patented mental prune juice. ‘Put the flow back in your life.’
I don’t know if it’s just me, but sometimes I’m just begging for a mental enema. There’s just so much going on in my head. Thoughts weigh nothing but carrying them all around makes physically exhausted.
I’m crunching the numbers on this or that deal, I’m running a business, I’m staying on top of current affairs, I’m preparing blogs, I’m managing complex social relationships (No, that dress is very slimming), I’m preparing witty put-downs for my friend who goes for Collingwood.
I wish. Modern life is hard like that. Our brains were never meant to carry and process so much information. The human species is in desperate need of a hardware upgrade.
But then we go out and we stuff ourselves til we’re sick in the head with information.
Facebook, for example, is an all-you-can-eat sushi-train – the information just keeps coming at you. You don’t have to do a thing…
Nom nom nom.
And I really feel the bind of it in times like these. I mean I’m trying to keep on top of what Donald Trump is up to, but it all moves so fast. I don’t know whether to be gruntled or terrified.
And it’s tempting to say, just switch off and don’t worry about it. But I think we all feel the truth in the saying that “bad things happen when good people do nothing.”
So is there something I should be doing? I should figure out what’s happening in the world – not the truth that the media tells you is the truth; not the alternative truth that looks like the truth but is actually a phony truth used to distract you from the real truth; not the truth peddled by crazy men on computers who hear voices in their heads – no, the real truth. I should figure out what that is somehow and do something about it.
But it’s a bit hard so I’ll just pop that thought here under the phone bill and the rego papers.
After a while, it all becomes a burden. It gets heavy. I don’t want to carry it around. I don’t want new information. I don’t want new stimulus. I want to close down, shut off, curl up on a couch somewhere and eat cookies.
(Is this actually what they want?)
A lot of people turn to drugs and alcohol as a release. But it’s a false solution. You forget for a while. Maybe you blackout. But you still carry it in your head somewhere.
Drinking to clear your mind is like drinking to cure the pain of having eaten too much.
And this is what it feels like to me. The brain is another digestive organ. Whatever you feed your brain it needs to digest – it needs to process it and work it out.
And when it comes to the brain, just like the stomach, you need to watch what you eat.
Now some people might say, ‘Not me Jon. I can watch 5 episodes of My Kitchen Rules a night and it doesn’t affect me.’
And that might be true. It might be the case for some people that their brains have given up trying to process the information they’re given. They just let everything go through to the keeper / colon.
It’s not digesting so it never feels full.
But a brain that isn’t digesting is a brain that is not drawing any nourishment. It’s not learning, growing, becoming wiser or, in my case, more cunning.
Do you really want that?
But the price of having a curious mind seems to be that we can often end up stuffed. We become bloated, slow and dull if we’re not careful. Maybe farting out some of the unpleansantness from time to time.
(I try to keep brain farts out of the blog, but better an empty house than a nasty tenant, as my uncle used to say.)
So it seems the there are two disciplines we need to develop if we’re going to walk lightly in a world of dense information streams.
The first is obviously getting disciplined with what we consume – in exactly the same way that any weight-loss strategy involves getting disciplined not just with the quality but also the quantity of food we eat.
And that means it’s not enough to say that I only get my news from quality publications like Buzzfeed, if you’re binging out on them every night.
The second discipline is finding ways to regularly flush the mind. In a way these blogs are a blessing because I’m regularly working through my thoughts on this or that topic.
You’ve just got to keep the stimulation moving. You can’t just eat the news of some fresh horror in the middle east and not let it move through you in some way. Even if that’s just to comment. “OMG. How horrible.”
Don’t let yourself get blocked up.
(There’s probably some role for meditation here too but that’s not my bag, so if someone’s got insight into that I’d be happy to hear it.)
But the goal here is to move lightly in the world, and to keep our minds fresh, nimble and curious.
Unfortunately, It won’t happen on its own.
How do you keep your mind flowing and regular?