Turn Off Your Brain

“Whatcha thinking about?”

“Nothing.”

I watched as my husband stared at nothing in particular and wondered, but I didn’t pry further. Surely he wasn’t thinking of nothing. Or rather, surley he wasn’t capable of not thinking of anything. No one can do that. I continued eating my cereal (which what what was for dinner because I was an awful wife and didn’t make anything else for dinner) and pretended that it was nothing he was thinking about for a while, and then began wondering in a weird moment of insecurity if he was thinking something mean about me. I shrugged it off. It he didn’t feel he needed to tell me then he didn’t need to tell me. Plain as that.

It wasn’t until I saw a post online of a tumblr thread that I realized it. The screen shot was about how a person commented that someone recommended meditation as a means of relaxing for anxiety and depression and how dumb they thought it was because the person actually assumed that they had the capacity to “clear their mind” and dwell quietly. Another person commented that maybe the reason that people recommend “clearing the mind” was because “nuro-typical” (not sure thats how you spell it or even if that’s even a word) people could actually do it. Now, it may not be the first time this has occurred to me, but it really didn’t sink in that there are people in the world who can actually think of nothing. Which made me realize that my husband wasn’t keeping secrets from me or just didn’t want to talk…it means he actually has the capacity to think of nothing.

This blows me away.

I feel like I have more questions than answers knowing this. I feel like there is a whole world of newness that I can never understand, but desperately want to. What is that like? What’s it like to think of nothing? To be able to meditate for long hours or to even be able to sit and think entirely on a single task instead of switching between several in short intervals? What’s it like to sit…and not ponder anything? Even now as I sit in this desk and type this post, my mind can wander between different ideas and tasks. I can pause between the sentences. I literally just made Mac n Cheese with broccoli, put away the clean dishes, and updated my laptop right after that last period. No joke. My brain just thinks that way and goes between everything so quickly that it never seems to stop. In addition to all this, my ever running brain seems to keep me ever running, and you can imagine, for this little introvert….life can be quite exhausting.

Coming to this realization I really have to rethink how I perceive people. At one point, while dwelling on the possibility that some people can “turn off” their brains, (but not actually believing it) I had made the assumption that people who could must be boring or unintelligent. That they could “turn off” their brains because their brains didn’t have much in them to begin with. Upon realizing now that some people (my husband) can actually think of nothing…I suppose I can’t make that kind of assumption. The people who tell me that they can think of nothing (my husband) are not unintelligent people. They (my husband) have very rich and interesting (albeit very weird and misunderstood) thought lives and perspectives when I’ve had conversations with him…I mean…them. So I find myself quite humbled, and in awe of their unique ability, but I also ask myself: What makes their brains capable of this….and not mine?

I would love to let my brain go idle for a while. Even when I sleep I can see my concerns occur to me in my dreams. They present themselves in literal and not so literal ways. Like last night I dreamt that I knew a man who was slightly disabled, and it pained him so much to walk that I just resorted to carrying him around. I realized upon waking, that this was the manifestation of an issue I kept having with our Chinese team at work not sending me the right die lines, and me feeling like I had to do their job for them. I manifested the team as a slightly physically disabled man, that I was taking on the task of being responsible for and carrying from place to place. Now in this dream I wasn’t upset about doing this. In fact I preferred to help the man walk. Because in real life I would have preferred to create die lines all on my own and just let the factory manufacture what I had made. I would feel more secure that way.

You see my point. The things I think about don’t ever go away.

Perhaps I’m still assuming though? Perhaps everyone’s subconscious is like that already and everyone’s real life finds a way to sneak into their dreams. It’s when they are awake and more in control that they can “clear” or at least “quiet” their mind to the point of not being consciously aware of their own thoughts. Oh, I so wish I could do that. Then maybe I would’t have had this headache all day.

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