I’m an advocate for losing one’s mind. I’m sure most are familiar with the expression which has a negative ring to it with a bit of “crazy”. On one end of the scale it could imply someone acting out of character or drastic and at the opposite end, acting erratic, losing touch with reality or belonging in a locked facility. However, I’m beginning to see how losing the mind is a clear sign of being on the right track, especially in the western world.
When I’m referring to the mind in this context I’m pointing to mental activities such as evaluating, comparing, judging, opinionating, planning, calculating or reflecting. What the functions listed all lead to is the same destination, a conclusion. Drawing a conclusion, be it conscious or unconscious, is a service provided by the brain. The service is available on demand at a price. If you thought the brain does charity work, you’re mistaken. The mind is running a business always leaving you with a bill.
Conclusions as well as decisions, are made on an everyday basis regarding anything big or small. Be it making a life altering choice, judging someone’s actions or deciding if you should wear the red or blue shirt to work. Here are additional everyday conclusions: the quickest route to a restaurant, what should you have for dinner, how to respond to emails, texts or phone calls, how much time is needed to go meet up with a friend, where to go on holiday, all the logistics for the holiday, impressions about a new neighbor or the person who cut in front of you in line, what entertainment should you watch and for how long etc etc. I’m sure you get the picture, the list goes on…
How would you guess the brain market is doing today? You guessed it, it’s thriving and making serious profits! Why? We have an information overload culture and many have a lifestyle around conclusion making, or reaching one. The amount of information, stimulus, options, choices, alternatives, standpoints, ideas and things to do are endless! We have all possibilities in the world mixed with constant content flow and availability. On top of that, add some fear of missing out, sprinkle the “grass is always greener” complex and finish with time pressure and stress of everyday life and voilá! The mind is making a fortune.
I also have a theory that conclusion making (plus the process prior to) is more than a way of life, it’s a widespread compulsory addiction. Hear me out. We humans love the sense of being in control (imagined or not), it makes us feel safe which brings relief in a chaotic and unpredictable world. Conclusion making, feeling like one has arrived at an endpoint gives the impression of being in charge, a sense of ease. But slowly uncertainty creeps up and the need for resolution triggers redraw symptoms, causing individuals to search for another hit. This is when the individual begins to turn to anything to get the mind engaged. Popular ways are: social media scrolling, online shopping, dating apps, games, watching the news, coming up with chores to do ( when it’s clearly not needed) or tasks at work. There is seemingly no end. Mistakenly, what the individual is getting in return for compulsory conclusion making is oftentimes numbness not relief. This is how the addiction cycle begins and before you know it, the mind is banging on the door to collect a debt.
What’s the true cost of hanging around in the mental sphere too much? We start off by paying with available energy, but we only have so much. When the overdraft on our account begins to show, repayments are with genuine relief, flow, being, relaxation, lightness, presence and joy.
I’d guess most have an out of control rampant mind with brain activity at an all time high. Let’s turn back the clock 20, 50, 500 or 5000 years, do you believe the to-do list was as long as it is for the average person today? How about the amount of information, options, choices, alternatives, ideologies etc, same as today? Or the amount of people encountered to make an impression of? Our everyday movement and ability to travel plus the internet has opened a whole new door…
The real price for modern developments and lifestyle is that many falsely have come to believe that the mind’s processes are who they truly are, alternatively that, “it’s just life” (hence the addiction). Not being aware of the fact that the mind is only a combination of functions to be used, not abused. The endless conclusion making has sort of replaced or blurred the true nature and value of us.
This could be the reason for the mindfulness movement’s upswing in recent years. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing awareness to the present moment and disengaging the mind. The popularity can be viewed as a consequence or outcry for those on the verge of an energetic bankruptcy. A rehab if you will, for those heavily involved with the mind’s games. I have to add that although I agree with the concept of mindfulness, I find the word itself utterly misleading. Mindfulness? Sounds to me like the mind is overflown and in my opinion “mindlessness” would be more descriptively accurate.
I’m an advocate for losing your mind. The suggestion doesn’t mean blocking all mind activity, that’s impossible and besides the point. Mental abilities are very beneficial and necessary to a certain point. If you don’t believe your mind is on overdrive, I challenge you to count for a day or better yet, an hour, how many times your mind begins to take information in and spit a result out.
The mind is not the problem though, it’s the over investment and identification with the mind that’s causing trouble. You have the ability to separate yourself from it and choose if you want to get on the ride or decline. Instead of getting tangled up each and every time the brain throws something at you, acknowledge it instead, point at it then watch it float by. Losing the mind, in this context, opens up for freedom and a sense of space and lightness.
Look at it this way: imagine having a co-worker who you collaborate with excellently but don’t match with personally. In fact, you find them quite clingy and attention seeking. During lunch breaks they demand the spotlight, uninterruptedly speaking and barely letting you get a word in. This sort of person is bound to leave anyone feeling drained. But, you’re polite and don’t want to ruin the professional relationship. However, they enjoy your company, are clearly interested in having a friendship and spending as much time with you as possible. Would you let them have their way and hang around you as they wish outside of what’s required? Or would it be better to restrict the relationship to a professional one, get important work related tasks done and then pay no mind?
Losing the mind is like cutting out unnecessary expenses. Just as with personal finances it’s good to keep track of all transactions and have an overview budget. Debts or overdrafts rarely lead to pleasant experiences. Having sufficient funds on the other hand brings a sense of overall ease and freedom.