Empty Mind
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Health and Wellness

Empty Mind

The unexpected joy of silence of the brain

Empty Mind
Cumberland Pediatric Foundation

The best parts of my day are the moments where my head is completely empty, when there is nothing in your head except the swirling sounds around you moving through your ears, and nothing playing on your mind's eye, leaving your two standard ones to take in all that's before you.

I remember first becoming aware of this joy when I was holding someone that I was dating at the time, when I was perhaps 18 at most. We were alone in the park, having just found a spot to ourselves behind a large boulder. In that moment, she sat quietly in my arms with her eyes closed. I sat with my back against the boulder, looking around in case anyone was about to give us a surprise visit. It was after a minute or two of this was when I realized it: my mind was blank, vacant of any rabble or background noise. For most people, that likely does not sound like a particularly fascinating moment in a person's life, but it was a big deal to me.

For as long as I could remember, my mind was always ablaze with thoughts. It's hard to concretely say what kind of things in particular littered my mind as a child: what I do remember was complete and utter nonsense. Anyone who has ever watched an episode of Ren and Stimpy might understand a little of what was going on in there.

Crude humor wasn't something that I enjoyed all that much, but there was this unclassifiable insanity that sometimes ruled my brain which I'm reminded of when I see clips from that show. There were really kinetic images of cartoon-ish characters and things that could only be described as "childhood chaos" taking place in that magic space that seems to ignore reality's rules. Even as I left the single digits and made my way toward teenage-hood, a more refined form of unruliness took root. My days in assorted classrooms were often comprised of me thinking of the absurd awesomeness of Dragon Ball Z and how my own anime would look, or just more intangible nonsense. Lot's of conversational think sessions with myself, also. There was always clamor of some kind and it certainly was distracting.

With age, and an understanding of how to better control one's mind, those moments have increased greatly in frequency. When I first learned about meditation and the general benefits of maintaining a calm state of mind, I was slow to get into it but learned to take advantage. I always found it hard to focus (and admittingly still do) but things certainly became easier once I incorporated such practices.

What I was most surprised at was how much I actually appreciated thinking about nothing. It had never occurred to me that having such an active mind was causing me any issue, besides making it harder to concentrate. But now, perhaps when I'm at work, sitting at home, or out on a trek or for some fresh air, those moments when I can quell the silly or stressful things ringing in my head, I understand how refreshing it is to (for a lack of better phrasing) just "be."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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