Respect Your Brain

Last night, I lay awake for three hours, unable to fall back asleep. I had many thoughts. Only one of them was interesting: “All these thoughts, my entire reality, is coming out of my brain.” Every moment I spent worrying, every idea I had, every story I told myself and every random rabbit hole I chased down in those three hours — it all started from a three-pound lump of flesh between my ears. Fascinating, isn’t it?

It made me wonder how the damn thing keeps going. Not just restlessly during those three hours, but consistently every day. How can one tiny, organic machine create billions of worlds, one for each of us, and then continue to evolve that world thought by thought, second by second, for decades? Talk about a supercomputer. And yet, I seem to have so little control over it.

“If I could get this thing to settle down, I’d be sound asleep again in a minute. Shouldn’t I be able to do that? Just tell it to calm down and go back to sleep?” I think I should. I think everyone should. Good tools come with manuals, don’t they? Why not this one? Why can’t it work out of the box?

What’s more, I’ve meditated every day for the last four and a half years. Isn’t that how we’re supposed to get more control? Wasn’t that enough training? Apparently not — because the tool is actually an ally with a mind of its own, quite literally, in this case — and the training never ends.

I don’t wish sleepless nights upon anyone, but know that sleepless nights are not the end of the line. They’re simply your strongest comrade-in-arms having a hard time. You can show him or her compassion. You can try to coax them into settling down. But you can’t make them do everything you want, and that’s a struggle you share with eight billion other souls on this planet.

Keep training your brain, but most of all, remember to respect, love, and care for it.