Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beyond Cognitive Torment, Peace Between the Ears


Many young people, and certainly some who are older, can attest to either the presence of or the memory of a mind that insists on working into overload. The burden seems gargantuan, especially when there are pressures from multiple genres of life. I suffered greatly from this. But then I, by God’s grace through diligent obedience, overcame it. In this article I juxtapose what it was like with what it’s like now, using a journal record from January 4, 2007.
I write:
There’s still too much going on for me devotionally! I seem to always battle with too much; information overload; too many quotes or sayings; I can’t simply land on one and stick with it — it just doesn’t seem to be enough. Wisdom is so rich... it is too rich; I wish ONE word, or one phrase did it for me, but it doesn’t and it probably won’t ever.
I read into this passage above — with eight years behind me — a sense of exasperation at the inability of mind control, because the heart is still searching for itself in God.
Back then I was very much still seeking ONE word that would be the be all and end all.
But I also struggled to find mental balance; flitting from one thing to another to another, not according to divine will. Coming out of this was by accident — a certainty of grace.
Battling tiredness I decided in about 2010 to devote myself to napping during the day — two ten minute naps usually did the trick. I loved the alertness I was able to achieve, simply in the habitual control of emptying the mind. It was hard to do initially, but the more I practiced this technique of relaxing my eye lids, as if no weight were on them at all, I was helped by God above. He gave me command over the emptying of my mind in order to surrender to tiredness.
Like rebooting a computer (older computers, when they got slower, often benefited the user in being stopped and started again), my mind was rebooted simply by surrendering its consciousness — even momentarily. I usually found it would take at least five minutes relaxing my eye lids and the muscles of my body and emptying my mind before I’d give way to unconsciousness. (Yes, I found a quiet place in my workplace to do this during the work week.) A few moments to a few minutes to five minutes maximum was enough.
Gradually, over the years, I have found that less and less has been the cognitive burden, for the pure fact of the practice I seem to have mastered — emptying the mind.
***
Hope beyond the despair of excessive mindfulness is manifest in the practice of emptying the mind, the learned practice. It is most possible to achieve mind control.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

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