I don’t know anything about psychology or psychiatry. So this is personal rather than academic or medical.
Mindful of distractions
Sometimes I dabble in mindfulness. Maybe at the end of a busy day when I have difficulty winding down. I persist for a few minutes at best in concentrating on the motion of breathing.
I don’t know if it’s effective (what would you make as an endpoint to define efficacy anyway?) But through largely unsuccessful attempts, I’ve come to realise how the mind has a mind of its own. It wanders, races, twists and turns, and does so inconspicuously much of the time, taking you for a speedy joyride along the stream of automated thoughts.
Not only do random to-do-lists, plans, thoughts, feelings, and not terribly interesting ideas surface from seemingly nowhere, there’s also the distracting meta-thoughts – isn’t it nice to not have too many thoughts cluttering my mind? Oh there goes another one. Where do these thoughts come from anyway? So in more ways than one, slowing down is truly difficult. And “breathing in and out” is deceptively straightforward.
Hoards of rats
Kind of like the clown that barges into Riley’s dreams in Inside Out (film one out of three on the plane), most of my dreams these years seem to be rogue somethings from the subconscious that go through a distortion lens and result in nonsensical dreamtime productions. I haven’t had any great inspirations or divine messages, but I’ve certainly become aware of persist themes that occupy my subconscious through these dreams. For example, last night I had a dream where I introduced my name as Rat, and there was a host of other happenings, mostly unrealistic but semi-based in reality. Too many rats in (film two out of three) Ratatouille?
I think the undercurrents of the subconscious are stronger than we give it credit for – our memories, experiences, losses, fears, desires, expectations, values and assumptions. These and other unnamed “troublemakers” locked away in the dungeons of subconsciousness work alongside conscious processes (who does more work?) to shape our thoughts and actions. They are somewhat hidden and it’s scary to think that we can’t even properly understand ourselves.
Of course I don’t actually have hoards of rats occupying my subconscious. And hurrays to the end of semester and writing whatever fanciful things I want!