I silenced Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Instagram, YouTube. Books, movies, television series. Not too consciously – I’d decided I wanted to hear God’s voice clearer, and that decision just seemed to follow.
The first thing I discovered was how noisy my head really was. Because of all the stimuli I’d been feeding it, my brain was all flashes of the Discworld and High & Low and GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE and The Raven Cycle, bits and pieces at a time just passing through aimlessly. No pattern and no focus – just noise.
Lightly, subtly, piece by piece, the lightning flashes of remembered stimuli drifted away, which left my brain with something I’d never known it could have – periods of rest. Usually, it doesn’t chill unless I’m asleep (as long as I don’t dream) or unless I’m so tired it’s more of a flatline than a rest.
This was something new. Apparently, without too much unfocused stuff in it, my brain literally goes into sleep mode. It’s silence without internal disturbance, and I feel my body relaxing as my brain recharges.
After it learned how to recharge, however, my brain suddenly woke up. This time, it was a mess and maze of thoughts stimulated by external but real-time pressures – challenges at home, at work, financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Without artificial stimuli to help me pretend all was well, real life went all blitzkrieg on me.
Because of that, from Days 3-5, I was so mopey even I couldn’t figure it out. Gloomy thought would chase gloomy thought in a downward spiral until I was emotionally tangled and physically exhausted.
However, the extra mental energy meant I could catch myself in downward spiral and remember to yank myself up when it started. I began to see when I got broody (the prelude to mopey) and learned how to kick myself out of it. It’s a slow start to breaking an ingrained habit, but it’s a start I hope to run with.
As that got better, I discovered yet another advantage of a quieter brain. At work, I thought I needed music playing just to keep my brain aligned and focused on one thing at a time. Days 1 and 2 of silence were work days, and I still had music playing then. Days 3 and 4 were a weekend, and those were brain rest days and mopey-fight days.
Days 5 and 6 were work days again – and I had stopped using earphones. I hadn’t even noticed they weren’t needed. With a quiet mental backdrop, it was the equivalent of working in a quiet space all my own, except it was in my brain and I could carry it around with me.
By Day 6, my brain was as level as I could hope to find it. Without extra unnecessary stimuli, it had put the thoughts and emotions caused by real-time pressures into order. Not always with an accompanying solution, but with a clear-headed resolve to face it (since nothing was helping me avoid it).
By tomorrow, Day 7, this period of silence will end. By the day after tomorrow, I’ll be picking up The Lego Principle by Joey Bonifacio, lining up episodes from Nirvana in Fire, and rewatching High & Low. However, I hope and pray that this period of silence will have instilled in me the discipline to let go of all the noise and clutter every once in a while as I rest, dream, and then put into order this complex and unruly brain of mine.
Esther Elizabeth Suson
Last updated 08 November 2017