Isaac Newton must have seen me coming.
His first law of motion is as apt a description of my psyche as any: “objects in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by another force.” In my case, my brain will constantly stay in motion – thinking, planning, praying, evaluating, seeing – unless acted upon by the force of unconsciousness known as sleep.
I’ve already documented my propensity to keep active, but having an overactive brain as well really takes this predicament to a whole new level. It’s really not always a bad thing since I would rather be crazy than lazy, but I wonder how much more effective I would be if I stopped constantly multitasking thoughts/activities and just focused on one thing at a time. Kind of like how a computer runs slower when it has multiple applications open at once but has no problem managing each application individually.
So this weekend as I was riding my bike on the canal, I mixed it up.
Correction: I tried to mix it up.
I tried to silence the superfluous commentary that is essentially the ESPN Bottom Line of my brain. I tried to remove the bottom line so I could focus only on regularly scheduled programming: the perfect summer day on the canal.
I was marginally successful.
There were moments of tranquility when I was completely in the present, but more often than not I was fighting back rampant thoughts like fruit flies in July. It was a challenge, to say the least.
But it was a great challenge. I had no idea how large a percentage of my brain I devote to background processing until I actually took inventory of it this weekend. And it’s way, way too much. I’m probably focusing on the here-and-now with about 20% of my awareness. That’s Gnarls Barkley style crazy.
When I was in Thailand someone on our missions team gave us advice that I took for granted at the time. She challenged us to really take in the full experience and to live by the motto, “wherever you are, be all there.” Initially I passed it off as too Hallmark-y for my taste. But in the years since I’ve come to understand the wisdom of her advice – especially after my exercise this weekend. I can’t imagine how much more clearly and fruitfully I would experience my real life in the present if experiencing it was the only thing I was focused on. Or how much more clearly I would hear the answers I pray for, or just hear from God in general.
So, the current score is Beka: 5, Mixing it Up: 1, but I’m going to disqualify that victory in the very near future and add it as a W in my column. It’s a must-win! I’ll keep you posted on how things progress.