Some weeks back I was talking to someone at work about the racket going on in her head. Too much on her mind.
As luck would have it, I’d just started reading a book which tackles the issue head on: what is all the noise in between our ears about…
In a nutshell the thesis is that we all live with a ‘noisy narrator’ in our heads – who is trying to be helpful but just can’t stop pointing things out, making suggestions, presenting arguments and/or things to remember or worry about.
And the internal narrator likes nothing better than presenting competing options, then contradicting itself and coming up with wild half-baked fears and anxieties. All of which is ready and constant source of angst, brain ache and worries.
But that’s not the half of it… once you pay attention you notice your chatty companion also loves the banal and distracting – look at that tree; fancy a latte; what time is it; fancy humming this tune?
Now like most people I’d always assumed the restless, ceaseless, constant chuntering in my head was me. But the argument in ‘The Untethered Soul’ is that you’re not the narrator… you’re the one quietly listening.
It’s a bit like being in a cinema; detach yourself from the action onscreen and you notice you’re sat in a row of chairs immersed in the film – but the observer of it; you’re not in the film.
It’s a bit strange the effect this has. Combined with taking a breath (of which more anon) I find myself experiencing quite a lot of quiet…
Of course it’s easy to switch the constant stream of ideas, actions and reactions back on; that’s still the default setting. But I do find myself sitting quietly and staring into the middle distance a good deal at the moment.
Quiet it seems is just that; quiet. It’s a whole new experience, but I quite like it.