The Connection Between Eye Movements and Mental Chatter: How to Quiet Your Mind
The benefits of our massive, oversized brains have brought us everything from the wheel to space travel. It allows us to do things so far beyond the capabilities of other animals that we’re able to actually eat other animals without even being cognizant that we’re doing it. The sheer amount of things we have become accustomed to — hot water, plumbing, cars, wetsuits, air travel, computing, entertainment, refrigeration, and on and on — understate the incredible feats our brains have undertaken.
With all that we’ve achieved, particularly in the areas of increasing our standards of living, one would think we might find ourselves in a state of utter joy and contentment. And of course we don’t. Because one of the hallmarks of having enormous, high-functioning brains, is that we can’t seem to turn them off.
The pace with which we have advanced as a species is also kind of our biggest issue. We are able to live in a futuristic world of our imaginations, but we can’t evolve our brains to stop thinking and reacting to life’s events in primal ways. Flight or fight is archaic when compared to the nuanced and intellectual way we now understand the world, community and interactions. But while our brains think fast, they evolve slow. So, here we are, highly-advanced but also tethered to a world of stressful, middle-of-the-food-chain, worry and anxiety. Even in our dreams, our thoughts continue on, running scenarios and trying to find the danger in everything. If only there were an off switch that wasn’t harmful or had other negative side effects. Wouldn’t the ability to turn off spinning thoughts at any moment, with nothing more than a simple life hack, be, I don’t know, totally life-changing?
There is. It is.
Before I get to it, it’s worth noting that many people, including scientists, psychologists and philosophers, have tackled the issue of a worrying mind. And while many claim success, it’s always felt slightly conditional in nature, involving either lengthy scientific approaches or longer behavioral shifts. These aren’t “life hacks,” these are life practices. They, too, work. Perhaps with more lasting results than the one I’m going to explain…