Creating A Quiet Mind

They say that the journey through life is non-linear, tangled like a chain. But I would assert that our minds are just as, if not more so, tangled. Recently, I decided to take part in a social media fast. I knew how social media had a profound effect on my daily living, specifically the monotonous and unconscious parts. After one day without this “clutter” I was met with a certain stillness, a certain quiet, that was not present prior. It was, at times, uncomfortable. In what world was being still and quiet too much to handle? What was it that with the disappearance of mindless scrolling (and brain numbing) that caused me to feel isolated and lonely? As you can imagine, I felt like I was denying myself of the way I wanted to live my life. But the more I sat with it the more I realized that I allowed my mind to get to a point where it had become a mindless clutter of unintentional matter. All this noise played an even larger role in my consciousness than I could’ve ever realized myself. So, while I fought through the seemingly empty valley that was stretched out before me, I had to relearn how to be comfortable being alone and content with myself. I started journaling, learning and filling these voids out of necessity.

Photo by Jake Melara

 

With this cleanse I chose intention whilst I fought through the imposing feeling that my time wasn't my own. With this intentionality in mind, I found myself attempting to rewire my brain. I began to problematize pastimes that had been typical: I resolved to stop putting out pictures as methods of affirmation, I ceased to concern myself with the lives of practical strangers, and I became increasingly conscious of the music I intook. For the first time I “signed out”. For the first time ever there was quiet. There was silence, and I did not care.

Photo by Issara Willenskomer

 

With this new frame of mind, getting rid of the clutter was freeing. Social media is only one of many examples that usually doesn't always add overwhelming positivity to our lives. Instead, I chose to become smarter about where I invested my time — ensuring I would yield some type of benefit with where I spent my time, instead of just throwing it away. This sparked a process of self-awareness which allowed me to identify white noise versus what actually brought forth joy. Removing these social triggers from my consciousness had almost immediate emotional and mental benefits. Those moments of instant gratification obtained from this are fleeting and empty, as they only beg for more and more to feel fulfilled. It is easy to be slothful and lazily waste your time on things that simply fill space. It is easy to be greedy and concern yourself with the petty and material aspects of life. What is difficult, however, is the urge to fight what is easy and, instead, strive towards what is truly good.

Photo by Aziz Acharki

 

For me, what it came down to was this: I didn't feel like I could spend my days watching others have the time of their lives without feeling like I was wasting mine. I realized I needed to live my own life free of that mental clutter. With a renewed mind and a heart on fire, I am learning to love my moments of solitude (especially as a university student). I urge you to figure out what is leaving your mind in knots, and to give the same care to your mental self as you would to your external self. Clean out your mind like you would your physical space: throw away a few things, tidy others in boxes, ask if you need more of the same thing, and so on. You see, if my life continued being a cycle of uncomfortable numbness, I would likely face patterned regressions, falling back into the same habits and patterns over and over. I want a clear mind and to start fresh. It is never too late to start something new. Good luck.