Between your ears
Between your ears
Forget Post-it’s, forget pagers, forget computer alarm reminders, forget even Google. The search engine between your ears is infinitely more powerful than any of them. It will continue to be so for as far ahead as imagination can stretch. It was a gift from your parents. It came with obligations we sometimes fail to fulfil as well as we should. As long as we service it, don’t poison it with drugs and exercise it as vigorously as we exercise our bodies it will work.
Yes, our brain is such a remarkable a piece of equipment that it persuades many who study it to believe there is a God. They may be right. For those of us who don’t have that sort of faith, we simply rejoice in the incredible, precious possession of such wonderful equipment. That does not stop us from misusing our brain and mistreating it woefully. We take it for granted from the moment we rise until we sleep. Then it settles down to do some badly needed sorting.
It searches out those dusty corners which broom and vacuum have failed to sweep. It collects the impressions that charm us, frighten us and embrace us, and shakes the beasties out of them, leaving it clear to work for us as soon as we awake. It is about waking the brain that I write. The act of recovering from sleep is a switch-on but it does not of itself get the brain busy. To do that we must ply it with difficult questions. We must get it talking to us just as we talk to it.
Here are a few questions you might address to your brain. The list is limited, merely suggestive. You should invent your own wake-up interrogation and let the thoughts dance on your cranium even before you eat your breakfast. Hunger of the mind is as important as hunger of the body.
What have I got to do that I have not done for some time and may forget?
Which of those is a priority? Can I do that today?
Do I dread anything about the next few days?
Can I confront my dreads as soon as I am dressed and fed?
For those near to me, who has a problem or has not been praised for a week?
Can I change that today?
Who seems to be against me for some reason?
Can I reach out to them today and fix a time to have a meal together?
Which bit of equipment in my life or body isn’t performing quite as it should?
Can I start to get it repaired today?
Of course, you have to do the things you discover from this or your own list. The brain helps you here, too. Resolve may seem to elude us cruelly at times. We put it down to tiredness but that is not usually the trouble. What we fear is failure to succeed at the task we don’t want to do. An irrational, childish fear but a very real one. Ask your brain to help you get on with it.
To overcome this fear think through the worst that can happen if you fail in your attempt to do something as a result of your morning questions. Will the world fall apart? Will you become bankrupt? Will someone who loves you suddenly hate you? Seldom do any of the worst things that can happen in life come about. Mostly what you tackle, you will achieve. If you don’t, try again.
Before you fall asleep have a little chat with your brain. Review the day, the resolutions you made, those you did, those you didn’t do. Tell your brain it has done a good job, the best you could expect of it. Say it may now rest and let you do so too.
Be kind to your brain about the things it didn’t persuade you to do. There’s another day tomorrow and as long as you made an effort that is all that can be expected of you.
The truly courageous in life are those who persevere.
Those who never let defeat beat them.