This is Your Brain on Life!

Life is beautiful!  What more needs to be believed than that?  

The minute we attempt to name it, define it, explain it, or even talk about it we instantly diminish it.  Even my simple plea to consider that life is majestic and splendid falls flat.

We cannot name the unnamable—but we will surely try.  Humans have been naming the unnamable for thousands of years in an attempt to explain how and why we are here.

We are having this human experience floating on a tiny dot through a limitless universe.  We have no idea where we came from or where we’re headed but it makes us feel better to label our experience.  

If you hold your hand up and point at the sun you have the urge to label the sun in your brain as the symbol or word “sun” and then immediately move on to more important endeavors.  You feel the warmth of the sun on your hand and face.  You squint and cover your eyes because staring into the sun would blind you.  You look around and see the effect the sun has on all your other labels; “tree,” “grass,” “rosebush,” and “solar panel.”

We fail to truly experience life because our brains are conditioned to take the path of least resistance.  We label the sun “sun” and move on without fully grasping the experience of this ball of fire in the sky that never burns out and provides warmth and light and life.  Our brains label, categorize, and store away word pictures so we can get on with more important things; like fretting over the future or shaming ourselves about our past.  

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Our brain, if we let it, will cause us to be anywhere else in the world other than in our present moment.  Because our brain is a creature of habit and searches for ways to connect the dots of the unfamiliar in order to make them familiar, we have to outsmart ourselves.  We have to cause our brain to slow down and take in ALL the sensory that each moment brings.  We must take our brain off cruise control and deliberately slow down.  Our brain is always in a hurry to get to the next thing.  The problem is when we’re in the next thing our brain won’t let us enjoy any of it because it’s already focusing on the next next thing.  

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How often do you find yourself in awe?

I’m talking about being in awe in the present moment at something as simple as the water that endlessly floats down the river while a snake slithers nearby in the grass and insects fly in all directions and birds soar overhead while a squirrel shimmies up a tree.  There is awe and wonder to be experienced in every moment of every day if you only take the time to look.  

Your brain has been trained—conditioned—to bypass or overlook the beauty and wonder of everything around you.  You take for granted this amazing gift we call Life not because you’re shallow and insensitive; you take for granted this amazing gift we call Life because you have an organ inside your head that is only doing its job.  Everything your brain does is an attempt to make its job easier the next time it encounters the same thing.

Your brain is an organ that produces thoughts much like your heart is an organ that pumps blood and your lungs expand and contract allowing oxygen into your red blood cells and releasing CO2 out of the body.  The brain is simply busy being a brain working behind the scenes on your behalf much like every other organ in your body.  

The difference with your brain, though; it’s not always working on your behalf.  Sometimes your brain obsesses far too long over pain it should have let go of years ago.  Sometimes your brain replays the same unhealthy nightmare over and over and over without your permission.  Sometimes your brain creates scenarios in your head that aren’t really happening, but your brain is so powerful it causes the rest of your body to respond as if the scenarios in your head are real.  Sometimes your brain allows you to be somewhere completely different than where your body currently resides.  

No offense, but sometimes your brain needs to be gently put in its place.  

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If you want an experiment to see just how busy your brain is working on your behalf—simply being a brain—try to sit and meditate for only ten minutes.  Get comfortable, close your eyes, and focus all your attention on nothing but your breathing.  

Breathe in.

Breathe out.  

Feel the cool air flowing into your lungs.  Then feel the warm air leaving your body.  For only ten minutes—while focusing on nothing but your breathing—your brain will turn to monkey mind and jump from topic to topic much like the monkey jumps from tree to tree.  Honestly, though, try it.  Try it now.  I’ll wait.

What did you think?  Weren’t you amazed at the million thoughts your brain threw at you like a Roger Clemens fastball?  Your brain took a thought and ran with it faster than you could stop it.  Remember this is happening to you every minute of every day and your body doesn’t know the difference between real events or imagined thoughts.  

No wonder we end up depressed, exhausted, sick, and worn down.  The organ inside our head that is supposed to be working on our behalf is actually working against us.  

Instead of allowing the brain to immediately label, categorize, organize, or name everything around you, take some extra time and truly experience your life moment by moment.  You’ll discover more reasons to be in awe than you ever thought possible.  

Life is beautiful!  What more needs to be believed than that?

Peace my Friends!

~Travis

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