Friday, 4 November 2011

It's life Jim, but not as we know it

I had an interesting thought last night, just as I was drifting off to sleep.

In fact, now that I think about it, I don't really know why this wasn't obvious to me before.

So, I seem to have more or less got over my bout of insomnia, praise the lord! I was lying there last night, warm and clean after my nice long bath, tummy full of hot chocolate, and I was sleepily thinking about... well... a number of things, as you do when you're just about on the point of sleep, but no matter how hard I tried to forget it, this little song kept appearing there in my head, drowning out my other nice thoughts. I can't even remember what the song was now, but it kept going, over and over. I'd push it away, and it would come back again.

And that's when this brand new thought occurred to me. I've always assumed I have complete conscious control over what I do, how I act and what I think. I have this constant rational (and very often totally irrational) narration to my life, in my head. I assumed this part was the one in control, but there it was, telling this little song 'Go away, not in the mood for little songs right now, it's bedtime.' But the song wouldn't do what it was told.

My assumption had been that this controlling 'voice' (for want of a better word) was the one that made all the decisions. But now it seemed to be loosing control, like a supply teacher trying to scold a relentlessly unruly pupil.

And this is not the first time, by a long shot, that I've had this kind of subconscious argument between a part of myself that wants to be in control and another part that wants to act out. Except I don't think I ever really GOT it before.

Ok, so Mr Spock may have been in total control of his thoughts and emotions, but Mr Spock was a fictional alien! We are, none of us, in control. Not 100% anyway. There are parts of our brains and bodies that just act, because they are living material and they're doing what they do. No amount of self-scolding or mental pep-talks will stop this from happenning.

One might be inclined to worry about this sort of lack of control, but you know what, in this case, I personally find it quite comforting. Because it doesn't just apply to little songs. I can stop getting so frustrated and angry at myself for feeling and thinking things that aren't 'good'. It doesn't mean I won't still HAVE these thoughts and feelings, but at least they might not trigger the usual downward spiral of self hate that they have done in the past!

I don't think it's about not thinking and feeling things, I think it's about choosing which ones you want to act on.

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