For me the current chaos is throwing up a lot of questions about almost everything. I have nights and days where my thoughts are so loud I have been considering whether I should name it as a new voice.
The virulent? The protester? The inquirer? The vigilant? The obnoxious? The resister?
Or maybe just ‘The Loud One’?
Though, as of yet, it does not have much personality but generally consists of strings of thoughts that weave their way through different themes. Loudly and insistently.
But this is my mind. How it has always been. When something stirs me, my mind starts exploring it. A friend once said that it was like a funnel but with the opposite function. Rather than taking a large quantity of ideas and narrowing in, my mind starts from the detail and moves towards infinite possibilities.
It is an opening and then a journey of exploration. Of looking at many things from many angles and in simultaneous layers. To an outsider this may sound like ruminating, worrying or intrusive thoughts and my thinking has been labelled and dismissed as this by some people, but my own experience of my thinking is that it is intense and challenging and while it revisits themes or circulate around specific areas it is not stuck and repetitive. Rather it is overwhelmingly open and constantly moving.
I try and calm myself and slow my thinking and try and observe it with gentleness. And I don’t see a wasp desperately trying to get through a window pane, but a butterfly fluttering from flower to flower, sometimes lingering, sometimes returning and sometimes flying off to somewhere different.
But then I am totally biased about my own thinking.
This new persistent loud thinking that is happening is getting on my nerves though. It makes life a bit complicated all this thinking and it is overwhelming trying to hold so much within a human mind. I can get frustrated and I can totally sympathize with popular psychological theories that like to see our thinking as the root cause of all distress. It’s a pretty nice theory which gives you a couple of different options: stop thinking, detach from your thinking or change your thinking. And all will be well with you and the world.
I can’t stop thinking. I might be able to if I was willing to use drugs – prescribed or other. But having witnessed the effects of drugs and other substances on people close to me and having experienced the effects of psychiatric drugs on my own mind and body, I hold quite a strong position that this is not for me. My intellect, my health and my ability to be in meaningful relationship with other people are all too precious to me.
I can detach from my thinking. But only temporarily and usually there is a backlash. I can detach from my thinking using business or distractions of various kinds. I have done it a lot for many years and I know what the cost is. So now a days I try to only do it for shorter amounts of time when I need a break from all the amazing things my mind is capable of thinking of.
I have tried changing my thinking. Like detaching it is really only a temporary measure and only works with certain styles of thinking. It is pretty much useless when it comes to deep, wordless thinking. When my mind moves through and around various constructs. Exploring abstract concepts as if they where concrete, tangible objects. Following and recognising patterns, disrupting and reorganising them. Like internal 3D puzzles which my consciousness explores.
This is not a very good explanation. Calling it ‘thinking in constructs’ is the best I have been able to come up with over many years of trying to argue with people who think they know my thinking better than I do.
Constructs quite nicely captures how concrete it is while also honouring how conceptual it is…
Anyway that is how I think when something stirs me.
And I have definitely been stirred in this past year. Shaken too…
I am planning to write shorter, reflective pieces to try and capture some of my butterfly thoughts. I am going to string them together in a series called ‘Thinking aloud’. They are all in some way linking in to my personal life experience and the currently unfolding global chaos related to Sars-Cov-2.
As I post them I will link them to this post below.