Uncluttering Your Mind: Looking at Your Brain Like a Computer
Categories: Benefits of Meditation, Meditation Tips
The human brain literally is a computer. It is not a digital computer that processes information using ones and zeros, but it is constantly performing calculations. To take it a step further, think of your brain as a complex quantum computer. At the center of the cerebellum is a qubit, which performs calculations by manipulating qubits within a register.
In fact, every function that occurs in the body, even your thoughts, can be looked at as a calculation. I am not saying you should think of yourself as a robot, but you should remember your mind is an organic computer that still needs maintenance just like the computer you use in your home or office.
What is a cluttered mind? A cluttered mind is a mind that is full of racing thoughts. A cluttered mind is unfocussed and changes channels constantly without maintaining any coherent correlation between thoughts. When your mind is cluttered, it really is harder to make sense of the world, as well as your feelings; reality becomes foggy, and you can’t find a direction or path to stick to.
Digital computers have similar problems when they become cluttered. When you have too many files and programs taking up space and using up memory on your computer, what happens? Everything starts to slow down; programs don’t run as smoothly and eventually they begin to crash. Sometimes you might not even be aware of when your computer is cluttered. After all, your computer is constantly creating tiny files called, “cache files,” that store data on your hard drive every time you visit a web page or run a program. These files are only needed temporarily and should be deleted from time to time, but how often do you remember to clear your cache subdirectories? When was the last time you did? Have you ever?
Your mind might also be full of unnecessary thoughts that you are not aware of. One theory of why we dream is that while we are sleeping our brain uses that time to sort all of the data its received throughout the course of the day, which is an astonishing amount data — hundreds of thousands of inputs. If this is true, then that is like our brain’s way of emptying its cache folder — it stores what is useful and gets rid of what is not.
We don’t need to wait until we fall asleep to clear out the cobwebs, however. Endless self-dialogue — intrapersonal communication — can create a lot of useless clutter in your mind. Most of us are always chattering away in our minds, ad nauseam, without ever taking a break unless something distracts us. In fact, the average person couldn’t stop the voice in their head from rambling on even if they tried. Meditation teaches us how to press the pause button on our self-dialogue by focusing on the here and now. When you know how to do this, you can give you mind a break from itself, so to speak, and give it a chance to clean itself up a little bit.
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