Stop Thinking So Hard and Just Be

I’m a thinker. I can literally spend all day wondering around in my thoughts, experiences, and desires.Sometimes something fun happens, but more often I simply walk out with nothing more than a smile and a craving for cereal. Then I try and create something epic and that smile turns into a frown. I venture into the deep, dark recesses of my soul, because everyone knows that’s where the great truths lie, and I claw my way out depressed, dissatisfied, and dehydrated. That deep, dark place is obviously bad for my health, but I want nothing more to Golem creep through the caves of depravity to discover those Precious insights of unrelenting happiness.

That’s pretty twisted, right? Repeatedly doing something so detrimental to my health because of some illusionary benefit that lies at the bottom of that action. Madness!

What makes the practice even worse is that the product of my suicide spelunking is absolute drivel. Depressed cave crawler Matthew produces some of the most incoherent, inconsistent, and downright intolerable work. I read and reread the slush, trying to form it into something relevant and then get even more depressed. I force out more sludge, get more depressed, and the vicious cycle folds in on itself until I want to drop kick the neighbors cat into an oil derrick.

Then something great happened. I stopped thinking! I stopped trying to find that inner truth, that deep secret that was sure to explode people’s brains, and just wrote.

You know what happened?

This relatively profound insight came out in short story form! I stopped forcing myself into that ugly cave where inner truth resides and instead dangled a piece of cheese at the entrance until the truth came to me. It was magical and I didn’t need to be put on suicide watch!

I know it’s tempting to try and force greatness, or even averageness, but when we sit back and relax, spend some time playing around in the shallow end of our consciousness, profound things will happen. Sure, it’s fun to strap on the Finding Nemo water wings and dip our toes into the deep end of our subconscious on occasion, but make sure she you tread quickly and lightly because big, hairy things may be swimming just below.

This piece originally appeared on with the title Swimming in the Shallow End of Conscious.

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