Have you ever opened a tab in your browser, only to stare at the empty screen for minutes wondering why you opened it in the first place? Or gone into your email inbox to send a very important message, only to get distracted by a new message that just had to be read?
A recent study has found out this is actually caused by the way your brain handles “doors,” or thresholds. You can read the full article in Live Science Magazine, but what fascinated me most is what it said about memory, “[The study] suggested that doorways acted as mental blocks, impeding our ability to retrieve memories formed elsewhere.”
In other words, going through a threshold, whether the threshold is physical or electronic, causes your brain to go through a threshold of its own, a new compartment, you could say. The physical structure changes, and in a way, it actually becomes a new brain.
I think about this sometimes when people ask me why I turn off my computer for twenty-four hours once a week. They say something like, “Everything in moderation, right?” Or, “I only spend twenty minutes on it.” Or, “Isn’t that a little extreme?”
Yes! I say.
It is extreme, and perhaps even ascetic in this digitally luxurious age. However, I know that if I open my computer, the brain that decided to spend only twenty-minutes on my email is no longer there. Instead, my everyday brain is back, ready to spend countless hours getting my email inbox to zero, checking blog stats, and playing silly Facebook games (not that I ever do that, of course).
To truly experience rest, I have to be extreme. I have to avoid certain doors altogether.
Instead, I enter a new door. The door is called Rest. And once I pass through its threshold I slowly become completely, nakedly myself. I am not how many emails I waded through. I am not my blog. I am not a writer. I am definitely not how many people viewed my last post. I am not even Joe Bunting.
Instead, I am the feeling of a deep inhale of air into my lungs. I am my shoulders that were tensed up from a week full of typing and are now loosening. I am the pink haze of the sun already set out my window, the winter trees stripped down and naked as my soul. I am only what I am.