"Your Brain is not your friend" is a cartoon by the amazingly talented Hugh MacLeod (http://gapingvoid.com/2012/11/06/your-brain/). I love his art because it is art on purpose. All art has meaning, but Hugh's directs that meaning to an end – art as a means to an end!
This phrase resonated with me but I also rebelled against it. After all, if I couldn't have my own brain as my best friend, whose could I have? So I set about befriending my brain...
...and that's where I hit a hurdle. You see I have three brains (at least!) They don't want the same things – so I have to cultivate three friendships and spend time with each one!!! I wanted to begin with the one that gets dismissed too often – my emotional brain. I realise now that my emotional brain often misreads other people and their intentions. My rather arrogant logical brain would look down on my emotional brain and declare, "Don't be so stupid!" But my emotional brain just is – neither 'stupid' nor 'wise'... What it feels, feels true.
I call my logical brain 'the fanatic in the attic'. Not all fanatics are bad – after all, that's where we get the word 'Fan' from. All fanatics are a bit short-sighted though! I love my fanatic in the attic as well as my emotional brain and I have to feed them both on different things. My emotional brain needs to be listened to and acknowledged and cuddled and accepted. My logical brain needs stimulation (and seems to require regular doses of telling it, "you are amazingly clever!")
My third brain, and my third friend, is my secret brain. This is my wise brain that lives in the basement, below the threshold of consciousness. For my girly friends, I call this brain 'the babe in the basement' and for my boyish friends, 'the fellah in the cellar'.
This brain needs one thing: space. It needs me to press pause so that I can literally 'pause for thought' and get a word in edge-wise.
If my other two brains need their own kind of attention to become best friends, the wise brain just needs quiet time and space and the respect this shows. I'm not a big meditator, but I 'meditate' happily when my body is busy about ritualised tasks like a regular journey it knows, or in the bathroom, or at the threshold of waking or sleeping. In these places, my wise brain connects with my consciousness. And it brings gifts: insight, imagination and innovation.
Giving my three brains just what they want leads to peace in my household! Ignore or dismiss any one of the three and all hell breaks loose! Each will have its say one way or another!
My brain is my best friend.
A Moodscope member.