On Monsters and Jawless Creatures
If we only could silence the voice in our head.
No more worry. No more obsessive food thoughts or strong urges driving us to the peanut butter jar in the middle of the night. No more self-sabotaging or self-doubting. We'd be living our merry little lives in a never ending state of peace.
Have you seen the movie "Monsters Inc"?
I have three kids, so the movie has been played a few times in my home. I never realized how the monsters under our beds are exactly as our thoughts. It's astounding that the movie makers wrote a story, not for kids, but for grownups. For grownups that are super scared of monsters in their head. Because that's what this movie is all about.
Let me do a quick recap so if you're not familiar with the movie you'll get the point. Monsters Inc plays out in Monstropolis, a monster world, that is powered by the energy from the screams of human children. Monsters Inc is the factory that employs big hairy monsters to scare the crap out of these kids. End of story.
Back to grownups.
Did you know that the part of your brain that makes decisions is strikingly similar to the brain of a lamprey? Neuroscience researcher Stephan Guyenet, writes in his book "The Hungry Brain," that our brains are similar to the brain of a lamprey. The Lampreys brain developed (and didn't evolve!) for 560 million years. Research at Karolinska Institute in Sweden shows that our brains are built in the same way. Yup, ancient wiring going on in our heads. And every day when you walk around thinking you're all that, yeah think again. Think lamprey, a jawless sucking little fish. Humbling, right?
The point is, your primitive brain produces thoughts and urges.
Your primitive brain is like a broken record playing old stories. On repeat. Old hardware in there and the level of sophistication is not complex (again, think lamprey). If you're stuck in a habit, like overeating, this little old brain of yours will amp up the volume to get you to do your habit. It will do its best to scare the crap out of you. But here's the thing. It can't hurt you. It can't do anything actually. It's utterly powerless and the only reason you hear it is because you listen to it. If you stop listening to it, it'll lose its voice. Its loudness feeds on your reaction to it. If you give it attention, if you scream, it powers up and grows stronger and louder.
And here you were all scared of the monsters in your head.
Thinking you had to listen to it and do as it says. And now you know it's powerless. It's fake news. It's just 560 million years old noise coming through. No need to react to it. No need to scream. No need to engage in a conversation with it. No need to drag that voice to therapy (which I know many of us have done. Totally guilty there dragging the lamprey to therapy).
All you have to do is think "lamprey." And smile. Smiling always works. Big ass grin.
Told ya Monsters Inc is a movie for grownups. Stop being afraid of the voice in your head. The big scary monster will shut up eventually. Promise. And then you'll have peace.