Last semester, my roommate had a very strange assignment for his senior seminar class. Students should go somewhere separate, say a park or field, and stay for three hours.
The most unexpected part? only you be able to work—just stay. No phone, no music, no words, no journal. You and your thoughts are supposed to spend alone time for three hours.
He said it was the best thing he ever did.
I was very happy with his experience. It’s crazy to imagine where your mind will wander when you have three hours without stimulation. Considering that TikToks are still holding the average around 20 secondsspending three hours without media is terrifying.
I think the first hour or so should be spent thinking about normal things, like an upcoming test or a relationship. But what happens if you run out of these topics? What are your thoughts?
It’s hard to say. You don’t know what you don’t know.
I know it’s amazing what people think, but the way my roommate explained this experience is almost beyond comprehension. When he described the feeling of having new parts of his brain, I couldn’t help but think it was like a hallucinogenic experience with LSD.
But as it turns out, our minds can do a lot on their own if there is no motivation or external stimuli. That is, if we give them time and space to do it.
Although there are many interpretations to consider, my roommate’s behavior can fit into one of the categories. Thinking It’s a practice that’s meant to calm the mind and increase your awareness of yourself, your mind, and your environment.
We often look to external sources to comfort and relax ourselves when the best responses are built within our own brains. And while drugs can have similar effects for mental relaxation, a short and completely despises the human ability to achieve this high level of brain activity.
More recently research which shows that our brain structure changes after repeated meditation. For example, the prefrontal cortex, which is normal management our nature, and the hippocampus, involved in memory, shows both increase act after a long period of thinking.
Our brain is a tool, and meditation provides a way to train that tool to better help us manage our lives. Regularly practicing meditation, even if you don’t take three hours, helps us manage unexpected problems and respond with increased concentration and calmness.
These methods are based on the effects of thinking on the amygdala. The amygdala—responsibility for a physical fight or flight—show a settle down in post-traumatic stress disorder, i.e. instead of triggering a stress response upon encountering an unexpected event, your body can process the event internally, and often with the quiet.
And thinking is not new. Eastern Buddhists practiced meditation for centuriesand there is account of meditation practices in ancient China and Egypt. Westerners refuse to think until the job is done. mainstream through promotion by people like the Beatles. Now, Western science is exploring this ancient knowledge by studying the effects of meditation on the brain.
Needless to say, I was dying to try my roommate’s creativity. Combine his evidence with the long history of positive effects of meditation and the latest scientific research of meditation, and you have an impressive advertising campaign.
Unfortunately, the Boston weather has prevented me from doing so for the past few months. But now that it’s starting to warm up, I’ll be MIA in the middle of the week. I am escaping from my own thoughts. I can’t wait to see where it takes me – although I don’t think it’s too far (although the professors are always on the go if it’s your senior year).