Inhibiting Impulse

“At a fundamental level, functioning socially means mastering one’s impulses. The adult brain expends at least as much energy on inhibition as on action, some studies suggest, and mental health relies on abiding strategies to ignore or suppress deeply disturbing thoughts — of one’s own inevitable death, for example. These strategies are general, subconscious or semiconscious psychological programs that usually run on automatic pilot.”

NY Benedict Cary, Why the Imp in Your Brain Gets Out

Must it be, therefore, that the more energy that we apply to inhibition leads us to better interaction with other human creatures? Certainly a possibility, considering that Zen monks are all about seemingly complete inhibition, though most likely they are ridiculously blissful somewhere on the inside. One of those paradoxes, you know, where transcendence is achieved only through the utmost discipline. But we all know, of course, that good things never come easy. Because the good things that do come easy grow sour quickly. The good things that last take us extreme effort to attain. Extended days of training so hard that you think  you’re gonna puke, and maybe you do.

In some emotionally or mentally jettisoned manner, we releast, we vent, we cope, we belabor our colleagues, our friends, our family, the postman: whatever upturned ear that comes our way that we know we can spooge into. It 9 times out of 10 becomes the gossip train, which is not ultimately a beneficial or positive thing in any way, but we gotta do what we gotta do until we finally find that space for self-reflection and breathing, whereupon we can silence the negative self-talk and move our mannerisms into quiet brilliance.

And the thing is, too, that this training and discipline must come regularly, and consistently. Or else we begin to lose it after just a few days. And exponentially onward from there, until we get ourselves back up onto the wagon of what we know we must do if we are to win. “Win,” not because we will have defeated all of our greatest enemies, but because we will have overcome our own depression, fear, and shame. (Which is essentially a statement re-stating itself).

Anyway. I have observed, based on qualitative assessments of my own life experience, that I interact much more positively with my peers when I restrain myself from being anyone other than myself. Therefore, no attempts to placate that desperation to be immediately categorized and labelled into a one-dimensional caricature of myself. I am me. I am quiet, I am slow to process, I am kinesthetic, and I want to be better than you. But I am sunshine, moonshine, dark lunar eclipse of the soul, moodily pleasant to you in your classroom. I am somewhat inhibited, intrapersonally restrained, running free at the end of some tether that only the gods would be crazy enough to contemplate. And I must be careful, because my soul’s musculature grows flabby as I allow myself to reside in a comfortability of current placement. I must be better than myself, everyday, and don’t let myself forget it.


Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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