I’m not a big fan of over-stimulation. I like managing thought process, and its difficult to do that when you’re over-stimulated. When the environment presents so much data that it’s difficult to know what you’re thinking about. When your thought process simply reacts to the overwhelming amount of stimulation that’s coming at it.
I thought about this yesterday when I let my dog Rush out in the back yard. Our neighbors have a couple of dogs–Stan and Charlie–and Rush loves to bark at them. And Charlie likes to yap back. It’s as if Rush has no choice, as if he’s biologically driven to bark at Charlie. It’s deafening, when the two of them get into it. Our only solution is to tie Rush to the deck when Charlie is in his yard, preventing Rush from running up to the fence that separates the two of them. Roping him to the deck creates enough separation that Rush isn’t compelled to incessantly bark at Charlie.
Sometimes, I feel as if my environment is like Rush’s experience in the back yard. I simply respond to the stimuli and seemingly have no control over my response. Of course, I can control my response, just as I can control my thought process that dictates the response. It just takes a great deal of mental discipline. And, it helps to adjust the environment, to minimize the stimulation, the amount of data coming my way. I can turn off the music in the car, put my smart phone to sleep, turn down meeting requests–I can make my lifestyle quieter. And as a result, I can create more opportunity for serenity.
The back yard is quite a tranquil space when Rush and Charlie aren’t going at it. Maybe we’ll build a better fence to prevent the two of them from barking non-stop, just so we can all experience a bit more tranquility.