Lately, I have become very interested in consciousness: where it comes from and what it does. (You can read my post about it here) There really is no definitive answer to this really big question, but the way I see it, consciousness is an evaluation of your perception of the physical world. This evaluation takes into account your memories, your desires, your opinions, and causes you to act in a certain way: either physical and/ or emotional. It is us basically thinking about the puzzle pieces of our world and deciding how to put them together. Additionally, we don’t really recognize our consciousness being there, much like we don’t think about our brain whenever we see or hear something. So, as I was learning more and more about consciousness, the more and more I thought back to a personal experience that I rightfully labeled as the “mental void.” Now that I think about it, it was an experience in which I was forced to become conscious of my consciousness by realizing the limitation of that very consciousness. What is this mysterious situation you are talking about? Well, to simply put it: toothache.
One day, in early September of 2017, I woke up to find that I had a toothache. I’ve been experiencing pain on the same tooth or almost a year at that point, but I didn’t worry too much, it was probably just my wisdom tooth wanting attention. I went along with my day as I normally would: I had some breakfast, drank some tea, read my book. All the while, the pain in my tooth grew worse and worse. As the day approached its end, I found myself unable to do much of anything except lie on my bed and be consumed by the horrible, horrible pain. This was something worse than boredom, though. In any normal situation, I always had my thoughts I could count on, but now, by consciousness was so focused on the pain that it didn’t have any room in it to allow me to carry a thought. I didn’t have this observation at the time, but I did have enough cognitive capacity to realize that the only thing that existed in my life at that time was pain. And having your consciousness be aware of that, well, that’s what real boredom looks like: something you cannot shake away or mitigate, something that permeates every thought in your head, something that is like a weight, sitting on you and not leaving. I also felt very powerless: how could I not control my thinking? My perception of the physical world also began to fade (maybe my consciousness just gave up on analyzing it). I remember though, at one point, having difficulty counting the number of painkillers in my hand that I was about to take.( which, for some reason, were not even working) The next day, I went to the dentist, who told me what my problem really was: a poorly patched up cavity from almost five years ago caused the inside of my tooth to root so badly that it infected two nerves in that tooth. After getting my tooth fixed and therefore regaining full ownership of my consciousness, I felt nothing but gratitude.
Although I am very unqualified in giving advice in many areas of life I think I can say this with confidence: Please be grateful for your thoughts. Because under normal human circumstances, it’s the only thing that will stay with you forever. Sometimes thoughts drift to some unknown places, sometimes they lead to places you do not want to go, but we can always bring them back: we can always control them, and they are always there to keep us human.