The Logic Box


(From ABC News)

This entry is about trying to get to a part of my brain (or consciousness) that I can hear, sometimes see, and always feels just right behind me, but can’t always reach – especially when I need to the most. I call it the Logic Box.

The most dramatic example of the Logic Box kicking in happened three years ago when I was hospitalized with what turned to be – but I didn’t know at the time was – kidney stones. The pain was as immense as I’d heard, and for much of the time I was in the hospital I was doped up on narcotics. I and others around me were warned when I took them that the drugs would send me way out there and I’d probably say some bizarre things (which I did) that I wouldn’t remember later (which I didn’t and don’t). But as I was saying them, there was a tiny place in the back of my mind saying, “Why did you just say that? Oh, it must be the drugs talking again. Don’t worry about it, everyone will understand that later.”

This is exactly what it sounds like: despite being doped up on narcotics, there was a part of my brain (or consciousness) that was perfectly untouched and could calmly examine what was going on with the rest of me. No matter what the drugs or the pain were like, it was cool, collected, almost dispassionate but often compassionate – and logical. Hence the name Logic Box, which I gave it right after I came down from the narcotics.

I mentioned that this was the most dramatic and unusual example, but it wasn’t anywhere close to being the first time something like that had happened. Most of the time it kicks in whenever the rest of me wants to be extremely angry, or panic, or I fall into depressive moods. When I’m angry, it tries to calm me, especially before I do or say something I’ll regret later – and it often warns me how much I might regret it later. When I want to panic it calms and tries to walk me step by step through ways to get through whatever is causing the panic. When I’m depressed it tries to soothe me. When I’m the most down on myself, it’s the voice in the back of my mind trying to be the most compassionate and self-forgiving.

But…what is it?

Until the kidney stone hospitalization, and this being a time I’d shelved my spiritual beliefs the hardest and farthest away, I just figured it might be some normally untapped region of my brain. I don’t think the physical explanation works, though, since it was firing on all cylinders while I was under the influence of narcotics. It could be my subconscious, or a higher consciousness, or something else altogether. But the one thing I am convinced about is that it is both separate from me – a box that can be locked away tightly and safely against whatever else is going on with me – and an integral, inextricable part of me.

The part that keeps trying to get me to be my best self, and to do what is best for me. So no, I don’t really think it’s just my own gray matter talking.

I’ve been thinking about the Logic Box a lot lately because I’ve been trying to learn to become a more dispassionate observer of my own emotions. Heck, a more dispassionate observer of everything I do and say, for all that. But it’s mainly my emotions that trip me up and get me in the most trouble. Or at least push me the farthest away from my goals. I want to step back and observe more instead of fighting being swept away. And I find that every time I’m able to step back even a little bit, I’m stepping towards the Logic Box.

It seems so close, and yet it’s always out of reach. When I’ve tried intentionally to access it I’ve stumbled one way or another.

I guess the first step in trying to figure out how to reach it is trying to figure out what it is in the first place. Maybe the next time it comes calling I should just ask it and see what happens.



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