We all know how important music is when watching a movie - whether it’s the swelling orchestra music that lets you know when love is in the air, the poignant cello that informs you that someone is on the brink of death, or the ominous Satanic chanting in the Omen that announces evil is nigh. Similarly, when one of the most recognizable cinematics scores of all times begins with that rhythmic alternating two notes from Jaws, you know something very bad is about to happen. The music cues us for how we should feel.
If you turn the sound down, the experience is completely different. Especially for some of those old movies where there’s no CGI, and the scenes really build and mount towards an epic event.
It's the same for the soundtrack of our life, or more accurately the soundtrack of our mind. There's so much noise in there that is mostly about what’s about to happen. It’s about anticipation. I recently read an account of a study that was conducted where the subjects were told that they would be given a hot plate that would get continuously hotter and possibly burn them (slightly). Half the group were people like you and me, and the other half were meditating monks. The brain scan for regular folks went crazy as soon as a warm plate was put in their hands, because they were already anticipating being burned! For the monks, the scans barely show any activity, because they were basically taking things as they came and not already in anticipatory fear.
Anticipatory fear. I just made that up. I think that’s when you’re deep in worry mode. I like Dan Zadra’s quote, “Worry is misuse of imagination”. It’s 100% clear that when you’re in worry mode, you are definitely not in the present moment. You’re taking experiences out of your past and projecting them into the future.
You are, in that moment, literally creating your future out of your past.
So, sometimes when I’m misusing my imagination, and I’m actually aware of it, I like to say that I’m trying to mute the soundtrack of my mind. My goal is getting to mute. I feel