How to Lose Your Mind

(a parable of sorts)

“These big brains are more burden than bargain.” (Kurt Vonnegut)

In your life, you may face no greater nemesis than your own mind. The tradeoffs for these big brains of ours are big problems. We fixate, ruminate, self-sabotage, over-react, and seemingly do everything in our power to avoid staying in the present moment.

If only we could conquer our brains, true peace would finally be possible. Maybe the secret to finding ourselves lies in losing our minds.

Just ask the nearest sea squirt.

A sea squirt looks like an underwater plant but it’s classified as part of a group of marine animals called tunicates. They look like flexible sacs that filter the water that passes through their “bodies.” During this process, they strain the plankton and organic matter they need to survive. If you were to poke one of these beings, you’d find out how they earned their name.

Sea squirts have both male and female reproductive organs. This allows them to release eggs and sperm into the water at the same time. The fertilized eggs develop into larvae. These tadpole-like creatures are free-swimming but are incapable of feeding. So, their goal is to find a safe spot to attach themselves — for the rest of their days.

This is when the sea squirt rids itself of humanity’s worst problem: having a brain.

Once attached to its permanent home, the sea squirt goes about ridding itself of all the parts it no longer needs, e.g. its gills, tail, singular eye, and its “spine” (really a notocord). Then comes the giant step toward peace of mind. The sea squirt eats its own brain (cerebral ganglion). It needed such an organ to help it swim and find a place to attach. Now, well… it serves no useful purpose than perhaps to make it miss its mobile days?

The material that makes us the sea squirt brain is transformed into digestive, reproductive, and circulatory organs.

From its secure spot, the sea squirt can focus on feeding, filtering, and reproducing. You might say it’s vegging out. No time is wasted on creating skewed expectations.

Without a brain, it can serenely appreciate little moments like when a particularly tasty batch of plankton enters its body. Nothing is taken for granted.

Doubting itself is superfluous and unnecessary. There’s no loud inner critic to ruin even the happiest of moments.

The sea squirt is the epitome of mindfulness.

If all these attributes make you feel more than a little jealous, just remember: You can live mindfully, too… without surrendering that big brain of yours.

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.