Have you ever tried brushing your teeth with your eyes closed, or in total darkness? I’m sure you’re asking, “How hard can that be?”
Give it a shot and you’ll find out.
Would you be able to find the toothpaste? How about your toothbrush? The sink? Now for the tough part. Can you put the right amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush?
Maybe you mastered all of that, and even brushed the proper amount of time. Are you sure you’re spitting in the sink? Did you put the toothbrush back where it belongs? How about the toothpaste?
You (should) brush at least twice a day. Multiply that by your lifetime of days, and that’s a lot of practice. Your brain should do it automatically…and it does until you eliminate one sense (sight in this case). Then it gets a lot harder.
So hard that you may find all your attention focused on that one simple task. For that moment, you will be fully present. No distractions. Only a laser focus on trying to figure out how to get the right amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush without making a mess.
Our brains are amazing. The biggest consumer of calories within our bodies. So, over millions of years of development, our brains have found ways to disengage (in the interest of energy conservation). Once our brain establishes a pattern for an activity, it flips the “auto-pilot” switch and rests.
Think about all things you do in a day without thinking. Or, maybe all the things you do while thinking too much. What if you approached each one a little differently?
Commute to work a completely different way. Shop in the opposite direction (admit it, when you go to “your” grocery store, you usually go in the same direction). Put your shoes on starting with the other foot.
Put a penny next to your smart phone. Pick it up instead of your phone when you get that urge to check your messages. A penny for your thought. Maybe you can give those pennies to a charity. Since this is for your favorite charity, what if you put a $20 bill there instead? That habit of yours may actually help someone else.
Which brings us back to the original premise. Brushing your teeth in the dark. Try it. You just might see things a bit more clearly.
Here’s the kicker. If you brush in the dark for about a week, it will become second nature to you, and (you guessed it) your brain will once again go on auto-pilot. Time to switch it up again!