Do you want to do a quick experiment that shows you how powerful your mind is at rationalizing what you have willed it not to do? If so, try this:
Refuse to open your eyes until you fall asleep, meaning the next morning.
Sounds simple huh?
It wasn’t for me, and I doubt it will be easy for you. Usually when I’m about to go to sleep, I open my eyes and look around the room periodically just to feel safe and get my bearings, but last night I told myself that I would not open my eyes until the next morning. For a while I just watched shapes morph in my imagination, and I smelled beautiful flowers in my head that were dripping with honeyed dew. However, as the desire to open my eyes increased, my mind started generating reasons for me to open my eyes. The flowers became haunting paintings of gaunt children with despair on their faces and mouths open with shock standing in a beautiful garden. The faces got closer and morphed into more demonic shapes, and my mind started imagining twenty aliens standing around my bed. I felt my eyes pulling open with subconscious forces, and I resisted. I tried to look at the scary faces in my head and find something beautiful, but when I imagined something I liked it would quickly be destroyed. For example, I imagined my sister as a peaceful thought, but then suddenly there would be ten needles in her head. My mind was ruthlessly trying to make me scared so I would open my eyes.
I stopped trying to feel safe, and I just kept my eyes shut. After ten minutes the fear had gone away, and I was back in the field of dew, smelling the flowers and laying in soft grass. The aliens and demons in my imagination had gradually gone away, and I don’t even remember seeing them leave. I opened my eyes, without thinking, and I looked around the room. All the shadows looked like monsters, and all the light areas looked like beautiful, naked women. Of course, my brain was just painting my imagination on the walls, and my imagination is much more powerful in the moments before sleep. It’s a weird story.
The untrained mind is like an untamed horse; it will go in any direction except for the direction you want it to go.
– Buddhist Proverb
When the brain takes orders from your will, then you’re making your body work for you.