Sometimes, very rarely, when I wake up in the middle of the night to pee, or if I get out of bed immediately after waking up in the morning—for the first minute or so of being awake, my brain won’t think in words.

I don’t know how else I can describe it. Normally, I think in English. Or, enough of my complex waking thoughts invoke neurons that invoke words being “said” into my constant inner monologue. I’m pretty sure that’s how it works for most people. I mean, we have the phrase “inner monologue” for it in the first place. This is a common enough thing, I don’t need to explain it.

(Side note: I’m suddenly very disappointed in society for not naming it the “mind’s ear” to go along with the appropriately named “mind’s eye.”)

But sometimes, just after waking up… my brain will be silent. I’ll still be thinking complex thoughts, but without my own mental voice echoing out into my imagination to redundantly narrate everything I’m thinking.

I don’t know why it happens. Maybe it’s because the language centers of my brain haven’t fully woken up yet, like a computer that hasn’t fully turned on. But I love those fleeting moments of mental silence. They’re so peaceful and refreshing.

When I realize it’s happening, it’s always so interesting. To be able to think the silent-conceptual-equivalent of something like “bluh, my leg is sore… I gotta make sure I work on [thing] today… grr, it’s too dark out… oh, cool, I’m thinking all these thoughts in pure thought-form without any words to go along with them” is just so surreal. And yes, it usually does turn into silly introspection like that. Anyone who knows me shouldn’t be surprised.

But the cool thing about this particular variety of silly introspection is that it doesn’t sabotage itself into ending itself. It’s not like when I’m dreaming and I realize I’m dreaming and I get so excited about the prospect of lucid dreaming that I wake myself up. (A common occurrence, sadly.) With these silent minutes, I can silently ponder myself silently pondering myself for as long as the minute would have lasted no matter what I was silently thinking about.

… So, for the next thirty seconds maybe, until the rest of my brain wakes up.

It’s still a really cool thirty seconds, though.