"I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty." — Lao Tzu
It seems like my mind disappeared today.
Not as in a, “Ooooh looky here, I’ve transcended the me, I’m not the mind and not the self, yay for me!” kind of way.
No, more like in a, “Hey what’s this full cup of previously steaming hot coffee doing here in the freezer?” kind of way.
Most days, for most folks, the body wakes up and the mind takes over on autopilot, floating without much focus through the day’s rituals.
Get out of bed. Pee. Brush teeth. Put on pants. Pour clean water in dish for kitty. Make coffee, take vitamins, reply to emails, write the Tickler.
Yet for me today, there has been no auto-pilot. Instead, vitamins are being found in a lovely tidy pile on the bedroom dresser, not the kitchen as usual. Cat food sits on the counter, fully prepared but not given to kitty. (For the record, kitty is Not Amused.) Filter is put into the coffee maker, water is poured, but no actual coffee is put in the filter, and there’s also no cup for now-heated water to pour into.
Hot, supposed-to-be-coffee water all over the sink and floor? Why yes.
And it’s not over yet. I just walked into the kitchen to refill my water glass, came back to my desk with it, and proceeded to try to drink from the still-empty glass.
So auto-pilot-Judy has checked out for a while, replaced by, “What the f*k are you doing” Judy instead.
Which brings us to the question…
What is that?
What is it, that knows to get up when we’re still half asleep and get to the bathroom before peeing? What knows to stand up before taking that walk, as opposed to the legs just ambulating while sitting? What ties the shoes, buttons the buttons, keeps the mouth closed when the boss is being stupid, chops the celery without bleeding while thinking about the kids, drives and talks at the same time?
Whatever it is, apparently it takes a nap once in a while (see above.)
Which means it’s not likely to be consciousness, that much sought-after, better-than-this experience.
After all, that can’t sleep or leave. I mean, how would that work?
So perhaps what’s on vacation for me today is indeed some version of the mind, or thinking.
Which I realize some lovely readers might view as cause for celebration. I mean, popular wisdom is that “unthinking” is better than thinking.
And plenty of spiritual folks think their goal is to transcend thought and get rid of mind entirely.
But then, they’re not the ones wiping hot-water that was supposed to be coffee off my kitchen floor.
Let's face it, isn’t it the mind, whatever that is, which saves us from daily chaos?
Do we really want to be without thought?
Because even if we do get to go bigger and experience being nothing and no one and become aware that what we are is consciousness itself, don’t we still have to know to turn on the oven to make dinner? I mean, that cauliflower casserole ain’t gonna cook itself.
We may not be these individual humans actually, but in today’s “real” world, there’s a benefit and need, at least for now, for keeping the pretense going.
Persons, individuals, self, separation, mind, thought, ego… whatever the name, maybe we might thank that instead of constantly trying to either hatchet it to death or hack into it with all that inquiry and meditation and affirmations and positivity and such.
Not that there's any possibility that we actually can ever get rid of thinking. Mind has never been anything more than a concept. So despite how it seems, there’s nothing real to lose.
Which means none of this matters. May as well let thought play its little games.
Consciousness certainly does.
After all, consciousness includes everything- mind, thought, actions, situations, feelings- and so no problem if tonight’s soup ends up in the medicine cabinet, or if we drive into oncoming traffic having blown through a red light.
Mind is not consciousness's one hated, not-included exception.
Actions happen. Existence happens. Thought happens, or at least seems to.
So yay for us! We can have it all. We do have it all.
Which means I get to experience nutball Judy, with mind or with no mind.
She’s very entertaining. I imagine consciousness just adores her wacky self.
I’m going to watch her try to make dinner and feed the cat.
This should be good.
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"I wasn't born a fool. It took work to get this way." --Danny Kaye