Tuesday, 28 May 2013


As I was saying, my cat has been teaching me the rudiments of Mindfulness. After I had signed off last time, she gave me another spot-on example. I did something which annoyed her and got a sizeable hiss for my mistake. She was totally emersed in the NOW of her anger and stalked off my knees. Moments later, she came back and snuggled down, again. The 'now' of the anger was replaced by the 'now' of the warm, familiar lap. Getting to resemble our pets has taken on a whole new dimension. I have been giving some thought to the opposite situation. Where does the mind go when it is not focussed on the moment? You know the scenario: cheese in the cutlery drawer and knives in the fridge. Arriving at the library when one had intended to go to the supermarket, would serve as another example. I suspect the category must also include the mislaying of objects. One's mind can only have been absent when one puts down one's keys  other than in the right place and is then at risk of having to stay in for three days because they have disappeared off the face of the house. This also pre-supposes that you have a right place to put things.That would be one way to prevent the inevitable chaos when the mind is absent from the act of putting things any old where. I am too often plagued by the problems of Cyberspace. Try as the Guru has to educate me, I can't seem to hold in mind what I have been told. Among the words "reboot the modem", I understand but one: 'the'. Who is to say how efficient, cyberly speaking, I should be if I were totally mindful of what he was saying.

It occurs to me that the saddest absence of mindfulness must be experienced by those of us afflicted by dementia. Where, indeed, has the mind gone? How is the selection made of what is remembered, what is understood?  I have an image of a huge jigsaw, the pieces all broken up and jumbled together with no picture to  help reassemble them in a recognisable pattern. Among my contemporary friends, that affliction seems to be the most feared. Perhaps the end of the journey, when the mind has settled for the un-made jigsaw, is bearable because it doesnt leave room for demanding responsibility, for duty, for mindfulness. Knowing one was in the process of making the  journey must be the hardest to bear. The challenge is to distinguish between absent-mindfulness and the tumbledown mish-mash of the loss of the mind as the essential element of being a being  in the world. Someone close to me spent a considerable sum of money on new spectacles, having mislaid the ones he had. As well as the money, he endured the inconvenience of impaired vision while he waited for the new ones. Countless wrong buses and half-fat milk later - because he couldnt distinguish on the shelves which was the full fat,  silly -  he discovered the original pair in a biscuit tin. I now make lists and write notes to my insouciant self. The trouble is, I forget to read them. Bore da

Sunday, 19 May 2013


It has come to mind that it is going on for three weeks since the last post. Measuring time is a challenge since I no longer have a work-life with a regular diary for it. I used to know what day it was and what time by the repeat appointments I had. Now, I have to work hard to arrive at the knowledge. I welcome the lady who helps with cleaning because I have both to get up and to register what day it is. The incentive to get up is usually provided by my cat who stands on top of me miaowing until I tip her off in order to move my legs to the ground. On one occasion, when this didn't happen fast enough for her, she raised a paw and hit me on my cheek with it. I exaggerate: tapped would be fairer and there were no unretracted claws. I remember when I had a whole cat family that that was how the mother trained the little ones, with judicious smacks on whichever bit needed the lesson. Which is a long-winded way of saying I felt honoured to be thus dealt with. Once up, I have to find a time to practice the Mindfulness technique which has been prescribed to help deal with the black dog you may recall me complaining about. Having spent a lifetime viewing and interpreting the 'Now' from the point of view of the 'Then', I am not having an easy time with 'The Moment': the living totally in the exact moment of the present. I know the system needs practice but she who is capable of leaving three week gaps in her blogging, falls easily off the waggon of discipline in this matter too.

The extraordinary thing about the phenomenon of being entirely present in the moment is that that is exactly what my cat achieves. Observing her I was able to learn a great deal about how to do it. She eats Now, she sleeps Now, she wants her litter attended to Now, she wants me to provide a lap Now. However, she is aware of a past and, equally, a future. She will sit patiently under my bedside lamp waiting for me to complete the bedtime routine so she can come and lie on top of me. She knows, in that instance, what the immediate future holds and she recalls this from her memory of the past, but she lies on me fully in the present. I am fascinated by her observable routine. She is faithful to it, in time and in place. Perhaps, this is an essential factor in living in the moment.  I see, too, that being fully in the present doesn't preclude one from a capacity for patience which assumes a focus on the future. I'm not sure of the wisdom of  telling the kind psychologist who comes with tapes and hand-outs and enthusiasm to help me master the technique that my ultimate understanding of it came, at last, from the illumination of my four-footed friend. The habit of analysis is not an easy one to break and I am as 'if only' as anyone. Oh Dear! That's a lot of thinking for before lunch, but I leave you with another thought. To-morrow, I am attending a training course for volunteers at my local hospital. I have been given the programme and note, with some interest, that between 1330 and 1350 we are to do "Personal Developement". I have spent three score and a lot more than ten on just that subject so am particularly keen to see what we can do in 20 minutes. Bora da, see you much sooner, I hope next time.