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


Anonymous said...

Dear Liz, I had an embarassing brush with non-mindfulness during a recent business trip abroad. I had checked out of my hotel in the early morning and was in the conference room waiting for the meeting to start when I discovered I had mislaid my passport. Panic. I phoned the hotel who said they would look. I said I would ring them back in the break. During the meeting someone mentioned the Reception desk of the organisation where we were and I had a sudden flashback - I had been asked to leave an ID at said Reception desk when I presented myself for the meeting. So where was my mind when I did so? In the biscuit tin with the glasses - or already in the meeting!

Anonymous said...

I have long felt that you combine a sharp clarity of mind with a gentle sense of humour: a rare mixture, which helps your readers to peer into very difficult subjects. This is a splendid example of what I mean. Thank you.