What if... No Mind
I wonder if I'm the only person I know who gets constant "what if" thoughts. It happens every day, sometimes several times a day. I'm not talking "what if they have egg-salad available for lunch today" type of thoughts. I'm talking really far out, surreal, fantastical "what if" thoughts. Here are a couple I've had recently.
I was vaguely watching a show called "Freak accidents." In this show, there was a bit about a young girl being pinned to the passenger side seat by a 17 pound, 3 foot iron bar as her mom drove them to see her dad. It was one of those amazing, I-can't-believe-it-happened-and-she-surv
Another time, someone was talking about flu shots how they always get one but it doesn't always help. My mind spun out, "What if, this year, the flu shot gave the person the deadly killer flu, killing them and those who associated with them. That it was one of those 'Earth First' cult plots that actually went off and killed off 98% of the population."
Yet another what if thought of mine, after hearing a story about a ghost child, was "What if there are people who drawn to spirits because they are destined to save them from their fate. Not necessarily their death but their fate of replaying out their demise. Like catching a falling child even though you are scared witless of the fact ghosts or perhaps, echoes of the past, exist."
These thoughts never stop. There are some I turn into stories. There are some that still sit in my ideas file, waiting to be written. I have so many of these stories and thoughts. I wish I had time to follow them up. To write each thought as it comes to me. Maybe not the full story but at least put it in my ideas file and know that I'll get to it soon. I just feel, some days, that I don't have enough time. Sometimes, I'm afraid that these thoughts will stop and I will be left without my "what if" muse.
I had a most interesting conversation lately. Out of it came the following question: "Why does the body need to either be engaged or exhausted in order to let the mind become free enough to think?"
I was talking about my enthusiasm for my upcoming 12 hour drive. How much I loved going on long, long drives alone, in silence or music if I felt the desire. That it was very calming for me. It allowed me to think and to sort things out. For me, driving gives my body enough to do to keep it occupied and my mind free enough to think. Walking several miles at a time also does this for me. My friend mentioned it was why he liked to run himself into exhaustion. It gave him peace of mind.
We talked about it more and he commented that while he didn't know why repetitive physical motion allowed the mind to go into a Zen state, it was probably one of the reasons why monks were given manual labor. When he said that, it was like a light went on in my head. Of course! I didn't know why it worked but it did and does. I want to follow this up and ask the head of an monkish Order to see if this is true.
I and other friends speculated that the known physical motion took away the mind's need to dwell on mundane thoughts about what the body should be doing now. Showering, walking/running/driving long distances, painting, gardening... all known activities. Most of which are very safe to do in a Zen (or zoned) state of mind. Still, it makes me wonder. I'm wondering if what I'm thinking of is the (almost mythical) "no mind" that some people talk about.
I think the reason I wonder it so much is the fact that it seems as if my mind is never quiet. Never still. There is always a thought, a monologue going on. I don't know how to make my mind "quiet" or why this would be good for me. I've tried to meditate. Sometimes, counting my breath in paranayama helps. However, I often end up doing math in my head to figure out how many breaths I've taken and how many cycles in a minute, thus, how many minutes I've been in meditation... etc... which, I'm guessing is not the "no mind" I'm seeking to reach.
Tarot Card for the Day: The Tower