Driving to the coffee shop under an uncharacteristically cloudy sky I am thinking about Descartes. So I guess “I am.”
He can’t have meant the tidal suck that drown me at night.
There is a quality to the 3 am storm that belies the relative importance of the worries. I can be drowning in thoughts about major health issues, the existance of a higher power, tax audits or how to sync my iPhotos. They each feel equally out of my control in the slim hours of the AM.
In the afternoons after school pick up I sit and sip tea and invite awareness and the power of now to both empty and fill my mind. I try not to judge my inefficacy. It takes practice. It starts with a moment of calm emptiness. I tell myself that keying into the static of my mind has to be the first step to soothing it.
There is a limitation to knowing a philosopher by a single line. I am tempted to google him right now, to put that famous line in context, but I will be sucked into a different the vortex of the internet, a hole almost as inescapable as my nighttime thoughts. Decartes was probably celebrating a linear kind of thought. One that might be directed, maybe even with a measurable outcome. I wonder if I have those at all, and while I wonder I also list my tasks for the day, and notice the weather. I think about Leo’s neck pain and whether it is primarily psychological or physical. I wonder how much of my michegas I have passed on to him. I lament the loss of Yiddish and go on to wonder about the high holy days and what it means that I am skipping them. My boys are in school, we haven’t thought about shul. What ancient thread am I unraveling by letting these days slip away? Obviously during this time I am considering my meals for the day and what game night game Oliver will force me to play. Then there is the constant overlay…each of these strands are self-ish. I am at the center, and also represent a life of luck. Where every worry is an elective. Then I try change my guilt to gratitude. Which reminds me of the practice I did at the zen center about loving kindness. Which I quit. Which makes me feel guilty. Which, like all emotions, are useless in achieving awareness. Can there even be a heirarchy of uselessness of emotions if they are all to be eschewed?
It is a two minute drive.
I slow my breath.
I imagine the huge snarl of words and worries. They are a slippery sticky grey tangle. Slowly I dry them out until they are silky and smooth. Then I lighten their color to a soothing blue grey. And I begin tease them apart with the fingers of my mind. A tiny section at a time. And wonder…am I allowed to consciously try to let go of my subconscious. Then the meaning of “allowed” how punitive…and who would mete out the punishment. I think about the extra “I” in punitive. It is me that punishes me. Why have I been able to wipe away the concept of punishment in my parenting but not personally?
And like that I am back. Wondering and judging, thinking and being.
Was Decartes right after all?
Or is there a way not to mind my mind?