Mindfulness

It’s a hard sell. Mind minus body. The lumbering meaty thing is still there, with all its joints and hemoglobin and heart conditions. It doesn’t leave you just because you decide to value that tangled web of firing neurons and chemical imbalances called a brain.

You do value it. Of course you do. It’s what makes your body tick, it’s what allows you to run on the treadmill and eat falafel from a food truck at 3am with your date,

No, that’s not right. That’s your brain.

Is your brain the same thing as your mind?

It’s that kind of night. The kind where you’re asking stupid philosophical questions and waving a white flag of defeat in front of your responsibilities. You’re done. You’re through. No more tonight. You need a rest.

So how do you convince people to see your mind over your body? It’s hovering there, your mind, above and around and in between all of your bodily functions and orifices and fortunate features. But it doesn’t overlay them. It just sort of shimmers. Sometimes it gets noticed. But not usually.

No, when you walk down the street to the post office to send the birthday present you’ve owed your mother for three months now and the rent check you’ve owed for slightly longer, you are not a mind above a body. You are a theoretical person, with a theoretical mind, but mostly you are simply a collection of limbs and features that are recognized as human.

Are you?

Is anyone?

It really is that kind of night. Shut your mind off. Let your brain wander. Watch some TV. Stop thinking about that girl you saw on the train and wanted to talk to. She’s long gone. She doesn’t exist in your world anymore.

Does she exist at all then?

Does it matter?

Shut up.

Where No One Can See

The floor shook, and ornaments began to rattle on the shelves, the painted china ladies knocking elbows and skirts with the delicate porcelain men. There was no earthquake, no shifting of plates deep within the earth, no shifting of magma or stone so old that it remembered what it was like to have the weight of much larger creatures stand upon it. The house that the floor belonged to looked peaceful from the outside, every blade of grass intact and the little red bench on the porch perfectly clean and gleaming cheerfully.

The disturbance, as the reader may have deduced, was arising from one of the rooms. It was a small one, near the back of the house, far from the street as well as situated at equal distances from the neighbors on either side. It was the only room in the house from which sounds would not emerge for the entire neighborhood to hear and judge, as members of small, well-mowed neighborhoods will. A woman named Gina stood within this room, which was hardly a room at all, more like a linen closet that had been stripped of its shelves.

Gina wasn’t remarkable looking, for she had no one feature that stood out particularly, nor was the symmetry of her features pleasing enough to be remembered. There was an aura of the average about her, a sense of potential that may have shone for a while but was quickly snuffed out by its owner for no real reason except, perhaps, laziness or lack of motivation. This is not to say that she seemed defeated. At the moment of the shaking floors, she looked, in fact, full of restless, angry energy as she screamed and jumped up and down again and again until her voice became ragged and her throat raw.

No one who knew Gina would ever believe that she went into this middle room several times a day to perform this ritual, this cleansing of all the sour emotions that would build in her over the course of her day. Her husband, with whom she was in the process of getting a divorce, would have been surprised to learn that Gina had any such strong emotions at all. As far as he was concerned, she had taken the news that he wanted to marry one of his graduate students quite well. He even entertained the notion that they would be able to remain friends and support each other emotionally during their later lives. He thought he would rather like that, because the graduate student he was engaged to was quite vapid and, if he was truthful with himself, was mostly attractive to him because of her smooth skin, her bouncy hair and her insatiable sexual appetite.

The ornaments settled, the floor ceased its tremors and Gina emerged from the room; slightly breathless and only a little red, she resumed the duties of her everyday life.