Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Cat-Shaped Bag

The older my thoughts get, the more free rein I give them. I figure they've earned a little trust. I have as many as I ever did, but they're harder to keep track of. Sometimes I let them out first thing in the morning and they're not back by dinnertime. And by the time they come straggling in all slouchy, I ask them where they've been, and they say "Out," and I ask them what they were doing, and they're all "Nothing." I don't know what you're supposed to do about things like that, but it's not like there's any pinning them down, at their age. I've learned not to count on remembering my thoughts as they traipse through. Sometimes I write little notes on their underwear tags so I can make sure to get them back, but it's no guarantee I'll be able to recognize them later. I have a note here on the back of an envelope that says--I think--nostril movements nonregime butter Mr. Happy, although I have truly horrible handwriting, and I can't be sure.

I do trust that all my thoughts are still in the general vicinity even if I can't find them at the moment. It might not be true, because if they're gone for good I'll never know. But I don't want to contemplate the other possibility. Some of them no doubt are gone for good. I had some teenage ones that went missing decades ago, when I was reading a lot about Zen, and seeking a spiritual path. When they put one of them on the milk carton and do an age-progression, it just says "Have another beer."

That used to be a thing I'd think about, the possibility of achieving an enlightened state of not-thinking, and I've achieved that state admirably, albeit in front of the TV with a cat on my lap. Tater is a cat of capacious and sprawly fur. Some people think she's a little fat but I don't. I think she just needs a certain ampleness of skin to hold all the guts and personality and purr in, and she sees no point in skimping on the containment vessel. You can move it all around. You can rumple up a section on her back and slump it over her ears if you want. Her fur is basically a big relaxed bag that is essentially cat-shaped but can be arranged any number of ways. She's not particular. She has every confidence that everything she needs to be a cat is somewhere inside.

That's what I think about my mind, too. It's gotten sprawly and the elastic is sprung, but all the thoughts are in there somewhere in a cat-shaped bag and you can find them if you just rumple it right.

And that's the kind of thought that comes straggling home if you give it free rein.

19 comments:

  1. I used to try for that state of "non-thinking" during meditation as well, but I don't anymore, although I do meditate -- after a fashion. Now, I just try for a relaxed state of mind while listening to binaural beats through headphones instead of trying to get rid of all the thoughts. I mean, the whole point of meditation seems to be to achieve a lack of anxiety. How one manages to do that is up for grabs. I think it can be more anxiety-inducing to try to get rid of each and every thought than it is to just smile and nod at them and let them have their say before they toddle off. The thing I don't get about Zen is the disdain in which physical existence seems to be held. If we went to all the trouble of getting a body, I think it deserves to be maintained and to live a happy life, every bit as one's mind or one's spirit. When it makes the body feel inferior or uncomfortable, it seems to me that the spirit is acting like a dick.

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  2. I think if I tried to hold Angel like that, I may never be seen or heard from again.
    I don't have many thoughts at all these days, I try to actively avoid thinking sometimes, just put my feet up and read several books instead.

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    1. It gets easier and easier and emptier and emptier.

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  3. Tater's tummy looks very soft and pettable. However, she looks terrified in that second photo!

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  4. Replies
    1. I'll always opt for the easy way out.

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  5. LOVE the flexibility of your tater shaped mind.

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    1. It bows out nicely but doesn't always spring back into shape, I must say.

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  6. Y'know, it's quite possible that, over time, some of my free-ranging thinklings may have managed to cross the Pacific and gone wandering off with some of your thoughts. And then they sometimes wander in through the back door, quite grown-up and scientificky and talking about things that they didn't pick up in my mind...

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    1. You should really be hanging out in better neighborhoods.

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  7. My mind will.not.shut.up! Annoying and I've tried meditation and even hypnosis. Both are nice enough, but my mind spins on. I can't imagine what it must be like to have, even temporarily, a quiet brain.

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  8. If any of your thoughts are missing, it never shows.

    Tater's stretchybility is pretty awesome.

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  9. I was going to comment; but I forgot what. Perhaps it will come back to me, but by then I will have forgotten what I intended to do with it.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. If it runs into any of mine, tell them to come home.

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