This morning I woke up after an evening of drinking with my Irish friend. The sun was streaming in through the net curtains and since I didn’t have to get up for work I just lay there. I didn’t feel too bad considering the amount we drank last night and the fact that I ate the remains of a curry just before going to bed. I also forgot to drink any water before going to bed, which I should know from experience helps a lot.
I got lost while walking home around midnight and instead of it taking me the usual one hour to get home, it took me just over two. I finally got home just after 2am.
At one point I found myself walking along the canal that is the artery that runs between our local izakaya (Japanese pub) and my flat (‘apartment’ for any Americans out there). Walking along the canal is how I orientate myself when going between the two places. After walking for over an hour I came across a bridge that I knew I had passed about 30 minutes before, but that time I had been going in the other direction. Somehow in the maze of side roads I had done a 180 degree turn, found myself at the canal and then turned left instead of right and started back towards the pub. Duh.
So I did another ‘U’ turn and tried not to think about how there was still another 45 minutes of half-drunken trudging before I got home. Assuming that I didn’t get lost again. Then it would take longer.
Anyway, this morning I lay in bed and the peace and quiet was lovely. I didn’t have a hangover and I had no need to get up. There was the occasional cawing of a crow from outside and once in a while there was the sound of tyres on asphalt as a car went past. Otherwise the silence was reminiscent of those scorching days in mid-summer when even the birds and insects seem unable to raise the energy to chirp or buzz.
I thought to myself that this is what Mindfulness should really be about. Not obediently watching your own breathing but instead enjoying the silence of the room around you. You should be noticing the world, not yourself.
I lay there for a few moments longer, enjoying the silence. And then I drifted away, not into sleep but into my thoughts…
When I became conscious of myself again the room was still sunlit and quiet but it was annoying how I drift off so easily and get lost in thought.
And this is how my day, and probably those of most people, will be spent. I see something for a few seconds and then my mind starts its unstoppable internal monologue and my surroundings become a blur. I could be at Mount Rushmore, marvelling at the statues of the heads of four American presidents, or in the Antarctic staring at icebergs and glaciers and it would still make no difference. After a few seconds my talkative mind would write over the lot. It would be nice to see the world in its pristine condition without my internal narrative always butting in, not just for a minute or two but for hours on end. But my mind is the pub bore or the urban graffiti scrawler (I refuse to call them ‘artists’.)
Is it worth trying to stop this almost constant monologue that goes on in my head? Is it some kind of modern disease that more primitive people didn’t suffer from or is it just part of the human condition?
I don’t know, but if anyone has any ideas, feel free to comment.