Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mindlessness and mindfulness

This morning I began a pre-dawn walk that allowed me to follow some meandering trails that lead to no particular place and it was when the dawn was breaking that I began to consider the difference between being mindless and mindful. I suppose one could consider being mindless as allowing your environment to govern your behavior and further that this would be a less than satisfying state of being, but in Eastern spirituality, I'm now thinking Zen, this mindlessness is considered a positive, in fact, isn't that the goal of Buddhism? To become so mindless that the governing environment and you become one. (I'm thinking of environment in its broadest sense, physical, mental, natural, artificial) So one forfeits one's apartness for unity with the all. Yet being mindful is when one seeks to understand the environment one finds oneself in and then seeks to understand it and in the understanding seeks to make ones behavior guided by this understanding. That is, mindlessness is allowing your environment to guide your behavior, mindfulness is seeking to guide your behavior by understanding your environment. Mindlessness seeks unity. Mindfulness seeks apartness. Hmmm, as I was returning to the monastery, these thoughts seemed to swirl before me, and I must admit, both seem attractive. For break fast Bro. Simon fried up some tofu that was dipped in egg and sprinkled with lots of pepper, both black and red, and I became very mindless and just took everything in.

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