May 6, 2010

The Mind In Neutral

I was talking with “Father Tony” Adams the other day about his recent South Florida Gay News interview with Mark King, owner/operator of the blog "My Fabulous Disease.” The disease so described is HIV, for which Mark tested positive in 1985. (Check out Mark’s website, which is filled with information and links on HIV/AIDS with an unusual take: humor and gratitude. He pulls it off, too, with intelligent and hilarious commentary. It is refreshingly honest.)

Anyway. Tony repeated something very interesting from his interview with Mark that struck me and stayed in my head. Mark was talking about his years doing drugs and said, “My mind in a neutral state wants drugs.”

The mind in neutral: this is when there is nothing pulling on you but yourself, no outside influences until you pursue them. Where does it go? My mind today is in a totally different state than even a couple of years ago, but left to my own devices—as is often the case, much to my delight—I want to read. I want to know more. There isn’t enough time in the day when I’m reading.

The desire to know more sounds so, I don’t know, noble, doesn’t it? But it can create problems if you can’t get out of neutral. I don’t hear anyone or anything when I’m reading; it’s angered plenty of people who thought I was ignoring them. And my reading material vacillates from primarily nonfiction—science and religion—to trashy nonsense—no, I’m not telling. My mind in neutral can successfully keep me from interacting with my environment with astonishing ease, leaving my family and friends a distant second if I’m not vigilant.

Is the mind in neutral always a negative drive? I’m not certain. Sometimes I’ll put down the books and computer and go looking for a new experience, like the parks I discovered in my city last year. (But that was due to fellow bloggers’ writing, so I guess I’m back to square one.)

What about you? No one’s around, you have no immediate needs to meet, your mind goes into neutral. What do you do?

Image from somewhere on

Update: Look what I found.


Rox said...

I play Tetris when my mind is in neutral. My mind is usally in Overdrive though. My body? Totally in Reverse. LOL!

Blobby said...

A mind in neutral. g-d, that sounds like heaven. not have what is probably ADD.

word verfication: blushboy (as IF!)

Mark S. King said...

My original, God-given mind, the one I had before I soaked it in street drugs for twenty years, would probably think about ping pong, Ethel Merman and missing my Dad in a neutral state.

Regrettably, years of abuse have produced a Pavlov's Dog response that desires those chemical rewards whenever possible. So my recovery is mostly concerned with accepting, and then refusing, those impulses.

The battle is a mental one, thank God, and hasn't been played out through actions in quite some time. So that's a blessing.; Maybe before long I'll start thinking about Ethel Merman again!

Mark S. King

tornwordo said...

Listening particle made me laugh. Yeah, I don't understand neutral, there is a constant stream going on. Meditation helps it slow down though. I can understand that idea that the neutral brain wants drugs because that was true for me in my twenties and early thirties. But now I don't. Maturation? Who knows, but I'll take it.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting post. I have a hard time finding "neutral". My mind is constantly on the move... either making lists, or worrying, or laughing, or considering, or planning. Listening to music helps to direct those impulses into a single daydreaming fantasy, but it doesn't quiet it. Herbal refreshments will definitely quiet it, but the increased caloric intake associated with it can be problematic. Same with liquor. Yoga can quiet it for a while, but it's such an expense of cognitive energy and time to get to that quiet place. I wish reading did it for me... I tend to get halfway through a book, get the "jist", and put it down.