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 TED.com.
Update: Look what I found.