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In The Kitchen

Thoughts on Not Thinking and Listening - What's Your Now?

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Sometimes you just type. Other times you just listen. I sat down to start typing, but now I’m listening. I’m grounded, in my kitchen. My refrigerator makes a little drizzling noise even though it’s brand new. It also does quite a lot of whirring while it toils away unrewarded in that assigned spot snuggled between the cabinets. Is it bothered that it’s only occasionally visited, even then, briefly?

The little fan I bought from Amazon is perched on the counter like a silver bird creating its own wind. It doesn’t sing like a bird though. It just drones on but it’s not unpleasant. Many people like white noise. I guess I’m indifferent to it, which makes sense because that’s the point of white noise.

Other than those two companions, I’m pretty much alone in the kitchen. The dishwasher is on break and the table and chairs are talking amongst themselves. Well, and there’s my thoughts. I’m alone with my thoughts on not thinking and listening.

A cup of coffee and a cigarette was my mother’s breakfast. She sat at the kitchen table every morning, even though the dining table was a counter away. I know she never stopped thinking, and I don’t think she listened. Because she was never really there. If I spoke to her during my bowl of Rice Krispies, she would answer me, but there wasn’t any real interest there. I could see it in her eyes she was already far away and lost in some kind of pain that she couldn’t get away from. I bet she didn’t know what sound the refrigerator made, or even knew the fan was on and she’d left it that way from the night before when she got up absent mindedly to go to bed. I’m pretty sure she never just sat quietly away from her own thoughts.

She rambled off and got lost somewhere she dreamed about. Instead of staying in the moment while she had her coffee and cigarette, because here could never measure up to there.

Presence was a completely new idea to me. Like doing nothing, just being. Being a being. All words that have become sing song now and reduced to buzz words and catchy phrases. But presence is also not new news. Of the many ancient practices, it’s first and foremost a part lost on modern society. Still, when I did cross its path, I think the impact it had on me was pretty unexpected. Have you ever tried to not have a thought? For even a second, it seems like forever. It takes effort and like a coiled spring as soon as you stop stopping the thoughts, the mind reverts right back to thinking and more thinking. Because it thinks that’s a good thing. And judgements are made about everything. Second only to observing your own thoughts on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, is not judging your own thoughts. Labeling them as soon as the occur rather than just letting them drift by. That launches the internal dialogue that traps us.

I often wonder how my mother’s life, or mine for that matter, would have been different if she had just listened and stayed there glued to the table with Folgers and cigarettes in hand. Instead of floating off to somewhere else that she had decided was better than where she currently was, she might have gained peace in being in the moment. But it eluded her even to her death. Something I’m fighting daily, I’ll fight for peace even if I have to sit in the kitchen every day and listen. It’s my meditation, it’s my now.

I imagine as my thoughts dissolve, things would have been quite different.

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