Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Be Mindful Of Nothing

Sears Point, California, USA

April 12, 2011



"In India we don't think  who we are - we know  who we are."  ... Hrundi V Bakshi aka Peter Sellers in The Party answering the question "Who do you think you are?", circa 1968

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste." ... United Negro College Fund slogan, circa 1971

"A mind made up like a prejudice  is an awesome thing to lose."  ... Laurence Platt, circa 2011
This essay, Be Mindful Of Nothing, is the eleventh in a group of fifteen on Nothing:


It's a discipline  I've started with myself. I've started being mindful of it.

There are things in my life about which I'm already mindful, things about which I'm clear it's prudent to be mindful of. If I'm not mindful of them, my life doesn't work as well as it's possible for it to work. I'm mindful of the dates my bills are due. I'm mindful of when provisions need to be replenished in my refridgerator. I'm mindful of when I need a haircut. I'm mindful of when I better stop and buy gas. I'm mindful of the speed limit. I'm mindful of how long I've been parked when I've parked in a thirty minute parking space. I'm mindful of the weather when I leave home in the morning, and whether (pun unintended) I'm dressed appropriately for it.

This is all pretty basic stuff, yes? Pretty simple actually. Dogshit reality simple  actually. In fact it's profound  in its simplicity. This is what it takes to have Life work. It's usually being mindful of the simple stuff which has Life work ... and it's all  simple stuff (you've heard that  before, yes?).

Even if I wasn't mindful of any of the above, Life would continue on continuing on as it always does, as it always has. I'm not required to be mindful of anything  for Life to continue on continuing on. Life doesn't need me to be mindful. However, when I am  mindful, my participating in Life, my interacting with Life, my dancing  with Life works quantifiably better.

Yet although being mindful of all of the above (and more) is what it takes to have my life work, doing so isn't necessarily associated with a shift in the quality  of my life as I experience it. It works for me to be mindful of paying my bills on time. But paying my bills on time doesn't in and of itself  shift the quality of my life. It works for me to be mindful of replenishing the provisions in my refridgerator when they're low. But replenishing the provisions in the refridgerator when they're low doesn't in and of itself  shift the quality of my life. It works for me to be mindful of staying within the speed limit. But staying within the speed limit doesn't in and of itself  shift the quality of my life.

It's being mindful of nothing  which shifts the quality of my life.

Say whut?  You have to read that last sentence carefully. When I say "It's being mindful of nothing  which shifts the quality of my life", I'm not  saying "not  being mindful of anything  shifts the quality of my life" - watch out for the triple negation  in there ...

The discipline I've started with myself is being mindful of nothing. Just nothing. Not "no thing". Not "not some-thing". Just nothing. Really nothing. And if it weren't for another context in which it's used which is likely to distract from the terseness of what I'm saying, I'd call it sweet  nothing. Yet that's what it really is, isn't it? Sweet nothing.

Yes there are simple things I'm constantly mindful of which, when I attend to them, have my life work. That's one distinction. But it's a shift in the quality  of my life (another distinction entirely) which comes when I'm mindful of nothing.



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