I just got back from a little mini-vacation to visit my brother and his family in Rhode Island.
I was a good trip and I really enjoyed being them, going to the beach, eating Atlantic lobster rolls, running on the beach front and meditating at a little ocean front park the day before I left.
I did not enjoy the previous 24 hours, however, incurred by leaving my wallet next to a tree while I meditated at the park. The price paid for 17 minutes of meditation translated into 24 hours of printing out copies of bank statements and electric bills the night before the flight so I could prove my identity at TSA at 4 A.M. the next morning, I then had to immediately get off the plane to go get a new driver’s license so I could prove I’m me at the bank to get a new debit card, then go pick up my car at the mechanic, a $400 bill my father had to pay because my credit card was in my wallet that I left by the tree in Rhode Island.
This isn’t a very exciting journal post, unless you’ve gotten this far. Now I tell you what I learned from the whole experience. I posted yesterday that sometimes, a bonehead move is just a bonehead move. And that is correct. But here’s the thing, I learned something that people who study the brain to any degree already know.
We have our brain, and then we have our minds. And too often, the two aren’t in sink with one another. Mindfulness is getting to be a very tired concept, it’s all over the place these days. Which is unfortunate because there is a lot to the concept of “mindfulness.” Being mindful means that your mind and your brain are in sync with each other. I was not mindful when I left my wallet at the park after meditation because my mind and my brain were not in sync for the 5 seconds that I got up from my sitting meditation, stretched and marched merrily back to my brothers house, sans wallet. For lack of a better term, I was brainful. Brainful is the default status most of us live in all the time. Its when your brain and your mind have forgotten each other and my brain was focused on getting back to the house so I could get to dinner with my family and my mind was still contemplating the Atlantic Ocean and maybe someday I could move out this way to be closer to my brother. My mind and my brain were not in sync enough to remember my wallet at the base of that tree trunk.
So let this be a lesson. “Being mindful” is such a cliché these days and clichés are clichés for a reason. Syncing up your brain with your mind is what it’s all about friends.
As the book The Naked Buddha boils down to one simple word, Being mindful just means Think.