She’s in her right mind.
He’s out of his mind.
Interesting how we talk about the mind being the person and the person being their mind.
John O’Donohue writes: ‘If you lost your mind, you would lose your world as well. Your mind is so precious and vulnerable precisely because it holds your world. Thoughts are the furniture of the mind.’*
I’ve previously mentioned how we don’t produce thinking; it’s happening all the time without us consciously doing anything.
To describe someone as thoughtless, then, isn’t to suggest they don’t have thoughts, but they are not in control of their thinking. (The next time you’re in some sort of meeting look for moments when you catch yourself thinking things about someone or some issue, and you realise, this is not how you want to think about it – your all-the-time thinking has just swept you along.)
When we realise thinking doesn’t only have to happen to us but we can guide and to some extent control our thinking – as it were, we have thoughts about our thoughts – then we face up to one of the biggest issues facing Humans: escaping WYSIATI (What You See Is All There Is) – the downloading of limited information in a narrow and uncritical way.**
When we open our minds to more, we’re opening our lives to the daily possibility of more exciting and enlivening thoughts, new continents of possibility, new experimentations in creativity, generosity, and enjoyment.^
People who bring more to us out of their worlds are like lights in the darkness of our thinking – whether this happens individually, collectively, or as part of an experience. Though uncomfortable at first – we squin when light appears in darkness – our “eyes” then adjust and we appreciate just how dark our thinking has been, and what follows feels nothing less than liberating and freeing.
(*From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(**Just follow any conversations on the UK news about immigration at the moment to spot examples of this.)
(^Three things which for me define what it is to be Human – though there are as many definitions as there are people.)