Daynotes 2023-07-05: “Mind” as brain gardener

Feeling different this week as I continue to read "The Middle Path of Life" (see previous post); it seems to trigger some latent meditative states of mind in me, back from when I actually used to practice sitting. In particular, I am detaching from stresses slightly more, being more comfortable with my own tiredness, and – particularly of note – discovering a perspective that is akin to a mental "gardener" than the brain itself.

Ie. If we treat the brain as a processing machine – or something more organic, such as the ecosystem of a tree – then the mind (the reflective surface, rather than the conscious and rational brain or the emotional ego) the mind can be detached as a kind of mechanic, gardener or host role. It can create the conditions for activity to happen, without getting involved in the activity itself. It can act as a scrum master, a distant but loving parent, the scrubber in front of a curling stone. This pattern is everywhere in life, yet we ignore it for ourselves.

The brain may be stressed due to too much work, for example. The forceful mind drives the brain to work harder, but the reflective and supportive mind asks what might help identify and relieve that stress. That might take the form of external actions (speaking to someone to rearrange spec, or deadline) or it might be internal (reassessing priorities, doing something distracting, or so on).

That’s just one example – I’m wary of equating mindfulness with productivity and used that just because I’m heading to my place of work today, but it equally applies to all relationships with the world and the people in it.

The bus has unexpectedly halted before my intended destination. I may be late. Never mind. The growl of the bus engine has gone. Out in the distance, I see scaffolding the fluffy clouds of morning.