Leandro Erlich, Bâtiment
“I found somebody doing something at somewhere”.
I have a ridiculous interest in the word “find”, or its past tense, “found”. When using that for a human, not object, it offers me a feeling that human sounds like an object. “I found you at the bar yesterday”. “I found that guy at the corner of the street”. “My dad was found cooking with my mom in the kitchen”. Nevertheless, it’s logical somehow. When saying “we found them”, it means that we’ve lost their track for a while, haven’t seen them for a while and then suddenly, here they are. In some cases, they was out of sight for a few seconds or days. In the other cases, they were away for months and years and so forth. Whether time or its duration doesn’t matter. That term still means to me that I had no idea about where they have been. I can go looking for them or just see them back accidentally. That’s why we say “found”. We didn’t know where they are and now we did.
Similarly, English speaking people also use “find” for themselves. “I found myself at home”. “I found myself looking at the bushes over the hill”. “I found myself loving somebody else”. And this is the point where my ridiculous interest born. If “I found somebody…” means I was not with them so I don’t know where they are so I have to go looking for them, does “I found myself…” mean the same thing? That is to say, I also have no idea where I have been and suddenly, from the middle of nowhere, I realize that “I’m here” regardless where is “here” and what kind of action I’m doing. Although this expression is frequently said, it really entertains my mind (in a tricky way) when trying to dig it deeper.
It sounds okay when we lose track of somebody else (to then find them back) as we are not physically attached to them. Even husband and wife, parents and child… are not. Then, the fact I lost those people is acceptable. However, we are attached to ourselves, how can we lose our track?
Or, do we? Do “we” really connect to ourselves as we thought, or “we” can barely trace our behaviors throughout the day?
This scenario might be familiar to you: I randomly found myself at some places participating in some activities which most of their parts I’ve missed out. Sometime in the day, I found myself listening to a long-time-no-see friend. After a few hours, I found myself doing a window-shopping round. In the next 20 minutes, I found myself starring at a sparkling shoes. All the middle details were mysteriously washed out : I didn’t see myself riding to the coffee shop to meet that long-time-no-see friend – which route did I take? I didn’t remember the moment in the parking area – did I place my motorbike near any column? I didn’t know the reason I chose that shoe to look at – because it has a big ribbon up on? Then, who had me walk to here, who made all those previous choices?
Well, it can’t be “no one”. It’s clearly this body who did those. But it’s not “me” – if you still agree that a full “me” must be a combination of soul and body. My “soul” in this case was not at the same place with the body, didn’t share the same eyes to see, same ears to hear, same feeling to feel and so forth.
In brief, this mind didn’t pay attention to whatever the body did. This mind didn’t take control over the body. This mind was not mindful.
Ahhh, MINDFUL… My friend once said “mindful” is a so-Buddhist word and it causes him allergic to. I don’t know why – maybe he has picked up ten Buddhist books and found the term in all ten – with nine times per page. My first meet with that word also came from such papers. But that shouldn’t be the reason (and it never will) to say Buddhism owns or creates that term. The concept of mindfulness is too beautiful and vast to be solely possessed by anyone. No one actually have that power.
I have read a page from a book, it said something like this: Paying attention (or mindfulness) makes blue sky bluer, pink rose pinker, happy faces look happier. It was a well-written sentence, I have to say, but it’s somewhat true. Your attention brings colors and motions to a picture which used to be just black and white, with only dots and lines, sketched when you was unmindful.
For the past 2 years, I have an additional job which is simple and not time-consuming at all: Try to “find myself” more often.
If I was able to find myself just five times yesterday, I will try to make it six today, seven tomorrow, seventeen next week. If it goes worse, try to keep six – six is good to start again. Try to look at more places to see more “me” hiding there. In fact, I have practiced this job many times and now it’s becoming my part-time job (well, not strong enough to be a full-time one). It’s enjoyable. Let’s think of numerous moments having been missed out in life when we can’t find ourselves at the right time in the right place. Things come and we were absent, no response. Let’s think of moments I was standing next to a handsome guy and didn’t realize he was also gazing at me… (*facepalm*)
Sometimes, it’s fun to find ourselves doing something weird or good. Sometimes, it’s lucky to find ourselves going to do bad. If we are doing weird or good, check or continue. If that’s bad, pause or cancel.
The “found myself” job is then a worth-trying job. No one pay for me, but my life is more controlled. When life is more controlled, that one is paid already.
In order to make this job looks more rewarding, I create a tiny signal: Whenever I suddenly find myself again – at somewhere, doing something – I will say “yeah!” in my mind. Yeah, I’m at the corner of the room – I’m sad again. Yeah, I’m seeing people walking. Yeah, I’m seeing that flower – what is the name? Yeah, I’m seeing that huge truck- keep right, keep right, keep right, now! Yeah, I’m seeing my mom wearing a new shirt – what, new shirt? She has bought no new shirt for years. Yeah, I’m in class – 3 more hours to go.
Yeah, I’m seeing the sky.
Beneath this vaulted sky, there are many places for the body to go. The good news is the body can experience all at the highest level. The bad news is the mind have to hold the remote control.
There are many times in a day, I found myself stuck in a problem and then found myself standing beneath this vaulted sky. The second then healed the first.
I’m healthy again.