In the Shelter of a Quiet Mind

by Soramimi Hanarejima ~ Portland, Oregon, USA

There’s been a soundspill up north. An accidental release of high-volume, raw frequencies intended for music production. And it’s spreading rapidly.

News of the disaster’s approach sends the city’s population into a panic. To buy earplugs or – for those who can afford them – noise-cancelling headphones; to pick up their children from school or daycare; to prepare the parts of their homes that have the most sonic insulation with enough provisions to last into the evening. The advancing din will sweep through in mere hours, so they lose no time turning frantic thoughts into frenetic action.

But not her. She is secure in the knowledge that soon she will retreat into your thoughts, the quietest place she knows, where – she believes – the two of you will wait out the passage of the spill in each other’s company.

And indeed, you will be there. Because you’re already there, stalking loneliness, to wrestle with it in this realm where it is palpable.

She has, however, no idea that when she finds you there, her presence in your thoughts will rarefy loneliness into phantasmal elusivity, permitting it slip from your hold and billow away. You will be, not exactly miffed, but disappointed. She will offer to help track down loneliness, and you will have to tell her that loneliness will keep its distance so long as she is around. Then, even though you won’t blame her for anything, she will feel terribly about showing up unannounced. Much as she will then be compelled to, she can’t head home. Harsh noise would bombard her from all directions the moment she leaves your thoughts. Neither of you want that, though she will almost take seriously the idea that she deserves to endure such aural havoc after disrupting your fight with loneliness.

So you will have to distract her from her guilt by taking her to your mind’s eye, revealing to her the part of your psyche that looks upon this world within you. Together making the journey across consciousness, you and she will come to the intersection of experience, memory and imagination where the eye hangs low and luminous over the mental realm.

There, she will marvel at the orb of perception and wonder why she has never thought to seek out her own. Then she will wonder what would be required to elevate it, to grant it greater observational ability.

“Is it crying?” she will ask you when she notices the fluid dripping from it.

“I guess you could say that, but what you’re seeing at the bottom is the gathering condensation of attention,” you will explain. “It’s heavy with the information it holds, which falling drops of attention will then carry to the subconscious. That attention will then percolate through layers of unconscious thought to be cleansed of information, leaving it all behind as attention moves through that part of the mind. The purified attention then makes its way to a reservoir.”

Taking to heart this lesson in cognitive ecology, she will silently vow to keep negativity out – or at least at the edges – of her attention, to keep it from clinging to her mind’s eye and from infiltrating her unconscious mind.

But all this is still hours away.

For now, her attention is filled with excitement as it flows to her mind’s eye, some of that eagerness coalescing into scenes of you two setting up camp in your mind as the city’s air turns raucous. ■