Mindlessness – a ringside seat

In All articles, Mindful living by Norman Lamont


Yesterday, at the end of the working day in my home office, I made a shocking discovery. My wedding ring wasn’t on my finger!  Hmmm.  Must be on the desk somewhere. I’d a vague memory of fiddling with it while I was doing something.  But was that at the desk?

Search the desk. Search the desk again because, well, that’s where it must be! No ring. Hmm, look under the desk. This is getting worrying. It could have fallen and rolled anywhere. That viper’s nest of cables at the back of my desk that I keep meaning to tidy. The rug that keeps shifting and rolling up as my chair rolls back and forth. No ring. Check the bathroom, may have come off while washing my hands. Nope. Beginning to regret getting it altered last month because I couldn’t take it off!

Must be downstairs. I was sitting having coffee on the sofa twice, and I was in the kitchen. Kitchen is quite tidy. No ring. Where was I fiddling with it? Probably on the couch on a break, reading the iPad. Off with the cushions, off with the seats. Hands down the sides into the cold belly of the sofa, all crumbs, receipts and small change. Interesting debris but no ring. Damn.

Where else have I been? I was at my son’s flat to walk his dog. Oh man, surely not while I was out with the dog? Would I have noticed? Cold sweat appearing now. I’ll just run up and check the desk again. Because I hadn’t checked it for at least ten minutes. Text my son and ask him to check his flat. It’s not on the floor, he advises, and suggests I retrace the route I went with the dog. Help. Heart rate rising. I reflect that if I weren’t a meditator, I might feel worse. Might.

I am in the deepest of deep doodoo. My wife arrives home.

‘What’s up with you?’

‘Well …’

I confess. She can’t come down too heavily on me as she lost her engagement ring in this very house many years ago. Have you looked in …?, she says, reeling off a list of locations with which I’m now depressingly familiar. Trouser pockets, jacket pockets all checked. I’ll have a look, she says, obviously doubting me.

I resign myself to retracing the dog walk, paying as much attention to the pavement as the dog did. I go upstairs for my phone, which is on my desk. Must check the desk again! I notice a slight irritation, a slightly out-of-the-usual feeling on my right hand. What’s this? On the fourth finger of my right hand – a gleaming wedding ring! I can’t help laughing. I call down to my wife.

‘What on earth were you doing?’

‘I was on a Skype call, I must have fiddled it onto the other hand.’

‘Hope it wasn’t a mindfulness call!’.

Tadaaaaa – mindlessness! Fixed ideas, repeating redundant patterns, self-reinforcing panic, anxiety about feeling anxious, insensitivity to the body. It’s all there –  I’ve done it so you don’t have to!