The thing about thinking about everything and nothing.

My wife did a boot camp out at Wonga Park. Boxer Sam Soliman had her jumping side-to-side over a log. He timed 3 minutes but the stopwatch didn’t even work, didn’t even have batteries.

My old personal trainer use to change the weight up when I wasn’t looking and fool me into doing personal bests. But then I started to guess when he was doing it, and I couldn’t do personal bests any more.

In some activities there is just too much damned time to think.

In a basketball game I played last century, we were down to 3 players with less than a minute to go, needing 3 points to win. The opposition covered the other two who had been shooting three-pointers all night, leaving me free. Andy and Ash couldn’t get a shot off, so they passed to me, and I turned and netted it and we won. No time to think. Ever had a time when you nailed it because you didn’t have time to think? And then when you tried to repeat it…

As Paul Kelly says in his most excellent “How To Make Gravy: A to Z, A Mongrel Memoir” when he tries to learn how to kick an Aussie football with his left foot.

The art of kicking is all about getting the drop of the ball right. My right hand does this instinctively. There’s hardly any gap between where I let go of the ball and where it hits the boot. Not so on the left. I have to think about it more, guiding the ball down. The drop always seems longer. And the longer the drop, the greater the margin for error. I’m running around an oval in Cairns trying not to think about how I release the ball from my left hand. When it goes well I’m not thinking about anything.

I love Stick Cricket. You have so little time to pick what shot to play. As soon as you start guessing what is coming next you start losing. As soon as you start thinking of anything much at all, your reactions slow down. Playing a game to get out of your mind though might not be far off crap TV and Internet porn as avoidance.

In the best Aussie novel of all time, Dirt Music by Tim Winton, Georgie consumes the Internet:

When Georgie sat down before the terminal she was gone in her seat, like a pensioner at the pokies, gone for all money. Into that welter of useless information night after night to confront people and notions she could do without. She didn’t know why she bothered except that it ate time […] It was an infinite sequence of opening portals, or menus and corridors that let you into brief painless encounters, where what passed for life was a listless kind of browsing. World without consequence, amen. And in it she felt as light as an angel. Besides, it kept her off the sauce.

Getting out of your mind, or staying in it.

Examining every belief, indeed noticing beliefs at all, and deciding whether to pluck them from the fishing net of your memory to throw back into the sea.

But not trying hard. Letting go. Noticing shards and remnants of reflex and feeling: the way you behave around an old school friend; the way a pretty girl makes you blush; the way you tell yourself, like a flailing Biggest Loser contestant, “That’s good enough”.

I’m listening to A Bug Free Mind, by Andy Shaw. He starts with this suggestion: Think of a really great time in your life and nothing else for fifteen seconds. Try it.

I’m also studying a silent qigong meditation that will take 20 weeks to learn. Trying to reach what the Taoists call the Ding State. Thinking of Nothing. And Everything. Of All Things. Maybe. I’ll know it when I get there apparently.

I’m doing a lot of thinking about thinking.

Don’t think of a white elephant.

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