Aimless Practice

I like spacing out. Here and there I find myself staring at my desk's neutral blue pinboard, scrutinizing my phone case's patterns of dust, or losing myself in the gutter of a book rather than the words, and I wonder how many hours these moments would total if I spreadsheeted a week's worth.

Someone, catching me staring at the reflection of a reflection playing off the bezel of my computer's monitor, asks me if I don't worry all this daydreaming is a waste of time.

I don't. It seems plain to me that the day isn't a carry-on bag to be stuffed at maximum density. Maybe I can't prove it, but I suspect that after a few pages of actual reading or a few PowerPoint slides of actual lesson planning, the margins are where actual growth (of the mind, of the spirit) takes place.

Here's a magic word: meditation. I've seldom meditated on purpose, so I can't tell you how the accident of my unpanicked life compares to the brain gains you could achieve by paying a professional to teach you the discipline of silence. I can tell you, however, that others take my space-outs more seriously when I say, Oh, I was meditating. What was a lapse in concentration gets rewritten as the very essence of focus.

To my doubters, productivity is the paramount heuristic. And in 2018, meditation—even my aimless practice of it—is a productive brand.