*Working In A Padded Room*
Getting To Know My Mind
By: ReadySet
20 December 2010

Not long ago I found myself working in a padded room. This room was a microphone testing room, complete with heavy walls covered with sound absorbing foam. This room was selected for my task (testing small transformers) as it was empty and available. The work was mind-numbingly dull: Measure a transformer and place it in a "good" box or a "bad" box. Repeat several hundred times a day.

Given the silence and dull work, it isn't surprising that my mind soon protested. I "watched" it by noting what I was thinking, and the emotions I was feeling. I identified the following stages my mind went through over the course of several weeks of working at this job:

1. Boredom & Indignation

I'm not prone to getting bored - there's always something to daydream about. But this was too much. Common thoughts were along the lines of

This went hand in hand with indignation.

This was not a happy time, and I did not look forward to working it another day. Fortunately this stage didn't last long as I discovered the joys of using an MP3 player.

2. Music

Music made things go much better. With a new-to-me preloaded iPod, I could listen to almost anything. On any given day I would listen to old favorites, try a new artist, or check out an entirely new genre. It was fun to listen very closely and hear things that I normally miss. I also started to notice various levels of creativity, and could tell if the artist was having fun while performing. (Both seemed missing from much of the mass marketed pop music.)

But after a while music became less enjoyable and I listened to it less and less.

3. Acceptance

Eventually my mind calmed, and I no longer needed a distraction to do this job. I noticed that the situation really was OK. For example, no one was constantly watching over my shoulder. I could daydream. The work was easy, and the pay very good. A few conversations drifted into the room, but the general factory chaos stayed "out there."

I started to wonder: Is this what some refer to as a "moving meditation?" My hands were busy, but my mind was at ease (some of the time, anyway). It was/is a peaceful, enjoyable state. I began to enjoy working in this quiet environment.

But all things come to an end, and this work was reassigned to someone else at this point. I don't know if there are more levels to this process; but I imagine/suspect there are.


The mind as tormenter - More than a few times during this process, an idea would get stuck in my head. Usually it was something negative, such as "I should have said/done/..." about any recent personal event. The idea just sat there all day long, grinding away at self esteem and any positive thought. It had to stop, but commanding my mind to stop thinking about it didn't help. I had some success with forcibly holding a neutral to positive thought until the negative thought was gone. Not necessarily easy, but well worth the effort.

In regards to prepping - Several situations that I have considered in my prepping plans include major social disruptions. Life will be different for awhile (or longer). It should be no surprise to see people greatly upset by a change in the daily routine. Those who recognize that their mental turmoil is temporary may be in a much better position to survive and prosper. Those with weak minds may not make it, despite a physically survivable situation.


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