Idle Mind

Growing up, I was led to believe that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Good kids did not stay idle lest the devil take charge. According to teachers, to keep from being idle, we had to read and not just any books but those approved by them. Reading the bible or dictionary on your own initiative earned you extra points with them. And asking questions was okay as long as you did not overdo it. I thought chatting up friends was keeping busy but that earned me a severe reprimand and/or a beating. Thinking was another option but that too was squashed, because how sure were they that you weren’t thinking unholy thoughts. Plus too much thinking was not good for a child. I did not quite get this since during thinking, wasn’t the mind engaged? And wasn’t that the whole idea? But that was deeply ingrained in me and to date, I avoid being idle lest I hear the devil hammering away at the back of my mind.