Today, while I was waiting for my evening college class to begin, I sat in a lobby at the college surrounded by humming snack machines, and it started me thinking about the humming minds of students and their teachers. For three hours on fifteen nights my students and I will be together in a small room, and, though each of us will sometimes be silent, our minds will always be making the steady sounds of earnest thinking. That’s what minds do: they silently hum like hardworking snack machines, making endless refreshments, you might say, for our thought-hungry lives. After all, we live on thoughts, all of us. Our thoughts feed us, fill us with spirit and vision, and free us to find new ways to widen our lives. Whether we’re working on an important project or just enjoying an idle afternoon, our minds are manufacturing thoughts that can carry us a thousand miles in a milisecond. Our minds are mechanisms made of a wild kind of wisdom, and they hum with the liveliness of limitless snack machines. I must keep this in mind as I make my way with my students through this class. In the deadest, most soundless moments of the class, our always animated minds will be beating the drums of thoughts and throwing thinking parties inside us. Silence and dullness on the outside, perhaps, but inside, always the purr and pulsation of spirited thoughts.
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