Flavor: Dull mind.

1. What’s going on mathematically?

The day after a really intense math day (8+ hours), I have a sort of refractory period of dullness.

2. What is the emotional and logistical context?

It’s after a very productive, or at least long, day. (The amount of sleep I get that night doesn’t seem to matter much.) So there’s lots of momentum, courage, enthusiasm, and a good research To Do list. I sit down to work, but my brain seems to mutiny.

This type of dull mind might also come after a decidedly mind-numbing experience, like a 30-hour bus ride, going for jury duty, or some sort of orientation.

3. What thoughts are there?

I lay out ideas before my mind, but nothing clicks, nothing goes anywhere. I stare, thoughtless, unsure what to do. It’s like trying to get a cat to play with a toy, when it just wants to lie still.

4. What quality of awareness?

There are all sorts of other unproductive mindsets. Sometimes my mind is too agitated, perhaps after (or before) some adventure or excitement. Sometimes I’m too emotionally unstable to do math. Sometimes I’m sleep-deprived, and my mind oscillates between agitation and dullness and I can’t steady it. Sometimes I’m just a little slow and groggy – but then I can usually get going, especially with caffeine.

This dullness is different; it won’t go away with coffee. I can’t just scrape the ice off the windshield and start driving, knowing that within ten minutes the car will be warmed up and I’ll be toasty. No, with this dullness the car won’t even start.

5. What emotions?

Maybe surprised, always bewildered. Mildly disappointed, but not too worried.

6. What does it resolve to, after how much time?

The dullness usually lasts for half a day, or a full day, and then I might be slow and groggy but can get going. Yoga or exercise won’t fix it. Meditation will fix it.

7. How frequent is this flavor?

Once or twice a month.

8. What are good/bad ways to change or follow it up?

It’s best to recognize it, and go do something else. Or meditate and watch it pass. If I try to push through, I only get frustrated or make mistakes.

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