The word for today is ruminate:
–verb (used without object)
1. to chew the cud, as a ruminant
2. to meditate or muse; ponder
–verb (used with object)
3. to chew again or over and over
4. to meditate on; ponder
from rumen (gen. ruminis) “gullet”
Lately, I find that the visceral pleasure in cogitating on something rather than reacting has been extremely satisfying. For instance: I receive an email that I have been waiting for. I am glad to have this email. The information it contains is interesting, if not exactly what I was looking for, and ultimately puts to rest the wait for the email. I am inclined to reply. But I do not. Instead, I ruminate over the email and the implications of the email and the potential outcomes of replying, not replying. The email needs no reply, though this does not always stop me from doing so. Right now I feel perfectly satisfied to have the email in my inbox and return to it when I want to remind myself that it is there. No need to “just say hey” back.
Or consider this example: I am on a boat (yeah, really, on a boat.) I am listening to people converse and speculate over the details of something of which I am fairly sure I have more accurate information. Should I share/correct/engage? I don’t know what I should do, but I don’t do anything. I sit and ruminate. There is no reason for me to get involved, particularly because they are not really interested in accurate information, as it tends to be quite boring. I turn my iPod up.
I return to the email. I am glad it is there. Why it feels so satisfying I have no idea, but you know, whatever.
Without advocating for passivity or excessive contemplation or worse, the creation of non-reality, I think that the pleasure derived from bouncing a concept around in your head for the simple interest of it is quite cool. It is like savoring something delectable on your tongue rather than wolfing it down. Wolfing definitely has its place, but this is certainly pleasant.
A non-reactive reaction.
[photo from here.]