ABBOTT AND COSTELLO ON MINDFULNESS
By Dr Ian Ellis-Jones
With more than a little nod to Bud Abbott and Lou Costello,
who filled the void for decades and who continue
to help make my life worth living.
Lou Costello [LC]: Heeeyyy A-bbott!
Bud Abbott [BA]: What d’ya want, Costello?
LC: I want to know how your mindfulness class went.
BA: The mindfulness class went all day. And I’m very pleased to
say---I now have no-mind.
LC: Is that good?
BA: Good? It’s wonderful! Having no-mind is something I've always
wanted. Mind you, there is so much I've had to stop doing in order
to achieve this state of no-mindedness.
LC: You keep saying to me that I have no mind, Abbott.
BA: That’s true. You have absolutely no mind at all. You’re just a
lazy, stupid idiot, Costello.
LC: Thanks, Abbott. But at least I didn’t need to go to mindfulness
class to learn that.
BA: You don’t understand, Costello. There’s a whole world of
difference between having no-mind and being stupid. I have nomind. You’re just plain stupid.
LC: You have no mind but you’re not stupid?
LC: How can you have no mind and not be stupid?
BA: It’s easy. Having no-mind means you have attained wisdom and
enlightenment. When you have no-mind you are a whole person.
LC: A hole what? How can a person be a hole?
BA: Look, Costello, a person is not a hole, but a person can be
whole, if they have, er, no-mind.
LC: A person is, er, hole if they have no mind?
LC: I don’t even know what I’m talking about!
BA: That’s all there is to it. Having no-mind is being whole---and
empty. Then it’s full.
LC: How can it be both empty and full at the same time?
BA: Easy. It just happens---when there’s no thought.
LC: No thought of what?
BA: What's on second---we're not talking about him. Costello, I have
no thought of anything. I have no-mind because my mind is
mindfully empty---that’s why it’s full.
LC: You just said you have no mind, so how can something that
doesn’t exist be both full and empty at the same time?
BA: A mindful mind is a mind of no-mind, Costello. That’s the only
sort of mind worth having---mindful and empty.
LC: Mind full---and empty?
BA: Exactly. Full of no-thing.
LC: Here we go again!
BA: Don’t get excited, Costello. You have no mind, which is why
you’re stupid. I, on the other hand, have no-mind, which is why I’m
LC: How is it that you’re not stupid, even though you have no
BA: It’s simple. My mind has gone.
LC: You’re telling me! Gone where?
BA: Just gone.
LC: If it’s gone, it must have gone some place, Abbott!
BA: Look, Costello, a mind is gone when it’s fully present.
LC: How can it be gone and fully present at the same time?
BA: That’s how it happens. A mind is gone when it stays fully
present in the now. Then it’s an empty mind of no-mind.
LC: How can a mind be a mind and no mind at the same time?
BA: It’s simple. A mind is no-minded when it’s gone, that is, when it
is fully engaged in being here and now.
LC: Engaged to who?
BA: Just engaged. Who is on first---we're not talking about him.
LC: If you’re engaged, you got to be engaged to somebody, Abbott!
BA: Look, Costello. I am not engaged, it’s just my mind that’s
LC: How can a mind be engaged?
BA: A mind is engaged when it is … ah … present.
LC: An engagement present?
BA: Talk sense, Costello!
LC: How can a mind be a present?
BA: Look, Costello. A mind is not a present. It is just … ah …
present, but only when it is gone.
LC: Here we go again!
BA: I don’t know what I’m going to do with you, Costello. We talk
and talk but it gets us nowhere. You just have no mind at all.
LC: Then I’m exactly like you.