Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Gift of Silence and Daydreaming

Nothing. My mind is blank. Sitting here in the early morning I sense, more than see, the sunrise dispelling the darkness of the room. Casually, almost gratefully, the shadows are expunged from corners and edges leading to a clarity that didn't exist a few minutes ago. But in my head there is no clarity, just gray. And that is just what I want in my early morning moment. There are few greater gifts to personal greatness than quiet, and there is no discipline so in danger of disappearing as silence.

Recent studies examine the trend away from periods of silence and contemplation and indicate that creativity falters if it is not fed on moments of idle daydreaming. Sadly we fail to value moments of silence and daydreaming believing that increased productivity and creativity will only happen by a dogged pursuit of the task and continuous input. That is mostly incorrect. For the brain to be at its most creative it needs down time, time to make connections on its own without our help. Creativity is a masterful blend of the conscious and subconscious brain, but if we never "sleep" on a idea, or never let ourselves daydream of possibilities we tend to recreate what we've already created instead of making breakthroughs.

It's not easy. I've found that sitting and allowing my mind to drift is a discipline I need to rekindle. My life has moved toward constant movement and productivity. My friends and family comment on the fact that I can't seem to sit still. And, yes, I've accomplished some good things, but I've neither been able to write creatively in almost two years, nor create unique opportunities to help others achieve personal greatness. I'm stuck in a "doing" rut. I want to get back into a discipline of doing and thinking about nothing again. So here are a few tips:

  • turn off the "bells and whistles." Silence all of the noises and notifications that emanate from  your phone or computer. They are tremendously distracting. If necessary place them in another room where you can't hear them. 
  • don't set out to think or not to think, just allow your mind to go anywhere. 
  • do it at the same time every day. This helps me. My mind is ready to relax. 
  •  allow your mind the gift of no judgments, corrections, or direction and see what path it takes. 
  • sit back and watch what happens. 
I started daydreaming again at the beginning of the year. Already I'm aware of its effects. From newer ways to approach old topics, to ideas on how to change the world, my mind is exploring new galaxies. Frankly, I'm enjoying it and giving myself permission to explore further. 

Give yourself the gift of silence, you won't regret it. 

No comments: