Sometimes I find that I enjoy just sitting here and thinking. I’ve been doing it for a long time, as long as I can remember in-fact. Back when I was in grade school, around third or fourth grade, I remember it was called ‘day-dreaming’. The first time I heard that word, it was being applied to me and what I was doing which was staring off out a windows and thinking. It sounded like a magical word. I was always fascinated by dreams and this sounded to me like a way to make dreams come to me in the day time, while I was awake. Of course day-dreaming does not go that far in to the fantasy, but it can cause you to loose touch with events that are going on around you. Maybe I had taken up day-dreaming as an escape from what I saw as an oppressive and demanding world.
To this day I still day-dream. Just before I started writing this I was doing it, the act of which lead me to write about the fact and ponder it a little more. There is just something nice about day-dreaming. About sitting there with your thoughts and just letting them come to the forefront of your mind. The relaxation can go both ways. I can calm myself down by staring at a single point or object and focusing on it. I have been doing that since I was a child as a way of escaping situations that where overwhelming to me. This happened a lot, so I did it a lot.
Then there is the other way day-dreaming can correlate with relaxation. When I am feeling relaxed and free, I often drift into a day dream state where I let my thoughts wander and go where they will. It is a great past time that I cherish and hold as part of who I am. I have been day-dreaming so much over the course of my life that I feel I have done more in my mind that I have in the real world. No idea if that is a good or bad things but it has to be at least somewhat true.
There was one time, when I was on a baseball team as a child, where we where running laps around a field. I was having a tough time that day with feeling like I was part of the team. In my mind everyone was very different than me and I always felt that they didn’t like me. So we are running and I am thinking of what I would rather be doing at that time. During the 90’s a very popular game was Sim City and I was playing it religiously. In my mind I was still there at the computer building my city. I spent the majority of the run thinking not about what I was doing, but literally building a city in my head. That, to me, was much funner than running and even though I was doing one thing physically, I was doing another, much funner thing in my mind.
The moments just before sleep are also one of my favorite times to just think. I will be lying there in bed, my wife asleep next to me, and I will just think about things for maybe an hour or so. Sometimes I will try my best to run back everything I did that day in chronological order. Seeing if I could pull up from memory each thing that I did and thought. Heard and smelled. I am often surprised at how hard it can be to think of all the things that you did in a day without feeling that I am missing large chunks of my day. Those chunks must be the parts where I was day-dreaming throughout the day!
I do think that sleep is a form of focused thought no different from the more ‘forced’ or induced focus that happens when day-dreaming. The only difference is that you have reverted back to a more true state, that of observer only. During a dream you are still consciously thinking of things, but it seems that you are just watching things play out. Without the control from your conscious thought to guide a dream, you can end up with some very strange connections and events happening in dreams.
I dream very often, I would say pretty much every night. I don’t always recall all of my dreams even if I knew that I dreamed that night. Most of the dreams that I can recall are the ones that I have just moments before I wake up. When I am in a halfway place between dreaming and sleeping. Those are the dreams that have the most impact on me. I believe that dreams are very important to understanding yourself and can reveal many things about yourself to yourself.
In the same way that dreams can tell you about yourself, day-dreaming can also reveal to you aspects of your unconscious that you otherwise would not have revealed. If you day-dream with this intention, it no longer becomes the unguided and frowned upon ‘day-dreaming’ of youth. Instead it becomes something called meditation. The conscious focus of thought on a certain object or form. If you can do this with your mind, you can discover all of the knowledge that is in this world. It truly is a very powerful tool that we all have within us.
To frown upon a child who day-dreams is wrong. Instead, that child should be fostered to develop his/her talent. For if the child can start from an early age, controlling his/her thoughts and turning day-dreaming into focus and meditation. Then a great gift of love and truth can be given to the child which. If children can discover their true-selves at an early age, or even start the journey itself at an early age; society and culture will reap the rewards in the future.
For those of us who are older, lets us try and practice day-dreaming a little every day in order that it may eventually develop into intense meditation. Anyone can do this!