Wandering Minds

Last week I listened to an interesting presentation on “Wandering Minds” at the Mind and its Potential conference in Sydney. I was curious to know what the speaker had to say about this aspect of our natural behavior and I did learn an interesting fact.

  • 46.9% of people have minds that are wandering at any one time. (Work that one out!)  
What to make of this? Are there advantages to letting our minds wander and daydream, when so much is being made of the values of “mindfulness” – or in layman’s terms, “paying attention”? I came away with more questions than answers which is often the case and not such a bad thing in our business!

Today’s world is full of distractions. We are constantly stimulated by a bombardment of messages. We are faced with a multiple of choices at any one time and we simply are not equipped to deal with them. Making “good” choices or not, will dictate whether we have a “good life”. However, we are faced with fighting the potential addiction that distraction can become (think multi-tasking for fun rather than necessity, constantly checking email and looking for new stimuli.) The term Attention Deficit Trait has been coined for people whose daily habits have created an inability to focus for long.

Perhaps to counteract the above, “mindfulness” is being touted as the antidote to most of today’s busyness. Being totally present in the moment is very good for us. Finding activities that we become “engaged in” has positive mental benefits. Meditation is the answer to pretty much everything.   But so many people still find it challenging to meditate for a set period of time each day (30 minutes has been suggested). I rather like the idea of “five minutes of joyful resting” that one speaker was recommending. When you let all your thoughts pop up as they will – drift in, drift out – recognising that we are not our thoughts.”

I am also a great advocate for cultivating an atmosphere of creativity.  I often have my best ideas when lost in space – drifting off with the fairies. You could say, letting my mind wander. So maybe we just need to know what we need at any one time, to zoom in or to float off? But definitely not to attempt to do 5 things at once!