Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dreaming.....................


Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?
Alfred Lord Tennyson

...was taking a walk, trying to figure out why I’m writing so little, lately...but mostly got lost in daydreams, as I have quite a lot, of late...which, I thought, might be exactly why I’m writing so little...


Dreams are like paper. They tear so easily...
Gilda Radner

...to really get down to it, there’s probably very little I’ve spent more of my life doing than daydreaming...if usually while also doing something else...find it’s difficult, otherwise...even if it’s easier than just about anything else....told somebody a few days ago that walking is my absolute favorite thing to do...and biking’s high on the list, as well...but both, really, along with kayaking, cross-country skiing, or driving on open road, are, more than anything, highly effective vehicles for daydreams...all involving simple motions...allowing lots of space to let the mind roam...


Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.
John Lennon

...daydreaming, as such, could be seen as the opposite of mindfulness...but, then, it also might be essential for creativity...

...art, maybe, is what happens when you’re mindful about your daydreaming...





*my latest at Elephant Journal: Dharma Cats*

23 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

that last statement needs to become a Revered Yoga Cynics Sutra.

"art,..., is what happens when you're mindful about daydreaming..."

(no maybe about it :) ).

Bungle Jerry said...

I'm inclined to think of daydreaming as a luxury - a rare indulgence, perhaps. Maybe not necessary for day-to-day life, but something everyone needs to experience at least every now and then.

earthtoholly said...

Hi there fellow daydreamer. It may be the only thing I'm really good at, though I'm also an excellent dreamer, but that's a whole other thing.

I, too, find biking a perfect activity for my wandering mind, when I'm not being mindful of my sore derriere, that is (still haven't gotten in enough miles to remedy that yet). The Lucy walks and the 10-hour train rides to see family also make way for a lot of dream time, which I really like. I brought back my old report cards from my last trip, and it seems that I've always put daydreaming first...lots of teacher comments about me not paying attention in class...I've always found it hard to keep my mind on the business at hand.

I like your photo there, drjay, but am a little spooked. Like the Lennon quote says, it leaves a lot to the imagination. Looks like a place that coulda been used to lock up folks...bad folks.

Lydia said...

Lately I have become a midnight weeder. When I take the dogs out individually for their last call I have a small flashlight. One night about two weeks ago I thought that as long as they were taking their sweet time in the great night air I might as well do something useful and pull some weeds. It has become a rather Zen-like daydreaming space of time for me, frequently with the dog standing by my side bored as hell while I pull. It might be my imagination but I think the weeds come out of the ground more easily in the nighttime.

the walking man said...

I am going to take my comment from the title of your May 9th post.

Bob Weisenberg said...

This is me all the way. One of the reasons I enjoy driving long distances is that it allows me to daydream to my heart's content. My 3 kids all went to college in NYC and I was fond of driving 15 hours straight to go visit them. In fact, this is what led to my interest in meditation and eventually Yoga, as I described in this comment on another blog awhile back:

Driving is what introduced me to extended meditation. I used to love driving to NYC from Milwaukee in one day. I found my mind going to places it never went otherwise. I started to just sit and see what my mind would do if I just watched it. Then I tried to see where I could take it if I tried to gently guide it. Etc.

Eventually I realized I had happened upon advanced meditation. I started to read stuff, and that eventually led me to Yoga.

On a short drive in the city one can't let one's mind wander so much without being dangerous. But I still find it quite easy to plug into a delicious meditative state while driving anywhere. Often it's just what I call "task meditaion", which is full concentration on the process and sensation of driving itself--total relaxed focus on the task itself. This not only makes for extremely safe driving, but effortlessly puts me in a wonderful state of mind as well.


Now you might ask, Isn't focused meditation the opposite of daydreaming? The answer is for me is no, they are closely related.

First of all, I consider daydreaming itself to be a type of meditation, even though that's a little unorthodox. But I think any paying attention to what's going on inside your mind to be a type of meditation.

But beyond that there is the less obvious but powerful impact that highly focused meditation has on our daydreaming. When I do more standard single-pointed meditation for awhile it clears out my brain so that I have different daydreams than I would have otherwise.

This is similar to the effect of Yogic sense withdrawal. If you close your eyes for a few moments, then open them, all the colors and shapes you see are more vivid.

In the same way, the single pointed concentration of the Yoga Sutra makes my daydreams more vivid.

Bob Weisenberg
ElephantJournal.com

Bossy Betty said...

I am with Earth To Holly! Baking is so relaxing AND inspiring!

Daydreaming is wonderful and often discouraged by our society, but I think it is our mind's way of telling us something.

Tiffany @ Moving Meditation said...

As I was reading your post, I thought about how I also daydream often, and how I feel like daydreaming is essential for me to be creative, and then I thought about how that might or might not fit into the concept of mindfulness, and then...I got to the end of your post. I agree wholeheartedly, but I could never have said it so eloquently.

Kim said...

I've often found that when you're *doing* (or in your case, daydreaming), it's harder to put things into words.

Elize said...

I love your last statement!! I've been thinking a lot about the creative process recently... I'm working on a new dance project that involves elements I've never worked with before, and as I try to find my method for working with this new material, I'm discovering I have to get into a zone where I'm consciously allowing (and witnessing) my mind wander...

gorgeous. thanks!!

RB said...

I too am a huge walker and daydreamer. I think that daydreaming while walking can actually be a form of mindfulness, because you exist entirely in your own moment; sensory experience. And there are people who advocate walking meditations.

human being said...

without daydreaming i'm dead!

it's when the soul/mind/consciousness/unconsciousness/the real me/whatever... who is not trapped in the prison of reality speaks of her journeys through the cosmos...

and seems my soul is a permanent traveller...

i relate...
:)


reality and all its offsprings inhibit the soul's free talking and writing...

Chrissy said...

I love the photo and the blue version is incredible. I much prefer daydreaming to night dreaming, more control and much more fun, sometimes it is much more productive for problem solving than thinking about the problem ;-)
"...art, maybe, is what happens when you’re mindful about your daydreaming..." I like this :)

patti said...

I am an artist and love your last line.

When I want to get into my creative zone, I go fishing. I drop my line into the ether, gaze into the distance, or maybe close my eyes, and wait to see what I catch. There's always something excellent out there, yet I always look as though I'm doing nothing, wasting time. Now I know that I am being mindful.

Karin Bartimole said...

This post really resonates with me Dr Jay - my most recent painting seems to reflect a bit of what you are saying, in my mind's eye. I've been experiencing a dream like state that moves me through both my waking and (rare) sleeping states leaving me feeling unsure of which state I am in, at times. So I question - is there a difference? are any dream states, day or night, separate from the so called waking state? While slipping and shifting into and out of varied states of consciousness. Yes, I believe good art does evolve out of mindful day dreaming, meditations, inward wanderings...
Your photos are all beautiful - the image definitely leads my imagination into a wandering day dream.
Words are here, and will flow again.

Brooks Hall said...

I like the way the first two photos look like they are of stairs to a door into a landscape, and I'm trying to make it mean something like: Daydreams keep us separated from the house, or earthly place for ourselves... In other words, as lovely and beautiful as daydreams are: by themselves they are impotent. action is key, such as walking up those stairs and opening that door and actually walking through it can make the world more real: in the third photo we can see more clearly that the door actually goes into a perhaps peculiar space...

nothingprofound said...

Great post! Love the casual, easy style, yet bursting with insight and intelligence. Daydreaming, walking, writing-really it's all the same. It's just life.

It's A Yoga Thang said...

I believe that this: ...art, maybe, is what happens when you’re mindful about your daydreaming...

is a true story. OX

Lana Gramlich said...

I used to do a lot of art on pure daydreaming--no mindfulness involved. I'd barely even take notice of some of it, but certain images would just WHAM me in the 3rd eye like a cast iron frying pan. I should try that again, sometimes. It was a fruitful process.

Melinda said...

Jay, as you know, I've been working on my book. Interesting that dreams are one of the centerpieces of your post because I have been recalling how my escape into fantasy was one of the things that made my life bearable when I was young. Of course, I later found drugs, which were FAR more effective :-).

I still get lost in daydreams some times. But I do think they are more mindful than they used to be. At least, my dreams inspire me to do something more productive, often.

Great post--and lovely picture, my friend!

Melinda

Bird said...

I love monotonous, boring work with no responsiblity, mainly for the fact that it encourages daydreaming and other fruitful things. I have had jobs as a leafletter and an envelope stuffer - both are utterly mindless, methodical and quite rhythmic, you can get hypnotised by crap menial work and have some great ideas - you might be earning pennies, but they are paying you to daydream! I have no idea why such jobs are looked down upon :)

I also find the methodical rhythmic nature of knitting, especially if you are knitting something boring like a plain scarf, has the same effect - really lets the imagination roam.

Of purely physical things, swimming and running really help get my brain to wander where it will.

Grace said...

"...daydreaming, as such, could be seen as the opposite of mindfulness...but, then, it also might be essential for creativity...

...art, maybe, is what happens when you’re mindful about your daydreaming..."

Love those words. As usual you've summed up so many of my feelings in beautiful, wistful language.
With food in our bellies and a roof over our heads, I guess we should count ourselves lucky that we have the time and freedom to daydream . . . and then worry that perhaps we're daydreaming too much!

Bob Weisenberg said...

I love that passage, too, Grace.

Did you know that the various states of consciousness between waking and dreamless sleep are one of the favorite preoccupations of the ancient Yoga sages who wrote the Upanishads? Consider this passage:

The human being has two states of consciousness: one in this world, the other in the next. But there is a third state between them, not unlike the world of dreams, in which we are aware of both worlds, with their joys and sorrows.

In that third state of consciousness there are no chariots, no horses drawing them or roads on which to travel, he makes up his own chariots, horses, and roads. In that state there are no lotus ponds, no lakes, no rivers, but he makes up his own lotus ponds, lakes and rivers. It is he who makes up all these from the impressions of his past or waking life.

As a great fish swims between the banks of a river as it likes, so does the shining Self move between the states of dreaming and waking.

As an eagle, weary after soaring in the sky, folds its wings and flies down to rest in its nest, so does the shining Self enter the state of dreamless sleep, where one is freed from all desires.


--Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, translated by Eknath Easwaran

See why I'm always telling people (like a broken record) that the Yoga Sutra is incomplete without the Gita and the Upanishads? The Upanishads are chock-full of spiritual poetic rhapsodies like this.

Bob Weisenberg
YogaDemystified.com