Let’s pretend that the world really is going to end today.
Awards (Photo credit: pennstatelive)
Take a few moments from your busy day and meditate. Reflect on your life so far. Since we love to do this, make a list of your top 5-10 things you are most proud of. Then list your top 5-10 things that make you cringe.
Now it’s time to daydream. We’re going to pretend that we all wake up again tomorrow. What can you do to add to your proud list? How can you avoid the cringe list? Be as outrageous in your daydreaming as possible. Be sure to write down every idea you come up with, no matter how ludicrous it seems.
Keep daydreaming, but this time list 5-10 things you wish you would have done before the world ended. Again, don’t worry about being realistic. Go into as much detail as you’d like. Ask yourself:
- Why do I want to do this?
- What will I gain if I do this?
- Is there a way I can make this happen?
Tomorrow, when you wake up and find that the world didn’t end, look at your lists again. How can you add to your proud list? Keep from adding to your cringe list? Do the things you regret not doing?
Daydreaming and meditation are two sides of the same coin: they both encourage the mind to disconnect from your surroundings. During a daydream, your mind is free to wander as it wants. It’s encouraged to engage in this behavior. Meditation, on the other hand, is about turning inward. They both have an important role to play in promoting creativity
There are plenty of studies showing the link between daydreaming and creativity. Letting your mind wander willy nilly and getting lost in your thoughts leads to some interesting ideas. I perfected my daydreaming techniques in grade school and have been practicing ever since. Daydreaming is a big picture activity, and the sky’s the limit in where your mind goes.
My personal experience with meditation is not the same. Most of my knowledge comes from what I’ve read, so this is speculation. Meditation is an inward activity. Focus on your breath, a phrase, or an action such as walking. The goal is to concentrate on your focus. If your mind wanders, acknowledge that thought, let it go, and refocus.
So, daydreaming is focused on the large, while meditation is focused on the small. The one thing that both activities have in common may not be immediately obvious. They both require time.
Carve out time from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Leave the real world behind while you just be. This is even more important these days when our artificial connections are so ubiquitous. Turn off the electronics and turn inward. Give yourself permission to focus on the miniscule, and then let your mind wander. Learn to enjoy the quiet. Learn to embrace the focus.
Do you give yourself time to meditate or daydream? Commit to daydreaming and meditating for the next few weeks. See what happens, and let me know.