I blame and bless Crocket Johnson's book, Harold and the Purple Crayon for distractions and delights. The story involves the title character who wants to go for a walk at night, but as there is no moon, he draws one. Then, with nowhere to walk, little Harold sketches a
path. You get the concept. My 5th-grade mind whirred with the idea that I, too, could have the power to create a world of my own simply by drawing it.
Letting your mind wander, Sandi Mann, a British psychologist, has said, “makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas.” The Dutch have a word for this concept: niksen, or the art of doing nothing.
Pascal once said, “All of humanity’s difficulties are caused by the inability to sit quietly in a room by oneself.”
In a world of non-stop notifications, alerts, beeps and buzzes; where the tv or radio has to be on; in which multi-tasking threatens to simultaneously rob us of energy and get less done... perhaps we need to schedule time to do nothing.
Recently a woman in an online chat group I sometimes contribute to posted this:
Meditation is my go-to, especially when compulsivity gets the best of me. At some point, given enough alone time, and the quiet of meditation, forces the admission that if I still feel so miserable in the midst of being so alone, I might also be the source of those feelings. This leads to the miraculous insight that given enough quiet time, my feelings will, and do, settle down.
As Amos Tversky, a pathbreaking psychologist, said, “You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”
If you are wondering why your mind wanders, perhaps you can intentionally wander in your mind and stop worrying. [To be continued on Friday.]