Illustration Friday - Helpful Daydreams
We all daydream, perhaps spending one-third to one-half our waking hours moving in and out of a series of short waking dreams that usually last only a few minutes. Yet in a world so focused on productivity and achievement, slipping into that fuzzy place between the conscious and subconscious mind is often perceived as a self indulgent waste of time. Universal as it is, we hide our moments of diurnal reverie, like some naughty pleasure, from employers, teachers, friends, and family lest they think we're slacking off, not paying attention, or avoiding reality. Daydreaming has certainly been given a bad rap, but in fact, its benefits far outweigh any of its negative aspects.
Henry David Thoreau once said that "our truest life is when we are in dreams awake," suggesting that there is much to be gained from allowing ourselves to follow our muses into the land of imagination and possibility. Sigmund Freud studied the benefits of daydreams, and contemporary research also indicates that daydreaming helps individuals in a variety of ways, from managing conflict to boosting productivity and creativity.
Daydreaming is a practice that has served humankind well since ancient times. In the third century BC, the great mathematician Archimedes solved the mystery of the gold crown , which King Heiro II of Syracuse believed was tainted with another metal, by daydreaming in his bath. And although many of us believe that creative daydreaming is the exclusive domain of famous inventors and artists, it has begun to regain its status as a problem solving and creative tool in the workplace where guided imagery and daydreaming are used, with much success, to generate fresh, innovative ideas.
I know that most of my best ideas come when I let my mind wander. It's like the walls come down, allowing words and images to flow through my head where I can capture them like slippery fish in my net of consciousness. I dream of paintings, places, conversations, the past and the future, problems and solutions... really anything that wants to rise to the surface... and so many of these little dreams find their way into the things of which I am most proud.
How have your daydreams helped you? I'd love to know!