Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Wandering Mind


I have always had one foot in science and one foot in spirit. Finally, at least in this instance, the two have come together. Which always makes me happy.

Researchers have determined that they can now map our brains during an "aha" moment. An article in the Wall Street Journal, (that bastion of scientific discovery), has written that findings show that our brains are actually very active during seeming inactive times. All those daydreams you have? Not bad anymore. They are actually providing more insight (a burst of mental clarity), crucial to intellect, than previously supposed. It happened to Archimedes in the the bath, Descarts while lying in bed watching flies on the ceiling, and Newton while standing in an orchard watching an apple fall from a tree. Of course insight favors a prepared mind, and in all of these instances, the minds had been honed, you might say. But we also have the ability to prepare.

Mapping brain waves is nothing new, but now researchers are able to document the brains behavior during these "aha" moments by recording brain-wave patterns and imaging neural circuits. These moments of clarity (insight) utilize different parts of the brain, including the right frontal cortex. EEG's have shown that an intense and complex series of brain states are more involved than previously thought, while daydreaming. Networks become very busy and Gamma Waves emanating from the right hemisphere of the brain flash about 1/3 of a second before the "aha" moment. "An eternity at the speed of light," stated one researcher.

Of course all of this is nothing new in the world of spirit. All the great teachers have taught how to quiet the mind through meditation, controlling the ego, going into the stillness that lies behind the mind's chatter. Evidently insight also favors a positive attitude, something we have already known to be essential to mental and spiritual health.

It is always nice when science catches up, and we can revel in the realization that science doesn't know everything. We knew it first.

"You want to quiet the noise in your head to solidify that fragile gem of an idea", says Dr. Jung-Beeman at Northwestern."

Bottom line? Be positive, work at what you love, and enjoy letting your mind wander. Take time to smell the roses. It's all in a days work.

33 comments:

Rose said...

Great Entry!

Hugs, Rose

Verily I go. said...

Positive work love roses time mind wander days. I love this post, Thank you. Not sure I want to see 'my map" ??? LOL

Sandy Foreman said...

nice submission

Brian Miller said...

great piece. i have always found my best thoughts to come in those moments when i am slightly distracted. remember reading about it somewhere as well...allowing the tension to move out of the way and you see things more clearly. enjoyed it. have a great day!

manxrunner said...

oh please please let this mean my day dreams will come true :) and now I have a good argument for day dreaming in class hehe

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Well, my mind spends more time wandering than staying put, so ... oooh, look! A bird! ... so I should be in pretty good shape for ... damn, I can't believe the Sox lost that game last night ... finding insights and decoding all the ... yay! Only two more weeks until our trip to Disney World! ... secrets of the universe.

Oh, wait, I guess there's a bit of a difference between daydreaming and having ADHD, isn't there? My bad. Oooh look! Another bird!

:)

MzzLily said...

Yes, we're not surprised, are we? That's why I love a stormy day with classical music on the box. It prepares my mind for creativity!

Joanne said...

And not a bad day's work at that! It's all within our choosing.

Professor Humperdink III said...

Hi there, just thought to say how much I liked your cool, balanced, comment on Mrsupole’s page, and, now, just having just read some of your pages, how much I’ve enjoyed reading them; I will send a link to some of my friends and family, (also ‘second halfers’).

The Good Cook said...

That explains why I can compose recipes while walking or strolling along. Thanks for the post!

TheChicGeek said...

Perfect! Now I'm going to go smell the roses and dream :D
Have a Happy Day!

Reya Mellicker said...

YES. I love this news, too, and I too love science and the spirit. I think we're not that unusual these days.

Zero degrees of Sag is not an uncommon placement of the Sun, though clearly it was for your astrologer. I would love to have a look at your chart sometime. What do you think? If you're game, will you email your birth info? reyasdottir@verizon.net.

Now I'm going to read about your brain tumor. Can't wait!

DJan said...

I have a post that started me on the same journey a while back. I read "A Stroke of Insight" and "The Brain That Changes Itself" and "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat." All of them about the brain and its abilities. My ruminations were caused by forgetting I'd read an entire book: http://djanstewart.blogspot.com/2009/04/if-when-memory-fails.html

Good post and links. Thank you!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Ahh...letting go and letting in. My Mom was always a big proponent of sitting back and smelling the roses. She'd often repeat this to me growing up and believe me...she was not scientific! Always said my creativity would come through if I would just allow the flow. Great post and so glad...ha!...the scientific world played catch up!

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

Smelling the roses is what I need to work on. I posted a blog just recently about it. I find my mind sort of... blurring itself out. I haven't been working on myself. I'm taking art classes at a little studio and going back to my regular yoga class. Daydreams are finally paying off. If corporal punishment still existed when I was in school, I'd have bruised hands from my daydreams.

Wonderful post.

Lorna said...

Positive Attitude is also the Brainstorming attitude: All ideas accepted, none thrown out. Brilliant, majority accepted ideas get included along with seemingly foolish ones with seemingly no chance of survival.

Then the ideas get winnowed down slowly.


~Lorna




~Lorna

Star said...

Yes,judging by the amount of day-dreaming I do, I should be in a particularly well developed state of health by now. Isn't it funny how you can lose half an hour when you daydream?
Blessings, Star

Natalie said...

Excellent! About time they caught up to us dreamy, spiritual geniuses. What a relief!xx♥

California Girl said...

imagine mapping my brain after I've had a couple glasses of wine. hahahaha! don't think they'd find much. It is super interesting to think tho'. Does Verily I Go have Kathy Griffin for her icon?

Marguerite said...

I'm with you on this one!! I try to take time to smell the roses each and everyday. Thanks for this great post!

ellen abbott said...

I've always given in to day dreaming. And I am lucky that my vocation is my avocation. On second thought, luck didn't really have anything to do with it. It was a choice.

Erika C. said...

Thanks for this and your other inspirational posts. Especially your recovery from a brain tumor post-or at least your mention of it in the last post.

I haven't been able to write or do my other creative work this week as I have the kids home all week before the start camp and even then, the schedule will be more unreliable.

It is a potentially tough time for my son, this transition and I have been anxious about it. It is so easy to forget (at least for me) to be positive. So it is very helpful to hear how you came from such a dark place into the light.

love,
Erika

Jo said...

I oh, I agree completely. I have some of my best "aha" moments when my mind is wandering. Sometimes my most brilliant ideas come to me when I am standing under a hot shower, just relaxing. It's very strange.

I do believe science and spirit are very closely connected.

susan said...

It's interesting to know the results of experiments done with MRI brain scans with people told to move their fingers when they got the urge. In every case the movement happened a second or two before the relevant part of the brain showed intention. We're very mysterious creatures.

Pyzahn said...

Nice post. I've been a student of life/spirit/metaphysics for many years now and I'm finally seeing a shift where science and spirit are coming together.

I agree that letting our conscious mind wander takes us to wonderful places. Quieting the mind lets inspiration bubble up. I'm working hard on going with the flow. Getting out of my own way. Letting spirit guide me.

Heck of a journey.

Lori ann said...

Yes ☺

have a lovely wednesday!

Boomka said...

This is my brain. Its like trying to conduct a 4 instrument symphony under a superhighway. God its so true. I believe in daydreaming. I believe in it. Great review/article/motivational nugget!

eag said...

Well it's confirmed what the dreamers always knew but now has the official approval stamp of science.

Verily I go. said...

Hi! I had to race over here to say that. I'm so excited. You give me such food for thinking and I so very much appreciate you.

Bogey said...

I know that I have definitely had a few short circuits in my life from not stopping to smell the Roses. When go, go, go is all you know; you have to re-learn to go slow, slow, slow!

Lilly said...

Great post and I love your last paragraph best of all. I need to follow your advice!!

Y'ra KC said...

cant agree with u more nancy...!like this post...well...actually,i love all ur posts...ur writing is very inspirational and really2 help me a lot to improve my vocabulary...:)
erm..sometimes,when i am under stressed,i just taking myself a break...letting my brain to rest...wandering and daydreaming...i think its a good way to relax...dont u think so?

Lydia said...

Now that's the kind of work I like to do!