I was standing in line at the post office the other day and noticed something interesting: Just about everyone in front of me on line was using some kind of electronic device. There were people on cell phones, people plugged into iPods, people playing video games and even watching TV shows on tiny screens.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these things, and I’ll be the first to admit that’s it’s pretty boring to stand in line at the post office. But I realized that the more we surround ourselves with these devices, the less our minds are free to wander on their own. And if we never have a random, undirected thought, we are certainly missing out on some very important experiences.
Imagine going for a walk through the park. You might smell the freshly cut grass and some bushes in bloom; hear children singing or laughing or clapping, or someone speaking with love to their dog; see the vivid colors of the natural world, the little acts of pleasure and kindness that pass between people when they are relaxed and happy. Now Imagine taking hat same walk while plugged into your iPod or talking on your cell phone. Imagine sitting on a bench in the park and playing a video game. How much would you miss?
By constantly being plugged in, not only do you miss out on the world around you, but you miss being tuned in to the world within you. Letting your mind wander opens you up to the wisdom inside of you. Your subconscious mind is busy all the time working through problems and coming up with solutions. When you unfocus your conscious mind, the answers in your subconscious float into your awareness.
Businesses are increasingly recognizing the value of this wandering way of thinking, and offer exercises and classes to help people free up their thinking so they can be more creative. It’s pretty amazing to me that people would need to take a class to do this. It’s a lot easier (and cheaper, too) to just turn off all your devices and let your mind wander.
You can do this while you’re taking a walk or cooking or waiting on line or in the shower or in an elevator. Notice what’s around you. Don’t even think about it—just notice it. Listen for the quiet voice inside you and let it have its say.
Have you been excessively plugged in? Have you been avoiding letting your mind wander? How can you free your mind? What support might you need? Be sure to share your thoughts and questions using the comment section below so we can all learn from and help each other…