“I sit at my table and wage war on myself
It seems like it’s all, it’s all for nothing”
-R.E.M. (World Leader Pretend)
When I originally penned this I hadn’t intended on sharing it publically. I often write down things that consume my thoughts for no other reason than to put them in writing and off of my mind. The topic of “Wandering Mind” is a pensive selection from my journal. In summary, this post is best viewed as self probing psychobabble with no mystical value. What follows, I offer as prologue to the topic of mystical experience, which I hope to finally address in my next blog entry…
Wondering Why War with Wandering Will
Today was busily spent number crunching and reporting. Perhaps it’s the monotony of this type of work that sets my mind adrift so easily, but I suspect it was the lyrical melodies playing on KXT. As World Leader Pretend was played, the siren song set my mind adrift. When I was back to my senses I realized I was still progressing on the spreadsheet that had held my attention all morning. Although I hadn’t stopped entering numbers, my awareness of the act was completely suppressed. Being spirited away in a dreamlike state, my mind produced its own structure of thought seemingly contrary to my will. The results of this momentary distraction were surprisingly beneficial. It became apparent that during my wanderings, without effort, the answer to the root cause of my recent struggles with procrastination had occurred to me, even though I hadn’t spent any time thinking about the issue of procrastination this week.
Could it be that a wandering mind is not always a bad thing? What is it about that distinct state of mind that causes me to instantly shun it as counterproductive? Procrastination is just as off-putting yet it was during a state of wandering mind that I discovered a more effective way to prevent procrastination.
Upon reflection, I quickly realized that what I most despise about the state of my wandering mind is that it’s completely opposite of what I have determined to be superior. That being a self directed and focused assent in rational thought, which serves so well in the arena of business and the world at large. How could the mind, not directed by the will, be productive? Are my wandering thoughts directed by forces contrary to my will, other spirits?
To assume that the wandering mind is not driven by will is to err. I perceive the will, not active but present, is asserting itself more directly in the wandering mind than in the rational mind. The content of the wandering mind appears to be the semi-conscious musings of my own will. By slipping out of the depths of subconsciousness, suppressing the rational mind, and revealing its conclusions, the will has acted, and in a manner apparently superior to that of the rational mind.
I imagine the process of a wandering state of mind like that of a row boat gliding across water. In that brief instance between oar strokes when the boat glides effortlessly across vast depths, the process of wandering is in effect. It appears to me, usually in hindsight, that I have just traveled some distance from a place of awareness and without consent of will. In reality, the boat has motion but not of itself. The boat’s movement is caused by the force of the oars, and the oars by that of the oarsman.
However inconvenient and unruly a wandering mind may be it is innate and somewhat beneficial. I suspect that a wandering mind is somehow more closely attached to the springhead of inspiration than direct will and rationality, but can it be directed? As the song goes…
“I have been given the freedom to do as I see fit
it’s high time I’ve razed the walls that I’ve constructed”