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Daydreaming - a fresh look at ‘thinking outside the box'


Waiting in a café to be served, I catch sight of a pleasant shade of aqua on a wall; immediate tactile sensations of a warm breeze caress my skin, I smell the clean tang of the sea, and recall memories of a trip to Sardinia long ago. Colours and light have always had an intense effect on me, with rainbows being something that I have a sixth sense about. When there is one to be seen I get a feeling that it’s out there even if I’m indoors. I associate this to being a daydreamer. What it actually means is, that, no matter what I am doing or where I happen to be, I remain open to the input from my senses connecting me to the larger picture of the wholeness of who I am. This often brings to me memories of experiences I’ve had, frequently expanding the things I might be focusing on. In other words, rather than just ‘stopping to smell the roses’, I allow even a subtle fragrance of roses to break through the boundaries of my mind and let it enter into whatever task I might be involved in, whereupon it invariably enhances it.

This sort of mind meandering has been termed as ‘thinking outside the box’, or ‘getting out of one’s own way’, yet it is not usually linked to daydreaming. In our mainstream society, a hierarchical society that’s still greatly focused on achieving control and conformity, this kind of experience is not common since daydreaming is mostly given negative connotations - ‘slacking off’ or ‘not paying attention’. In this case paying attention is taken to mean focusing on only the specific task at hand, but this focusing becomes fixating. Even though creativity appears to be a widely sought-after quality with desirable outcomes, it does not take much delving to realise that this is only ‘lip service’. Creativity cannot thrive where there is control and conformity because, quite simply, control and conformity stifle new ideas before they even have a chance to proffer their delicate new colours to the light.

Daydreaming can invariably allow you to pay attention in a much more holistic way. It can reconnect you to the way you used to learn as a child - a playful and non-judgemental way where any ‘mistakes’ were powerful learning aids. Daydreaming can open you to creative approaches leading to innovative solutions. More importantly, by nurturing your creativity daydreaming can lead to a deep sense of satisfaction and contentment. In navigating through a world that’s still deeply attached to the literal meaning of everything, even though you are a whole unique being whose dimensions include the spiritual and emotional as well as the physical and intellectual, it becomes extremely important to enable yourself to nurture and express your creativity - here daydreaming can help greatly.

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