The Week, May 29, 2009, Health & Science section: "Daydreaming is good for you" Although "often viewed as a sign of laziness . . . [during daydreaming] there's a lot of activity in regions of gray matter dedicated to high-level thought and complex problem-solving." The article goes on to note that the average person "spends as much as a third of his or her waking hours in reverie."
Wow! Who would have thought it? But, wait a minute. What exactly is daydreaming? I'd define it as letting my thoughts drift off to a quiet ocean beach, or lake shore where I observe cloud patterns and watch the hawk making lazy circles in the sky. But if we spend as much as a third of our waking hours in reverie, then the definition of daydreaming must be much broader than that. I'm wondering if the hours I spend doing jigsaw puzzles and playing Scrabble are in fact productive hours. Wouldn't that be great?
How exciting to know that I'm using gray matter dedicated to high-level thought and complex problem-solving. Shoot, I don't think I've engaged in high-level thought for years. My thoughts, quite frankly, are trivia, and not even productive trivia. I couldn't compete in the game of Trivial Pursuit, nor do I ever have even a faint idea the answers to the baseball trivia questions that tease Bert's and Dick's minds during the Twins baseball broadcasts. No, my trivial thoughts pursue recollections of insignificant, useless events of the past connected with my daily habits and places. Of course, nothing is more trivial than that, nor more boring.
The researcher summarizes or surmises that, when you're not paying attention, for example, to the sermon in church, "your mind may be taking that time to address more important questions in your life, such as advancing your career or personal relationships." What are the theological implications of that?
But what if they're right? Maybe my boring trivial thought pursuits are more than they seem. I'll try to give that some thought, just as soon as I finish this jigsaw puzzle that I'm so close to solving. It's a picture of a sandy beach on the shore of a beautiful ocean. Really!