I often become a wanderer of endless thoughts and dreams. Much like the film ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)” I also spend a great deal of my day, wandering, flying in a cloud of imagination. As I wander in an imaginative world, free of “thoughts”, unbound, with endless possibilities, I feel free. And time goes by a lot quicker than I know. I often drift into a world of wanders as a child in school. And by the time my journey in the imaginative world comes to an end, so does school. Therefore, childhood is quite dull, almost obscure for me because I spent so much time drifting through imaginations and wanders.
On the bright side, wandering in my thoughts has exposed me to new ideas. It's like hanging around in a Walmart, picking up whatever you like and making them into reality. However, most of the time, I end up following my thoughts and getting lost, without recognising them after all. For example, sometimes we know we had a dream but can’t remember what happened. It is the same with daydreaming or mind wandering.
Monet working in his boat 丨Copy with Procreate 丨Kun Lu
Mind wandering comes with two forms: the actor and the director. In the form of the actor, we are more likely to be drifting by the thoughts. Being an actor in each part of our imaginations but ending up nothing once the wandering ends. It is also effortful to stay in the actor form of wandering because we put in energy to follow the scenes and plots we build. Most importantly, we have no control over when to end the wandering. It is similar to social media platforms prompting feeds to lure people to keep browsing until they run out of energy.
On the contrary, wandering in the form of the director, we monitor the thoughts during mind wandering, putting no extra weight on each thought passing by. It allows us to be present even our minds wander, having this awareness to catch the ideas we want and put them into the "shopping bag". Furthermore, just like a director, we see things in a bigger picture, noting valuable information during the exercise and discarding those less important. It is also effortless and time-saving because we can stop whenever we have enough ideas to work on.
So wanderer, how do we stay in the form of a director? First of all, we need to be aware that we are mind wandering. I cannot emphasise enough. You have nothing to start with if you are not even aware of it. Secondly, set a timer. Like meditation, give yourself a time frame to avoid drifting away by your thoughts. Thirdly, practice, practice, practice. Try to reflect and give some feedbacks after the exercise. Also, be patient and take it easy. Learn how to get the maximum impact with the minimum effort. Finally, Let the journey to the world of our imagination with endless creativities begin.