Fallow: —adj, 1. (of land) left unseeded after being plowed and harrowed to regain fertility for a crop. 2. (of an idea, state of mind, etc) undeveloped or inactive, but potentially useful.
I got excited yesterday when I heard Meg Ryan, in her excellent interview on CBS Sunday Morning, mention the usefulness of doing nothing and allowing your mind to lie fallow for periods of time, with the purpose of generating more energy and fertility in your thought process.
I love this idea, and yet I find it to be an idea without strong acceptance in our hard-driving, demanding culture.
Because of my unfortunate recent experiences with TBI and concussion, I have had no choice but to take time to relax my brain so it can heal. But there is always a judgment from deep inside, one who feels lazy and unproductive at these times.
“Spacing out” is the best way I can think of to describe those times when my mind is simply exhausted and cannot focus on anything more. The good news? Meditation comes so easily to me now. It’s like my mind naturally relaxes and can think of nothing for a while. And even better, some of my best ideas later come from these times of allowing my mind to lie fallow, much like some who say that humanities best ideas have emerged from periods of relaxed thought.
When we daydream, we free our thinking of logical limits to allow knowledge, experiences, and ideas to essentially float freely in our mind and mingle with each other in a way that our logical mind cannot handle. Sometimes this undisciplined mingling creates that flash, that ‘aha’ moment. Aristotle had his eureka moment in a bathtub and Newton had his in an apple orchard. Where are yours?
Some call this mindfulness, others think we are really sleeping while awake. Either way, I have no choice at this point and I love the overall effects. Afterall:
Sleep is the BEST meditation. – Dalai Lama
I am filled with gratitude that I can now live like this forever. Please go learn more about our move from Fort Collins to here in my new memoir!
8 thoughts on “Allowing your mind to lie fallow…”
I like your thoughts on fallow and meditation. For me it is fallow and prayer. Prayers of thanks can be very freeing. Anne Lamotte wrote that her most used prayers are Help, Thanks and Wow. It is good to turn away from being productive in every moment and taking time in savoring peace.
I often wake from a dream filled with exciting possibilities. If I am disciplined about writing them down, I am amazed at what my almost-awake brain comes up with. Very interesting post. 🙂
LOVE ALL YOUR COMMENTS!!! Let’s hear it for taking time to relax and enjoy life as it is!
When I was a teen, I called this ‘letting my subconscious take care of’ whatever problem, memory misfile, creative snag I was experiencing. I’ve found through the years that if I don’t take this downtime, my thoughts resemble a herd of rats in endless mazes…ewww.
Love your blog–and love the part of the country you live in..
Hi Laura Lee! Good for you for recognizing that we actually are more creative and imaginative when we allow space in our thoughts. Anytime we are so busy thinking and being productive, we are often just being mechanical. I meditate every single day and journal as well. Both of them allow me to be FAR MORE creative than I would be otherwise. And I also agree that it’s nice to be more in tune with nature and my own rhythms rather that running around trying to live up to other people’s ideas of “productivity!” Enjoy your life! ~Kathy
I seem to get “Eureka” moments while walking, or, just upon wakening. I know I don’t daydream as much as I did when I was younger. I wonder if it has something to do with the Internet – something that fills up spare time too much.
This is super good advice for us all. I think it’s very true we need that rest from operating day in and out.
Thanks for sharing this eureka moment with me all! My most brilliant deductions come from taking a shower!