Ever drifting down the stream–
Lingering in the golden gleam–
Life, what is it but a dream?

-Lewis Carroll

WHEN our rational brains are all heated up, arguing life’s complexities, that’s usually the best time to kick off our shoes and give it a rest.

When faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, sleeping or napping on it, researchers have found, often leads to the right answer.

The notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain stream, all open the door to the the non-rational, poetic mind. They can awaken dim recollections of childhood, and even intimations of immortality:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar …

-William Wordsworth

A Dream within a Dream

Daydreamers Are Smarter

ScienceDaily (May 12, 2009), reports that “a new University of British Columbia study finds that our brains are much more active when we daydream than previously thought.”

“Mind wandering is typically associated with negative things like laziness or inattentiveness,” says lead author, Prof. Kalina Christoff, UBC Dept. of Psychology.

“But this study shows our brains are very active when we daydream – much more active than when we focus on routine tasks.”

“This is a surprising finding,” she said.

Your Unconscious at Work

“A dream led Elias Howe to beat Singer to the patent for the sewing machine,” writes Sandra Weintraub in “Cultivate Your Dreams to Find New Solutions:”

“In the dream, Howe was in a jungle surrounded by natives holding spears, with holes near their tips, Ms. Wintraub recounts.

“When he woke, he realized that putting the hole near the tip of the needle would make a working sewing machine.”

“If you’ve ever awakened in the morning and suddenly found the answer to a question you’d been pondering, perhaps your dreams worked out the problem. You may not remember dreaming, but your unconscious was actively at work while you slept.”

The Extended Mind - Rupert Sheldrake

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