donderdag 27 juni 2013

Dream or Reality

It's been a while. To dream can be amazing but sometimes reality comes knocking on the door again. There are times we would want to, but we can't avoid reality. And we shouldn't.
It reminds me of an article I read not too long ago. The article was about daydreaming, being elsewhere with your thoughts. We, humans, have always been prone to let our thoughts wander and to dream about other places than where we are that very moment.
Kaat Schaubroeck, who wrote the article, says: "I don't know how it is with your thoughts, but mine are often somewhere else. I guess they just don't like to stay home. Sometimes I park my car at work, without a clue how I got there. Sometimes I find myself in the basement, wondering what it was I was looking for. When I'm walking my dog, my mind is galaxies away."
Half the time we're thinking about something other than what we're doing at that very moment. According to scientist Matt Killingsworth, people have the unique ability to let their mind wander to things that are not happening. It gives us the chance to learn, to make plans and to reason, but it also comes with a price. With his research he wants to show that daydreaming makes us unhappy.
This theory strokes with the popular vision of living in the "here and now". Many years ago this way of life could already be found in the teachings of Buddha. More recent its popularity has risen due to the German Eckhart Tolle, who finds a following among big names like Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey and Meg Ryan. Tolle has written a series of bestsellers. The central idea in his work states that people can only find peace of mind if they can silence their thoughts and stay in the here and now.
"Just become intensely conscious of the present moment," wrote Tolle in his book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Something can be said for this way of thinking. Living in the now makes us calmer, makes us happier, and research shows that daydreamers have a lesser memory. BUT.... just like Kaat Schaubroeck I believe that living exclusively in the now can't be all there is. it feels like a call to accept everything exactly the way it is. Simply accepting things as they are, is not something I want to do because in some cases that is a very depressing thought. It leaves no room for change, for improvement, for growth.
The world needs to evolve to exist. Dreaming allows us to picture how we want things to be. Where would we be today if the Wright brothers hadn't dreamed about being able to fly, if someone hadn't imagined standing on the moon one day? Where would literature be if we didn't allow ourselves to dream about fictional worlds, with humans and creatures that don't exist in this world? Living only in the now, not allowing our thoughts to wander, would take away our imagination, our creativity and most important our curiosity to explore the unknown.
I haven't read Tolle's work yet and most likely there is more to it than what I could make out of it in the article. But anyway, I believe that it's important to dream and to leave the present moment from time to time because it keeps us curious and keeps our imagination alive.

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