I read a piece in the NYT this past weekend about the attrition of creative thinking, diminished as it is by multi-tasking and the distractions (and attractions) of the various media all demanding attention.
Years ago I wrote a daily personal message commissioned by the United Church of Canada for distribution on independent radio stations in Canada (and stolen, i am told, in Australia). It was not overtly religious, in fact, not really, though I called it a spot from your Big Sponsor in the Sky. It was a 90-second thought for the day that I wrote and recorded myself. I used to take in three dozen or so thoughts and record them in the studio (in the afternoon, preferably; my producer said I gurgled before noon, after my morning swim). I called them “happy homilies” and when some of them were published (three chapbook size paperbacks), I called them Bathroom Readers. Today I would call them blogs. I developed a 90-second mind then, as I learned to develop a thought in fewer than 900 words. Early training for Tweeter’s 140 characters. I still think it’s unfair to count spaces and commas — hence the dearth of decent punctuation.
And that’s what has contributed to the shrinking of thoughts for the day. The NYT article concluded that we suffer from a lack of ‘sequestered meditation.” Yes!! Even people who are not loners by nature need some thinking time.
For those who like to swim, I can recommend what I have called for years “wet meditation”. (Sequestered is dry, swimming is wet.) Cloud-watching is good. Does that account for the popularity of window seats on planes? Ocean-watching is also good, plus the noise of the water, rushing by. I know, I know, the ship is rushing and the water is shooshing - especially at night with the door open to the balcony. I have learned to equate the noise of nearby traffic with the sound of the ocean. Did you know that noise comes from the Latin word for nausea? I don’t get seasick. I just pay attention to what is important.
And that’s what we have to do in the midst of the cacophony of daily life with its demands for our attention. Take the time to listen to your inner dialogue.