How Duller Life Would Be Without These Mental Surprises

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading and research into new discoveries about how the brain functions and what kinds of things people can do to optimize this functioning. Looking at my own experience, one of the things that never fails to amaze me is the way a cogent and completely unexpected idea will pop into my head, and how often these take the form of short, quotable sentences I have started calling “mindbursts.” I think we all have ideas show up all the time, but many if not most people seem to let them float by without paying attention or grabbing hold of them.

A recent one for me: “We all have further to reach, lots more to teach, and don’t spend enough time on the beach.”

I posted this on Facebook, calling it “My philosophy of RTB or Reach, Teach, Beach.”  I have no clue as to where the specific thought came from, but it seemed appropriate to grab onto and perhaps come up with a fuller explanation at some later date. I’m not saying it’s some great philosophical breakthrough, or even worth repeating or expanding. What it means to me, if I want to take the thought and apply it to my life, is that there is still lots more to accomplish in terms of work and play.

I am also sometimes guilty of losing one of these mindbursts. Just the other night, I had what seemed a brilliant idea for an article I am working on. I was lying in bed, about to go to sleep (a ripe time for creative thought–passive and active), and my phone was charging in the living room, so I would have had to get up and go fetch it to either make a text note of the idea or record it on my audio memo app. Instead, I repeated it several times, presuming I would remember it when I woke up. Whenever I wake up after one of these unrecorded thoughts has popped up, I feel like an idiot. They almost never come back to me, but I keep having faith that they will. It’s a case of my laziness triumphing over good sense. Since my mind always seems to deliver ideas on demand, I don’t do much more than momentary fretting over these lost ones. The mindbursts I enjoy the most are the somewhat enigmatic ones, the sentences that have both the quality to inform and a bit of mystery about them that requires further thinking for full interpretation. Like one of Mark Twain’s quotes I just came across: “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” At first it seems simple and to the point, but one can also see many nuances to be further explored as well. And look out, here comes one of the provocative and outrageous statements I most enjoy receiving from whatever well is dug deep within my consciousness. “We all have had all the ideas ever needed to make us a lot richer, happier, and more creative, but let too many of them go without paying attention.” Jerry


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