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Daydreaming makes you Unhappy — 4 Comments

  1. Is there a difference between “daydreaming” and “mind wandering?” I think there is.

    Daydreaming is fantasizing about something one wants. Wandering, however, could involve any kind of thought not directly relevant to one’s present activities or focus.

    So does daydreaming make you unhappy? I would hazard a guess that when one enters that pleasantly fuzzy state of mind, it probably does make you feel temporarily a bit happier. But, does that effect carry over when your attention returns to present reality? More studies are needed, I’m sure.

    • I guess compared to mindfulness, daydreaming and mind wandering are the same – both are opposed to mindfulness. Perhaps mind wandering is undirected, while daydreaming is directed (sasankharikham). Humans love to be unmindful – to be absorbed in something. I doubt it is happy, but is is comfortable. A comfortable old habit like a pair of worn slippers. I guess the way the test is set up, you are brought out of your hazy funk, and then judge the state of mind objectively.

  2. But I’ve read that mind wandering (whether directed or not) can be a very healthy activity. Say you’re working hard on a project, whether of scientific discovery or of artistic bent, and super-focused, but not able to make any break-throughs. So you go do something else, or just let your mind wander while doing dishes, and suddenly that “A-ha!” moment comes.

    Can’t mind wandering be another form of intelligence, non-linear, non-focused, but still productive?

    By the way, thank you for introducing me to the term “sasankharikham.” Apparently it is truly obscure, even arcane in nature. I searched Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wolfram Alpha and only one page on the entire web seems to mention it.

    • Sure – there are lots of productive ways for the mind to act – mathmatics, engineering if you are building a bridge, fantasy if you are writing fiction ….
      In terms of mindfulness though, they are all ‘wandering mind’
      Properly written – the ‘directed’ vs ‘undirected’ modes of the mind are
      sasa.nkhaarika.m and asa.nkhaarika.m which appear in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha – the main manual for study of Abhidhamma (one of the 3 sets of scripture in Buddhism)
      Greed states can be either directed or not. Delusion states are not directed (moha) and anger (dosa) states are always directed …. according to the text book anyway.