January 04, 2007

Clearing your mind

You have probably used and heard the phrase "I needed to clear my mind first before I could..." as many times as I did myself. But how exactly do you do that? O, all right, it's just a metaphor, or isn't it? In any case, I clear my mind a lot. A long walk, preferably along some sort of waterline and involving wind (the force of which depending on the state of my mind) blowing through my hair usually does the trick for me.

In my own head, the mind clearing process seems to sort my thoughts. It purges dead-end-thoughts and categorizes the remaining, potentially fruitful thoughts. I usually end up with a clear idea on how to continue whatever I was doing that required a mind clearing. I guess you could call this process the human equivalent of garbage collection or even defragmentation.

This reminds me a little bit of dreaming. When you dream, your brain is sorting your experiences of that day and puts them in perspective with experiences you had before. After waking up, you usually are better capable of dealing with the experiences of the previous day.
I wonder if there is any relation between mind clearing and dreaming.

I have three young children who produce quite a mess each day of which a huge part consists of laundry. I like my environment to be in an orderly state. I become a little bit restless in a room where all sorts of things are lying around in an unorganized fashion. Don't get me wrong, I don't need my environment to be crisp and sterile. I just want it to be organized to a certain extent. So, I clean up after my kids a lot. As that happens, my mind is somehow triggered to do the same thing. During cleaning up, I often get Aha Erlebnisse (German for Eureka moments).

In our little household, I usually do the laundry as well. Of course, the washing machine and the dryer do all the work, but the laundry folding machine is not yet invented (Or is it? Please let me know where I can buy one!). So, I manually fold all laundry and order it into neat, categorized stacks. Laundry folding has become such a routine for me, that I can do it absent mindedly. I can hold a conversation while doing it, or "dream off" and clear my mind. I found that laundry folding is strangely relaxing, almost therapeutical, and it provides me with new ideas and insights. Now this really looks a lot like dreaming, doesn't it?

Could this be generic? I mean, do routine exercises (like walking a fixed route or folding and sorting laundry) generally clear the mind of the person doing the exercise? I wonder if this has been researched by someone. Let's see what the wikipedia has on mind clearing: ... nothing!

However, Google finds this article on Briangle: mentalrobics. What this article describes reminds me of meditation. That does not really surprise me since hiking is known to have meditative effects on people. I guess that completes my circle: clearing your mind is a form of meditation. There you have it.

1 comment:

Danny Habets said...

Inderdaad vergelijkbare ervaringen. Bedankt nog voor je reactie op mijn blog. Niet voor niets maakten / maken monnikenorden gebruik van "geestelijke oefeningen" (automatiseren van geroutineerde handelingen en/of gebeden) om de geest vrij te maken, open voor vulling vanuit het hogere. Mind clearing? Zeker!