Thursday, December 2, 2010

Your Stream of Consciousness ~

This morning, it feels as if my brain is completely drained. I know it isn't, but when I try to think about something, my brain comes back with a blank page. I seem to have drained it completely over the last month, and especially over the last three days, with the writing I did for hours every day. Thankfully, it paid off. But because I believe so thoroughly in using our brains, I want to give you an exercise that will help get your mind moving. This exercise is from Discover Your Genius: How to Think Like History's Ten Most Revolutionary Minds, a book by Michael J. Gelb. It's a very simple exercise, so take the plunge and see what you can do with it.

Michael Gelb says:


Aristotle, Plato's great student, formulated the philosophical concept of potentiality. For Aristotle the motive force in the cosmos is the tendency of everything to become what it is meant to be. Aristotle remained true to his teacher (although he disagreed on many points) by positing that all things develop true to their Form. Thus, human sperm and ovum are a potential baby and an acorn is a potential oak tree.

In early spring the great sunflower fields near Plato's birthplace in Athens seem empty. The first-time visitor sees nothing. But the farmers have already planted millions of seeds. And the farmers foresee, with the right conditions of rain, soil, and sunshine, flowing fields of giant yellow sunflowers. For the farmer, the sunflowers "exist," even before they can be seen, because he knows their potential and the necessary conditions for their full flowering.

What are the seeds within your own soul that have yet to flower fully? Shed some light on your unrealized potential by doing a ten-minute stream-of-consciousness writing exercise on one of the following topics.
  • What are the "right conditions" necessary for the full flowering of my soul?
  • What am I meant to be?
  • My true potential is...
  • My strongest undeveloped talent is...

Stream-of-consciousness writing is a marvelous tool for appreciating and nurturing your potential. You can use it to express your love of wisdom as you plumb the depths of any question you wish to explore. Stream of consciousness simply involves writing your thoughts and associations as they occur, without editing.

The secret of effective stream-of-consciousness writing is to keep your pen moving; don't lift it away from the paper or stop to correct your spelling and grammar, just write continuously.

Stream-of-consciousness writing yields lots of nonsense and redunancy, but can lead to profound insight and understanding. Don't worry if you seem to be writing gibberish; this is actually a sign that you are overriding the habitual, superficial aspects of your thought process. As you persevere, keeping your pen on th epaper and moving it continuously, you'll eventually open a window through which your intuitive intelligence will shine. Bear in mind the poet's motto: "Write drunk, revise sober."

You may wish to dedicate a special notebook just for stream-of-consciousness writing.

Dedicate a minimum time for each stream-of-consciousness session. You'll probably need at least five minutes to get your intuitive mind flowing.

Take a ten-minute break after each stream-of-consciousness session. Then go back to your notebook and read what you have written aloud. Highlight the words or phrases that speak to you most strongly. Look for theme, insights, the beginnings of poems, and more questions to explore. 


You may be a person who doesn't enjoy forcing your brain to do something it doesn't want to do, but I can tell you that it will help you have a mind that thinks better and works better when you exercise it.

I know there's lots going on with everybody, so you have to decide what's important to you and your future, and to your family. Have a good Thursday!



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