Letting your sub-conscious do the thinking
June 2, 2006, The Gulf News carried an article entitled, ‘Seeking a solution? Sleep over it!’
Quoting various sources, (the journal, ‘Science’/’Trust Your Gut’ by Lynn Robinson/’Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking’ by Malcolm Gladwell), the article makes the point that in the decision making process, it is always useful to take a little more time to reach that decision; to ‘sleep on it’.
As the clinical psychologist, Michael Horowitz says, “We need that quieter, non-conscious process that lets us integrate different sources of content.”
It is in sleep that we let go; Shakespeare referred to sleep as, ‘balm of hurt minds, great Nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast, that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care’ (Macbeth Act 2, Scene 2) It is in sleep when ideas that may have been thought irrelevant in daylight hours, achieve a prominence that becomes significant.
Dreams weave a fabric of notions that swiftly dissolve upon waking. Acting upon problems and predicaments that have engaged the conscious mind though, this fabric, not normally accessible to our conscious mind, soon makes itself known in the furthering of steps in the decision making process.
In the act of creating, thinking through ideas for stories, for example, the sub-conscious can and will create links that were not seen or divined, even when concentration was at its peak.
That is the whole point in letting the sub-conscious do the work; relieved of the day to day routines to work on, the mind becomes free to coalesce, which allows thoughts to gel in ways that was impossible at times of heavier load, as it were.
Speaking personally, I delay action in my writing to allow myself the chance to draw upon this most imperceptible of resources; my sub-conscious mind, and it works. Sometimes, I will wake up with the ‘problem’ more clearly delineated, at others, it will dawn (a good word) upon me that the path I was taking is not the optimum one; that factors other than the ones I had considered previously were more pertinent to my finding a solution.
Assistant clinical professor at UCLA, Dr. Judith Orloff, claims in her books, that ‘because what she terms the linear mind is shut off during sleep, pure intuition takes over,’ which is a more scientific way of stating my former points about the advantages of sleeping on a problem to arrive at more creative, and for that matter, more lasting solutions to the many problems that beset each and every one of us in the course of a normal day.
Robert L. Fielding