Stop working so hard and dream for a while



Interesting suggestion Number 1

Our brains are never asleep but always active and scanning for information. Neuroscientists are renaming what used to be known as the ‘resting state’ as the ‘default mode network’.

Sounds good doesn’t it? ‘I wasn’t asleep I was activating my default mode network’. 3000 scientific papers have been published on this topic.

Interesting suggestion Number 2

Dreams seem to play a part in sorting out our memories. Here in the West we used to think that dreaming happened when the brain was resting when we were asleep because the scientists told us that. Arnie Mindell (Process Work Institute) ex-theoretical physicist turned psychotherapist knew about this a long time ago and wrote about it in ‘Dreaming while awake’ (2000). Australian aboriginal people have known about dreamtime even longer. Neuroscience is catching up, with evidence coming from animal studies, rats again.


We even have an everyday word for it.

‘Stop daydreaming,’ we tell our students, ‘Get on with your work’.

We also know that when our mind is unoccupied with the proper serious work it should be doing it tends to slip into future-focused thinking as we daydream about next weekend or the summer holidays to come.

The scientists who would rather talk about brains than minds can see all of the chief areas of the brain involved in imagining the future firing up as part of the default mode network. This is all mapping out quite nicely.

From the BBC article1, Moshe Bar from Harvard Medical School2thinks there might be a very good reason for that. He believes daydreaming essentially creates memories of events that haven’t happened and this gives us a strange set of “prior experiences” we can draw on to help us decide how to act if the daydreams ever do come to pass.’ Bar thinks that the memories of daydreams come into play and help the people decide how to behave in a situation that seems new.


Prepare yourself.

Focus on your breathing and relax.

Suppose you intentionally brought a daydream into existence in conversation with a child who was very near to exclusion because of a big problem, their seemingly irresistable and awful behaviour.

The daydream story would be about what they are good at, what they are hoping for in the future and how things will be with the problem gone, with the solution in place and all through their own strengths and resources.

With the daydream becoming a memory, they’d know how to behave the next time by referring back to it. All they have to do is remember the story and run it again. Bad behaviour forgotten, good behaviour remembered.

Nothing coming from the outside, no punishment and push but self-motivated change.

Interesting suggestion Number 3

Seems like a dream? Pie in the sky?

Well it’s not, it’s what solution-focused folk are doing worldwide. I’ve been doing it for years and it works like a dream. The good news is you can do it too!

And relax.




2 The proactive brain: memory for predictions Moshe Bar (March 2009.DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0310)

And my Ph.D thesis here on /resources

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