Wonders of the Default Mode Network and how we can do more by doing nothing.
For over an hour I struggled in vain to begin a story on the Rite of Passage. I had a vague idea how the story should go, but how to begin it was a challenge. Instead of just sitting there scribbling endlessly, I decided to go and clean the handrail, I was going to do some laundry, and our cloth hangers are too small for the bed sheet, so I would use the handrail to spread the bed sheet.
While cleaning the handrail, the opening scenes of my story began illuminating in my mind;
a burial procession of a title holder would be the first scene, from there I would transit to the process of finding a replacement for the title holder, and gradually my protagonist would come into view and then disappear again.
Out there in the verandah, with a wet towel in my hand, the answers I couldn’t figure out with a pen and paper were finally manifesting itself. Unconsciously I had entered a state of mind known scientifically as the Default Mode Network; when a network of interacting brain regions known to have activity highly correlated with each other and distinct from other networks in the brain.
According to the journal, “The Brain’s Default Network: Anatomy, Function, and Relevance to Disease,” the DMN is activated when a person is daydreaming and mind-wandering, or when we are thinking about other people, remembering the past, and when we are planning ahead.
Since we live in a time of hyper active and busy lifestyle, it’s actually a difficult task to get our mind in a free state where it’s not being interrupted – by us. The key therefore revolves around the practice of intentional relaxation and how to think less in order to think better.
Individually we all have our specific time of day or chores during which this awesome DMN occurs, so it’s up to us to utilize those times and chores, and by so doing increase our creativity and results.
Dr. Neel Burton in the video below discussed briefly the significance of being idle, enjoy.