Letting Our Minds Wander

by johnandterri

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Some of the pilgrims that walk the Camino are doing it because they are searching for answers. They might have recently lost a loved one and are grieving. They might have lost their job or have recently gone through a divorce. The Camino often is used as therapy for those pilgrims. I suspect that in many cases it delivers the answers they are seeking.

I remember overhearing a woman during one of our mid morning breaks at a cafe/bar talking to her friend about how amazed she was in coming to a solution with some situation she was facing back at home. She wondered aloud why she never thought of it before. It seemed the solution was right in front of her but she never saw it.

I am reading a book about learning. It provides techniques that you can use to help you be more effective and efficient in learning based on the science of how the brain works. The book describes two types of brain networks that our brains switch between, highly attentive state and the  resting state networks. They are also called focused mode and diffuse mode. You are in either one mode or the other, but not consciously in both at the same time. Both modes are highly important for learning.

The diffuse mode is interesting. The diffuse mode is what happens when we relax our attention and let our minds wander. It is in this mode that we often suddenly gain a new insight on a problem. That is why I suspect that walking the Camino is so important for those pilgrims that are searching for answers. There is a lot of time for letting our mind wander as we walk all day long for weeks. The Camino puts people in the state of mind to help them find some answers.

This is a good Camino lesson for us all. We must remember that when we are facing a tough problem or situation we need to remember how our brain works. It needs to have some time to work on the problem in the background. There is real value in going for that walk in the park and letting our mind wander!

Happy New Year!

John and Terri