Normal and Non-normal consciousness

The "normal," "conscious," mind focused on a linear task is a surprisingly hard process to maintain.  One might think from an evolutionary point of view that this is what the conscious mind is all about.  But apparently linear task oriented focus is only an aspect of brain function.  During routine tasks your mind wanders most of the time, e.g., driving.  Rather than talking about day dreaming and stray thoughts and reveries interrupting this highly valued activity, it appears more accurate to say that periods of linear, conscious thought devoted to a task, problem or activity are brief episodes in the stream of mental life.  Think "robot" continually focused on a linear task without interruption, not human being.  So day dreaming, the wandering mind, periods of fantasy, these are the predominant commodities of mental life.  Of course all the authority figures in our lives beginning with our parents, then our teachers, coaches, drill instructors, and employers have wanted us to "pay attention" to the task at hand, concentrate, focus.  To be fair some of the wiser people in this category have understood our need for non-linear mental activity and encouraged it but it seems a minority opinion.  Turns out that the smart money strongly suggests that the brain networks related to day dreaming and fantasy are related to creativity and are also an alternative system for problem solution, along the line of "incubation" of problems and issues, some type of non-conscious work on these issues and then sending the solution back into consciousness in a sudden "ah-hah" awakening.  Its actually pretty interesting to reflect on these mind/brain subsystems operating outside of awareness, operating in our own interests, if "we" (who is that?) would just get out of the way.  A variation on an often heard idea is that prayer may be framing the problem or opportunity or question to insert into the non-conscious realm and meditation is confident waiting for the answer.
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