Thinking: The talking of the soul with itself ~ Plato
The other day my secretary and I had a conversation about the differences between men and women which culminated in her statement that "men and women just think differently". I asked her what she meant by that and her response was "when I drive to work I'm thinking about what to make for dinner, what I have waiting for me at my desk, what my daughter is doing today. My husband, when asked what he thinks about on his way to work is nothing". Needless to say that had me thinking not only about what I think about when I drive to work but about those time that I find myself thinking deeply about something.
I'm trying to be more mindful. It is something I have been working on since September as I read Mindful Leadership by Maria Gonzalez. As I drove home from school that day I realized that I do a lot of thinking in my car. My drive is about 35 minutes, mostly outside of the city with long stretches of road with no stop lights or major traffic. I've come to realize that I reflect about the recent events at school and pressing matters that consume most the majority of my day. But what is really interesting is that until I started applying some mindfulness to my drive I may have answered the same way as my secretary's husband did. Is there a difference between how men and women think? Absolutely! Does that mean that men don't think deeply? I don't think so. Maybe it's just a case of not being mindful during those times when thinking happens.
I've also found myself thinking deeply when I'm out taking pictures. Photography is an outlet for me. I love taking my camera and heading out to different spots around where I live and capturing anything that catches my eye. It's during these outings that I'm able to let go of any tension or pressing deadlines and just focus on being present. I've learned to keep my phone or a notebook with me during these times to make a record of things that pop into my head. Blog topics, different photography shoot locations, ideas for student projects and ways to improve my leadership are examples of things that I've recorded during photo shoots. However, if I think back to when I wasn't practicing mindfulness I most likely would have forgotten about those ideas that popped into my head and just went on with my day, answering the question "what do you think about on the way to work?" with "nothing".
Everyone has something that they use as a release from the stress and tension of the work day. It may even lead to thinking on a deeper level. For me being more mindful in everything I do is helping. It's a journey that I am learning lots about myself. I'd be willing to bet that if you took the time to learn about being mindful you'd find yourself thinking deeply and remembering those thoughts clearly. I'd love to hear about where you find yourself thinking deeply. Or what passions or hobbies give you those moments of reflection.