Have you ever read several pages of a book without comprehending a single word or have you ever been in a group with people discussing various things and suddenly someone asks your opinion on the subject and you have no clue what they were talking about? Have you ever come out of a lecture not remembering a single word that was said?
That feeling – is what you call “Mind Wandering”. It is the state of mind where you are lost in your own world oblivious to your surroundings. It often happens when you are in a non attentive state. People commonly experience this while driving, while listening to something that they relate to which eventually takes them back to something in the past.
Most of the time when this happens, the person does not remember what happened in real time (while they were preoccupied in their thoughts). It is an important area of research in neuroscience.
Previously mind wandering was thought of as a mindless activity and an act of laziness or daydreaming. However recent research indicates that a lot of people get some of their brightest ideas when their mind wanders. However not all of them are able to remember their ideas once they get back to stable state.
I get a lot of my ideas for my blog or my book when my mind wanders and most of the time, I do not have a notebook or computer handy to note down the points that comes to my mind. And once I am back to my present self – I almost always forget what the idea was.
Research indicates that it is however possible to remember what you were thinking – it is a talent that we need to develop not just to remember that brilliant idea that we just found but also to get back to conscious state in case of serious brain injury.
Perhaps we must develop some kind of a strategy where instead of completely going out to a different state, we should work on staying a little more self-aware, ensuring our brain is still aware of our present state.