What is day dreaming? Day dreaming is the act of being absorbed in a fantasy especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake. We all do day dream, sometimes purposely and at other times spontaneously. It only takes a minute for a fantasy to take our mind into its captivity. Now, the question is why are we talking about day dreaming? It is to point out the difference between our ability to day dream and reflect on Dhamma and try to realize the danger that it reveals.
What happens during day dreaming? We detach from the immediate surroundings and submerge completely in a fantasy world. Thoughts come like waves, one after the other, and take us further and further into our story. Sometimes we don’t really need to think with words, the thoughts come as pictures and have the power to affect even our body. We smile, laugh, feel energized sometimes, sigh or you may get teary or even cry if it’s a sad fantasy. Our mind supports our fantasy and takes us wherever we want to go. This whole process could take a minute or hours.
Now let us think about what happens when we try to reflect or contemplate a Dhamma factor. What happens? Does the Dhamma submerge us completely and take into Dhamma in minutes? Do the noble words of the Supreme Buddha come one after the other supporting our reflection? Can we think without words? For example if it is about impermanent nature do we see the impermanency as pictures? If it is reflection on death, do we feel the fear? If the honest answer is no, then we have identified a key fact. That is our mind does not support the act of reflecting the noble Dhamma.
Why does our mind not support Dhamma reflection? Because it is not used to reflecting Dhamma like it knows how to day dream. We are good at doing things that we have good practice in doing and things we are used to do. Our mind does not get absorbed in Dhamma like it submerges in dreams because it has not enough practice of reflecting Dhamma. The Supreme Buddha revealed that we are trapped in a journey in which a beginning cannot be seen. The number of times one is born in any of the realms is absolutely countless. In Anamathagga Vagga the supreme Buddha expounds that like it is not possible to count the grains of sands in the river of Ganges, from its beginning until it reaches the ocean, it is not possible to count the number of lives one has had. And in this long journey the chance of our mind hearing and practicing Dhamma is very small compared to wandering in fantasies. May be it is way too small to even compare.
This understanding leads to a dangerous truth, that is, whatever we are not good at has a higher chance of being reduced and finally thrown out of our life. Because we enjoy doing things we are good at doing, the things we are not good at doing gets gradually abandoned. For example if you are not good at sewing there is a higher chance of you not improving it and with time you will lose the ability to sew. Likewise, if the mind is not good at reflecting Dhamma the chance of losing the interest and ability to reflect Dhamma is high.
Therefore, we must face the ugly truth. That is, we are unable to dive deep into Dhamma like we do in day dreaming. It shows the fact that we do not have enough practice and we are not good at reflecting Dhamma. The danger there is that there is a higher chance of losing the ability to reflect the noble Dhamma.
If we can see this danger that exists in our lives and try to improve what we are not good at doing right now, one day our mind will be able to absorb the noble Dhamma, submerge into it completely, echo the words of the supreme Buddha, see the truth in everything in pictures and help us realize the noble truth.