Free-flowing streams

Stop for a moment, and think about the word PEBBLE. Do not deliberately move from one idea to another ó just let the ideas flow.

Do it now . . .

10 minutes... OK, 5 minutes for thinking

Right, I wonder if you thought of pebbles on beaches, or in river beds, or footpaths, or...? The first time I did this exercise, I made some notes. These are my thoughts

...flower beds
.....weeding
......garden tools
.......shed
........possums
.........ringtail possums
..........liquidamber trees
...........the branches of the trees are bare
............winter landscape
.............paintings
..............magazines in the 1940s
...............I must tidy up my magazines
................why? are visitors coming?

Strange? No, not at all! This is why they went through my mind. Here is my "stream of thought":

..There were a lot of pebbles in my flower beds.
..The flower beds needed weeding.
..I would have to get out the garden tools.
..The tools were in the shed.
..Bushtytail possums sleep in my shed during the day.
..There were also ringtail possums in the neighbourhood.
..They like eating the nuts in the liquidamber trees.
..It was winter, and the trees had no leaves, when I was doing this bit of thinking.
..They reminded me of trees in an English winter landscape.
..There was an artist who painted beautiful pictures of winter landscapes.
..His pictures were sometimes on the covers of magazines in the 1940s.
..My own heaps of magazines were in a mess.
..I donít need to explain the bit about tidying up!

You can see that this stream-of-consciousness thinking is not completely logical. In my case, it started with a pebble and finished with not wanting to tidy up my magazines. There is no logical connection between pebbles and magazines.

This is an easy but fascinating way of learning how to use your imagination. A bit of control is needed, because you are letting your thoughts wander and at the same time you are monitoring them. Practice makes perfect. Try it yourself, and with your friends. See what happens, for example, when you start with one of these and let your mind wander:

PEN

CUP & SAUCER

TABLE-LAMP

CHAIR

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