To Be Alone with Your Thoughts

To be alone with your thoughts is at once a state of great freedom and insidious terror.

The imagination is an entity of creativity, of wonder and what-ifs, of potentials and possibilities. The mind is an entity of knowledge, of fact and logic and practicality. I envision the imagination like a mist surrounding the mind. Sometimes it serves as a cloud, lifting the mind up to new heights. Sometimes it becomes a fog so thick that the mind disappears entirely.

When presented with real solitude, the imagination runs wild. Little effort is required to push it out the door and into a world of endless thoughts and ideas. The imagination takes the mind by the hand and whisks it away like leaves on a blustery day. Or a sign in a hurricane.

Where the two wind up, however, is not so easily guaranteed.

My imagination often leads me to places of inspiration and optimism, but just as frequently to places of fear and despair. It collects all the loose thoughts floating around in my head and synthesizes new creatures, some delightful and some frightening. It creates scenarios, dozens of hypotheticals, none of which may be true, but all of which seem absolute. And because this alchemy takes place only within the confines of my mind, while I lie idle on the couch, there is no escaping it. There is nowhere to run. There is only wondering and waiting.

Our minds are the one thing over which we have complete control, and yet they often seem to be the most difficult thing to control.

For this conundrum, I have no solution... other than practice. We must not fear our imaginations or the places they may take us. Rather, we must remember that these destinations—for the moment—exist only in our minds.

We may not be able to control the possible futures our imaginations present to us. But we can still choose to act—to get off the couch—and determine whether these visions become reality.