SuttaCentral

What are day dreams?

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I day dream all the time. I would like to uproot this habit and let it be done with. It’s distracting and I don’t think in the greater scheme of things that it’s useful.

So in my day dreams there is greed, anger, and delusion. Examples of these would be like, ‘Oh my crypto investments made me rich, here are all the fabulous things I’m going to do,’ or ‘This person wronged me, wouldn’t it be great if I could make them care~’ or ‘this would be an awesome life maybe I should do that, what would it look like if I could solve unsolvable problems?’

There is SoOoOo much just nonsense going on here, but I’m kind of at a loss as I don’t really know what to replace it with exactly.

Should I just be repeating the Nobles Truths, The Aggregates, The Hinderances, The Fetters, The Poisons, Worldly Concerns, etc… ( Which ones are important that aren’t here?) Is that all my daydreams actually are? Should I just be dissecting these day dreams as soon as I catch them?

Am I just supposed to be like a guard at a gateway, surveying everything that arises, and making sure I identify them accurately, and not act against the percepts? Am I supposed to be doing more?

I feel like I’m few steps away from the beginning, but what am I supposed to be doing? I get so overwhelmed and that’s when the day dreams consume me. It’s like falling a sleep even though I’m wakefully walking around. I don’t like it, it’s dangerous. Will the days dreams stop eventually if I just have enough sense restraint over enough time?

Help! :sweat_smile:

These are all formations Saṅkhāra and it happens to everyone. They just come and go . The best way to deal with them is to see their arising and ceasing without getting PERSONALLY involved. By personally, I mean taking them as yours. If you learn to observe them as if from a distance, you understand their impermanence. What is impermanent is suffering. Whatever is impermanent and suffering is not-self.
With Metta

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The real dream is samsara and day dreams are the mind taking a rest from it. Mindfulness is taxing and even the Buddha-to-be experienced that. The answer is to balance the time spent exposed to conventional reality with the time for reflection needed to process it in line with the dhamma, and this involves lifestyle change (mindfulness involves memory of dhamma). This sutta is referring to insight and serenity:

“If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night… even for a day… even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.’ So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.”—-MN 19

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So what you are doing is great. If you didn’t see your daydreams, then you wouldn’t be discussing them here. Most people have no idea that this is going on in their minds. So keep up the good work. This is exactly what you need to be doing. When unwholsome mindstates arise, you just need to know them. “I know you mara” says the Buddha, and the unwholesome mindstates disintegrate just there.

So be nice and gentle with your poor mind. It’s been going through all of that by itself for such a long time. Now it has you as a friend. Don’t grapple with your mind or try to force it this way or that. That’s just adding more fuel to the fire. Just be with it and hold its hand with love and compassion. Like you would any good friend.

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I used to daydream a lot before I started meditating. I wasn’t worried about it, but it was one of the things that changed quickly after I moved into a regular meditative practice. Although it didn’t worry me at the time, I’ve been much happier in the years since that went away, in fact I’ve never thought about it much. Thank you for reminding me of one of the benefits regular meditation has brought.

Actually I happened to hear a radio program on maladaptive daydreaming. The case study they used was a student who would even miss class so that they wouldn’t have to break into a daydreaming session. It was pretty full on!! I’ve just done a quick google and this is the first result that came up:

Maladaptive Daydreaming: Scale, Symptoms, and Treatments.

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