In the News (from Scientific American): “New research underlines the wisdom of being absorbed in what you do.
“The happy upshot of this study is that it suggests a wonderfully simple prescription for greater happiness: think about what you’re doing. But be warned that like any prescription, following it is very different from just knowing it’s good for you. In addition to the usual difficulties of breaking bad or unhelpful habits, your brain may also be wired to work against your attempts to stay present.
“Recent MRI scanning studies show that even when we’re quietly at rest and following instructions to think of nothing in particular, our brains settle into a conspicuous pattern of activity that corresponds to mind-wandering. This signature ‘resting’ activity is coordinated across several widespread brain areas, and is argued by many to be evidence of a brain network that is active by default. Under this view our brains climb out of the default state when we’re bombarded with input, or facing a challenging task, but tend to slide back into it once things quiet down.
“Why are our brains so intent on tuning out? One possibility is that they’re calibrated for a target level of arousal. If a task is dull and can basically be done on autopilot, the brain conjures up its own exciting alternatives and sends us off and wandering. This view is somewhat at odds with the Killingsworth and Gilbert’s findings though, since subjects wandered even on ‘engaging’ activities.
“Regardless of what prompts our brains to settle into the default mode, its tendency to do so may be the kiss of death for happiness. As the authors of the paper elegantly summarize their work: a human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.’”
My Comment: We like to be distracted only if our activity doesn’t capture us. That’s why it’s necessary to become interested in it initially. This is what Kabbalah recommends. If you don’t create a desire, you will not be able to process information thoroughly and properly, to understand anew, and thereby create a Kli (vessel) for fulfillment.