Patrick just posted this, and I must re-post. I exist in this state quite often (sometimes, depending on who you ask, too often), and it’s nice to see the terrain mapped.
But I find there’s another, less volitional mental activity that occurs while cutting grass, one that seemingly lowers a hook to snag things lurking beneath the surface of consciousness. Experts would call it “the incubation effect.” Most would call it “zoning out.” I call it “the dream-drift.” The mind wanders. Stray images and unkempt thoughts slipstream in from some far away cognitive Pacific. It’s strange, uncanny, pleasant, and just a bit unnerving, a kind of letting go which, for me, takes the form of a surrender to a mental whateverism, a kind of watching, one step removed, the products of unwilled mental activity, products broken free of any establishing context. It’s a being willing, not a willing — a willingness to be open, not a willed effort to establish a goal against which to measure myself.
— — Jerry DeNuccio, The Metaphysics of Cutting Grass
For me, this state always descends in the shower. Like: I’ve been working on an assignment for Write Club. Last night I busted out of the shower and dashed straight for my computer before all the ideas scattered themselves again. Lisa came home right as I was leaving the bathroom, and I found myself naked, wet, on the floor of my bedroom with my laptop, yelling through the door, “I can’t talk right now! I have to write this down!”