Every day I ride my bike from home to office. It takes 1 hour journey. During that hour, many times I found myself somehow teleported to certain distance. It is not magic, I simply lost in thought when that happened. I am so absorbed in my own thought that I am clueless to my surrounding, although my autopilot will guide me safely during that teleportation.

that is only an example of many activities where my autopilot kicked in.

Problem is, I feel that it is a mistake to be lost in thought. I feel it is not supposed to happen. I feel I supposed to being in present moment. So to counter it, I try to being aware of my body movement, such as opening/closing gas, shifting up/down gear. I recite the word in my mind when the body move. After doing so, I came to realization that my body movement/reaction is faster that my mind.

the questions are:

  • Is it really a mistake to be lost in thought?
  • Is my way of countering have bad effect?

6 Answers 6


Being mindful.....

It is not only OK to be aware it is essentially something that Lord Buddha asked all Buddhists to do as long as they stay awake. But Buddhist version of "Mindfulness (Sathi)" is a bit more deep, it includes being aware of the mind as well.

We as Buddhists believe that not being aware or not being "Mindful" is the very source of all bad thoughts,actions & words that we choose to exercise.

Even though it is a very famous Word a lot of people do not know that Mindfulness was invented By Lord Buddha.

This is the Buddhist teaching on awareness....

Meditation of Postures full Awareness

Is it bad to have control over wandering mind?

No, Because the mind is in nature wander among memories,imaginations,hopes,desires,thoughts & etc. This is why people are almost always lost in their own worlds. The bad side of this is that being lost like this can cause a lot of trouble.

A mind is by nature very exposed & vulnerable to bad things and as we are not aware of our own emotions and thoughts we often find ourselves in the wrong side of black and white. This is caused by not being mindful.

What you should take from all of this is that you have stumbled apon a good practice and you should develop it further move from "Being aware of the body" to Being aware of the mind.

Here are some links....

Mindfulness of breathing.

four foundations of mindfulness

clear comprehension direct understanding

Satipatthana Sutta - Full teaching on Mindfulness

May triple gems bless you!


Is it really a mistake to be lost in thought?

When Satti is absent you create fabrications hence future misery. Therefore, it is a "mistake" to be lost in thought.

Is my way of countering have bad effect?

You are doing Kayanupassana hence this is one of the solution is being mindful, i.e., mindfulness of the body. In addition be mindful of the bodily sensation when moving like the fabrics touching your body, the wind sweeping over your skin, etc. Also look at muscular pains and pain and pleasure in changing postures.

Ultimately what you have to work with is to realise 4 Noble Truths and Dependent Origination this you can realise through any experience you perceive as good, bad and neutral and this leads to sensation which are pleasant, unpleasant and neutral and even the pleasant and neutral are unsatisfactory due to 3 Characteristics while unpleasant is unsatisfactory on its own and neutral opens us for further existence and it can still give unpleasantness in the future.


I think you're supposed to stay aware instead of daydreaming when you're driving.

Try moving your eyes repeatedly to look at different things: ahead, behind, the traffic lights, the other cars, pedestrians on this or that side who might be about to step into the road, etc.

Also breath enough to stay alert.

And think about what someone might do unexpectedly, don't assume they've seen you until they prove it.

I think it's OK to react to changing road and bike conditions without too much conscious thought, but in order to react (even to react automatically) you need to retain awareness of what's happening around you, you need to have seen it, you need to have been paying attention.

When there's an accident it's usually someone else's fault (e.g. a car turning into your right of way because they weren't paying attention and stupidly didn't notice you), but even though it's their fault there's often something you could/should have done to avoid it. For example a common type of motorbike accident is where you come up to a green light, ride through the intersection, and a car coming in the other direction turns across your path (so it's the car's fault), but the motorcycle doesn't even brake before hitting the car (so apparently the rider wasn't paying much attention either).

Also it's not just about you. When I'm on a bicycle I'm fairly harmless and I'm looking out for my own safety; when I'm driving a car I'm fairly well protected but conscious that unless I'm always careful I could really hurt someone else, and that it's my responsibility to never drive where I'm not looking.

  • my autopilot is so good that I am never in accident during that mode. the funny thing is, I believe my autopilot also doing things you describe automatically without me being aware of it. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 3:01

Your body and mind recognizes that the path you take to work is easy, therefore you feel relaxed mentally and physically. Try taking different paths that you have never taken before. This process will make your mind more cautious of your surroundings and paths because everything is new.


I think this is fairly common to those people who are observing where they are or what they are thinking. The presence gets better over time.

So, the idea is to not get stuck in the moment when you got lost. Don't judge. Keep going to this moment or the NOW :)


You're still in the present moment because you can't not be. The daydream happens in the present moment. The issue is one of habitual retreating from the world out of sheer boredom. Just develop the habit of looking from the perspective of pure awareness without getting bogged down by the mind. It's really simple but you have to stick with it over many years. The boredom shifts because once you start REALLY looking then you realise that the real boredom is when you retreat into your mind rather than merely sticking with what you've got. Eventually you can retreat into the mind but the awareness stays open such that you can decide whether you want to or not.

  • you got the issue right to the point. It is boring when driving, naturally my conscious mind will drift to other 'more exciting' world while letting my subconscious mind handle the boring job. Although in budhism & real world this daydreaming habit considered as a mistake or bad, I myself still wonder why it is a mistake. Even fabrication can be viewed as real if we consider it from another angle. I mean we also learn something from fabrication as well. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 14:37
  • It is the issue of host vs guest. Normally the thinking mind is the host and awareness is the guest. We want to flip that. This is "turning the light around to shine on the source". You don't have to stop daydreaming per se, but it happens on its own accord as you follow this process.
    – Cameron
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 2:09

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