Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lenten Discipline Update 5

"Our minds are always active. We analyze, reflect, daydream, or dream. There is not a moment during the day or night when we are not thinking. You might say our thinking is 'unceasing.' Sometimes we wish that we could stop thinking for a while; that would save us from many worries, guilt feelings and fears. Our ability to think is our greatest gift, but it is also the source of our greatest pain. Do we have to become victims of our unceasing thoughts?'

These words of Henri Nouwens came to mind as I became aware of the racing of my mind just a few minutes ago. A list of things going on in my mind included; I want a cigarette, the carpets needs vacuuming, I really don't like my sermon for tomorrow, I forgot to write out my work-schedule to post for next week, my oldest son is starting little league in a couple of weeks and he is going to struggle, which reminded me of how much I struggled with little league and I don't want it to be the negative experience for him that it was for me, I wish i had spent more time researching Paul for next weeks Bible study, I watched more tv than I wanted to today, I'm sick of eating chicken for dinner, I wish I could preach like Rob Bell, I really want a cigarette now...
I was spinning. I didn't even realize that I was spinning. I am grateful that my wife notices my body language and picked up right away on the fact that my mind was spinning based on my movements and facial expression. As I sit to reflect on this I notice how negative most of this is. I noticed that I'm not in the moment, and that causes me to pause and reflect on the fact without realizing it I can spin out of the sermon writing moment, spending time with the kids or my wife moment, listening to a church member during a visit moment. I don't mean to do this. I want to be present in the moment and be still in my thoughts. No wonder I forget things some times...

Nouwen goes on to say; 'Do we have to become victims of our unceasing thoughts? No, we can convert our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer by making our inner monologue into a continuing dialogue with our God who is the source of all love.'

i appreciate what nouwen doing. Instead adding to the unceasing thoughts the added thought that we shouldn't be thinking so much, which just makes us think more. Trying not to think about something just makes you think about it more. Don't think about a pink elephant. See? you can't not think of it now can you. Nouwen encourages us to use this as the material of prayer for in denying it, we actually compound the problem, but in accepting these thoughts, and using them as prayer, they actually drift away and stillness can come. Writing helps too. or blogging in this case. Can blogging be a form of prayer?

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