Thinking is as routine as breathing. Spiritual awareness awakens you to the fact that you don't have to follow your thoughts where they want to lead. Here's an excerpt from my current, still very-much-in-process writing--the follow up to my eBook. It's the first of three posts relating our thoughts to the practice of unceasing prayer, the intentional awareness of God in each moment:

My cell phone rumbles on the nightstand beside my bed. I press “snooze” and roll over hoping to give my body another five minutes of sleep. But my mind is already pulled into the day. It’s already praying—unbidden by any effort or conscious suggestion of my will. But it’s not until I’m half way through my shower, twenty minutes later, that I realize I’m praying, but it’s a very unflattering and unhelpful form of unceasing, interior prayer.

From the moment my alarm went off I’d been thinking—planning, solving, managing, worrying, dreaming. Dozens and dozens of thoughts jostling about in my brain, clamoring for my attention. Wrestling, hollering, coming and going, elbowing each other out of the way, trying to gain an audience before the Seat of my soul. One of them wanted to remind me of the tough pastoral problem I’d have to face in a few hours. Another started to list the emails I’d need to get through by late morning. Still others pulled me back to things yesterday, tomorrow, and even further down the road—things that both worried me and excited me. A memory paraded itself across the screen of my mind, and with it came an emotion reminding me of my great loneliness, the reality that my marriage was falling apart, my sense of powerlessness and failure. And then, the emotion, strong enough to hold all other thoughts at bay for a while, finally gave way to the crowd of thoughts pressing at the door. They came tumbling in like a horde of ruffians looking like they’d just broke through a castle gate. In a flash, I was back to alternating between plans for a meeting, writing emails, preparing a sermon, and wondering what I’d fix my sons and me for dinner tonight.

A re-posting from November 7, 2009