You know, don't you, how your thoughts crowd and push inside your head, almost incessantly, from the moment you rise to the moment you fall asleep. Even sleep is no vacation from the thoughts that assault and confuse and entertain. Because of this mind-parade of incessant thoughts, most of us are living a spiritual catastrophe. We float along in the flotsam of thoughts, carried somewhere, and often feeling we have very little power to escape them. One long, sleepless night is evidence enough that you're among that mass of sufferers. Or maybe you anesthetize yourself by falling asleep to the TV, or getting a little help from a drink or drug.

Truth is, you are not your thoughts. The very fact that you can think a thought, watch a thought, even exchange thoughts is proof that there's a you beyond your thoughts.

St Paul said, "Take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10.5). Paul knew that there's a you who can take your thoughts captive, who doesn't have to be a slave to the stuff parading through your brain.

How?

This kind of spiritual freedom is the fruit of the prayer of the heart--a form of prayer that can occupy you for a lifetime, but is so simply a child can practice it. The prayer of the heart is simply the practice of the steady, patient, and habitual drawing the mind down into the heart using a simple prayer like the Lord's Prayer or the words "Jesus have mercy." By repeating the prayer, reverently, mindfully, you'll find yourself resting there in your heart with the Christ who dwells within you. It can be practiced even during the busiest moments of daily life.

"The head and hands at work," the saints instruct us, "and the heart at rest in prayer."

Intention: Today, I will pause periodically throughout the day; whisper a simple prayer silently in my heart, and commune with Christ for awhile and give my mind a break from the steady stream of thoughts within.