A great many ideas fly through our heads all day long: conscious thoughts, impressions or sensations from our surroundings, seemingly random connections between one thing and another, or remembrances of tasks left undone. While all these fleeting thoughts are ours in the sense that they occur within our own brains, only some, perhaps only a few, are the result of our conscious control and deliberate, intentional thought processes. Some are unwelcome distractions, nagging reminders of some unfulfilled duty that is outside our current activity but brought our of our subconscious.
Those who have sought to build the habit of personal prayer will be very familiar with the myriad distractions that enter when one deliberately purposes to seek solitutude, quiet the heart before God, and direct one's thoughts toward Him. As this babble of thoughts is such a constant process in our normal course of life, it naturally intrudes into these times of meditation as well. Often I find that i must assign the first few minutes of such time solely to the task of letting these many thoughts reverberate and then dissipate from my mind, before there is enough quietness to allow my time of prayer to proceed.
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