Do you think about it or just do it?

  • Did I brush my teeth already? It’s time for bed and I can’t remember.
  • Between the time Jeff prays for dinner and the time we fix our plates, Jenna will often say, “Did we pray already?”
  • I instinctively turn left as if I’m going to LCA when I mean to go straight through the light to Sandy’s house.


It’s doing things without really thinking. Can you relate?

Repetition is one cause of mindlessness. Others include:

  • Premature cognitive commitment—you believe eating cows for dinner is fine but you’d never even consider eating dogs
  • Belief in limited resources—you don’t think you know enough Bible yet so you don’t mention Jesus to your friend
  • The notion of linear time—you’ve heard it takes 6 weeks to heal from your surgery so it takes you 6 weeks
  • Education for outcome—you study enough to make an A for the test but don’t remember the material the next day
  • Influence of context—you automatically speak quieter because you’re in a hospital

I don’t mind being mindless about some things—I want to exercise because it’s Monday morning without having to think about it—but I don’t want to mindlessly kiss my husband good-night.

Or forget what I just read in my daily Bible reading five minutes after I finish. Mindfulness

Or miss out on a new adventure just because I’ve never considered doing life any differently.

I want to think about what I’m doing so I can intentionally honor God in purpose and awareness.

So as I pray for a stretched mind and soul, I’m reading Mindfulness by Ellen Langer with Laura Boggess’ book club at The High Calling.

And re-reading The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence on my own.

I’d love your company and thoughts if you’d like to read along!The-Practice-of-the-Presence-of-God

* * *

Do you ever do something without even thinking about it?

(I can eat a dozen fritos from an open bag before I even start lunch, without even realizing it.)

Read discussion on Chapters 1-3


Dianna said...

Lisa, I always enjoy the time I spend here with you, whether I leave a comment or not. But there was one sentence that struck me today..."the notion of linear time-you've heard it takes 6 weeks to heal from your surgery so it takes you 6 weeks". I think it caught my attention because of my own very recent injuries. I fell on July 14 and broke my left femur and right wrist. During my 14 day stay in rehab (after 6 days in the hospital), the physical therapist I had kept telling me that regardless of how hard I worked it was still going to take 6-8 weeks for my bones to begin healing...I couldn't do anything to change that. I love challenges...and trust me, I had plenty after having two major surgeries on opposite sides of my body. HOWEVER, God is so AWESOME. By about day 7 in rehab they were beginning to run out of challenges for me. ;-) I saw the surgeon again last Monday and he released me a FULL MONTH early! that word!

Lisa notes... said...

It’s always good to hear from you.

Thanks for sharing the example of your healing. Yes! How wonderful that you took on the challenge and that God stepped in to disrupt the “expected” timeline of healing.

I wonder how many times I miss God because I am expecting—and thus only seeing—the status quo.

Congratulations on being released a month early!

Laura said...

I"m so excited to have you along on this journey! I am finding Langer's book very interesting...I think you are right--in your comment over at THC--even though she says there are not prescriptions, I"m already noticing changes in my thinking. Opening my mind a little wider...

Blue Cotton Memory said...

I remember when I was little, going to Catholic school and Mass Sundays and one day during school. I kept hearing over the years, people dissing the repetition of the Mass (which is scripture filled - a great way to memorize)(which is so similiar to the Jewish worship) - and I remember wanting to be honest, wanting to be real and making myself concentrate on the words, those repetitive words of God, even in 3rd, 4th, 5th+ grades.

Even today - I try to catch myself, to close my eyes and absorb not just the words but the definition, the meaning.

I so love that you address this!

BTW - there are so many other areas that I go on cruise control - that, like you, sometimes I end up some other place than where I'm supposed to be!

Love Bears All Things said...

Yes, like going back for seconds at mealtime just because it tastes so good...when I'm trying to lose weight....
But I know what you mean about not remembering what you read...sometimes my mind wanders to other things....
And the one about the car....I can so relate to that one.
Have a blessed week,
Mama Bear

Holly Walker said...

This was so good! Definitely something I'll mentally "chew on" today... (And mindfully so! ;-)

Barbara H. said...

There are times I've had to check to see if the toothbrush was wet to make sure I brushed my teeth. :-) And times I mean to go one way but forget because I'm on automatic pilot and used to going another way. There are some things it's nice that we can do automatically while our minds ponder something else, but other things where we really need to be "all there."

Glynn said...

We all have bouts of mindlessness. One factor is the sheer busy-ness of contemporary life, trying to get so much done in too short a time.

What I also liked about Langer's book was her discussion of expertise -- how being an expert can actually blind you to reality.

Good post, Lisa.

Southern Gal said...

To be fully in every moment would be such a change of pace for me. Thank you for the reminder.

Beverley said...

At the moment i am so grateful for being able to teach an adult gospel doctrine class based on the New Testament. My favorite reading from last week was Romans 11:17-22. I may only be grafted into the house of Israel but i am just as responsible as they are for keeping God's laws.


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