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Don't Think - Concentrate

 
I was talking with a friend of mine recently who is in the music business and he told me the story of one of the members of the band Santana.  So the story goes he was asked about the thought process that he applied when he was writing.  
 
Slightly surprised the composer said " I don't think when I'm writing"  Puzzled, the interviewer replied, "Then if you don't think, what do you do?"  his answer was profound: "I concentrate".
 
As an author and a speaker I knew exactly what he meant.  The best material that I write comes from a flow of inner-consciousness it's what I call "Out of their-bellies communication.  Its flow rather than form.  
 
I got to thinking about this and realised how crucial a point this is for making progress in the Spirit and was put in mind of the story of Mary & Martha.  
 
I've read the story a thousand times and always seen and taught it as a metaphor for law and grace.  And whilst I think that's a good application it hit me that the an alternative application might just be about life in the spirit and life in the flesh.  
 
To me the text seemed to say that people who live at the level of the flesh spend their lives THINKING which is why they're so distracted (and distracting) but people of the spirit CONCENTRATE.   
 
As Thomas A Kempis said: “A man is hindered and distracted in proportion as he draws outward things to himself.” The problem with being distracted is that you don't accomplish anything and like Martha end up anxious and troubled; not to mention deeply dissatisfied with the meagre return for your efforts.   
 
In the business world we hear a lot about focus.  
The management bookshelves in the bookstores are awash with books containing helpful tips, tactics and tools to help us avoid distractions and stay focussed.   For most us us just learning to keep the all invasive Crackberry Fixes to a minim by only checking our messages at an appointed time not when dictated to by the text or FB alert would go a long way.   It's been said that  "Concentration is the factor that causes the great discrepancy between men and the results they achieve... the difference in their power of calling together all the rays of their ability and concentrating on one point"
 
The thing that I really wanted to just draw your attention to though was that I sense that many of us are being distracted by "The shouts of the world" we need to learn to concentrate and set our minds of the things that are above.  How many times have you been blown off course or had your focus because you started to think about something.  The most vivid example in my life is when I'm typing.  I type reasonably fast.  Not as fast as my wife who types faster than the speed of light.  Now  don't give typing a second thought - not that is unless my wife is in my office looking over my shoulder and whenever she watches me type I'm plunged into a sea of self-consciousness.   From that moment on I start thinking about typing and, well what can I tell you, I can't type a word  It's like I'm wearing boxing gloves.   
 
That day when Jesus came to lunch it seemed that poor Martha was plunged into an ocean of self-consciousness and thus she missed the moment.  Mary on the other hand chose the one thing and that one thing would in no ways be taken from her.   What I wonder is the one thing that you need to concentrate on right now - don't let yourself be distracted as Martina Navratilova put it :  I just try to concentrate on concentrating.   So let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
 
However,  “If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.”
 

 

 
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