“The average person looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odor or fragrance, and talks without thinking.”
Leonardo da Vinci
This morning I heard a phrase that grabbed my attention: spiritual mindlessness. It was used with regard to things that hinder us from hearing God’s voice. Usually when I think about the hindrances to hearing the voice of God, not paying attention comes to mind or neglect or distracted. But mindlessness? It caught me by surprise. I wrote it down. I looked it up in the dictionary.
Mindless: boring—uninteresting because it requires little mental effort; purposeless—having no apparent purpose or rational cause; unconcerned—not careful or concerned.
Mindlessness is one of those bad habits we develop when we are too familiar with something. So here is the question. Have I become so familiar with God that I am spiritually mindless?
I don’t like this term mindlessness. It bothers me. It smacks of empty-headedness. I want to flick my cheek and sarcastically say, “Are you in there?” It tells me that I have been missing something important. It reminds me that I have a disengagement habit, a too-easily-familiar-with-God habit, an unconcerned-with-where-God-is-in-the-moment habit. I have an empty head that is filled with everything except mindfulness of God.
This is not to say that there have never been moments of mindfulness. In those moments, a remarkable thing happens. When I am mindful of God in the moment, God fills up the space and there is no room for mindlessness. Everything is full and filled. There is no room for anything else.
But when I am mindless, there is always room for something else to jump in and cram up the space. Mindlessness is never full or filled, but there is never room for mindfulness of God because when there is God mindfulness, there is no room for mindlessness.
I do not want to be so familiar with God that I am spiritually mindless. I want to be mindful of an unfamiliar God who fills me up, wakes me up, and shakes me up with mild surprises that take me deeper into the mysterious kingdom of God.
Art by Leonardo da Vinci