Some mornings, I feel wonderfully centered during my prayer. I’m focused and able to rest my heart and mind on the subject of my prayer.
Other times, my mind is all over the place – despite the fact that my usual prayer time is shortly after I wake up. At such times, it takes effort to avoid the temptation to give up, to just get up off of my prayer cushion in irritation at myself.
Thomas Merton suggests a more gentle approach. In New Seeds of Contemplation, he writes:
No matter how distracted you may be, pray by peaceful, even perhaps inarticulate, efforts to center your heart upon God, Who is present to you in spite of all that may be going through your mind. His presence does not depend on your thoughts of Him.
There is nothing in Merton’s words that, at some level, I don’t already know. Nonetheless, the reminder that God is there, no matter what is the state of my mind is a useful one. God is present, no matter what. If we can remember that, we might find it easier to simply let the chatter and distraction cease and rest our heart on that presence.