busy brain, two-minute rule, and prayer

On this proper Monday morning, I check the time before I need to leave for the gym. There’s time to copy my portion (3 Bible verses) and pray my daily prayers.

Oh, and I’ll need a water-bottle at the gym. Oh, the towel draped over the dining chair is dry; it and the others need to be folded. They need to be put in the cupboard. I keep meaning to grab my briefcase from the hall-closet; I’ll need it after I settle in to my grad-student carrel.

How much time is left?


In my newly-compressed life, the Getting Things Done two-minute rule is crashing into centuries of wisdom about monkey-mind.

The venerable wisdom is that, when moving into a time of prayer and contemplation, any wisps of bustle that cross the mind are left to drift away, like milkweed fluff. By and large, those bustle-bits are noise, the churn of a mind accustomed to keeping itself at the center. To place God at the center requires practice in centering God rather than centering one’s own thoughts. Or to-do lists.

David Allen’s wisdom—and it is wise!—is that any task that takes two minutes or less to complete should be completed. Don’t write it down. Certainly don’t try to “just remember it”—David Allen and I both find that a tiring waste of brain.

So. I form an intention to sit down on the prayer-cushion. The wisps kick in, as they do. Do I blow them off, and continue toward the practice? Do I handle them, zzt zzt zzt, and then sit down?


Today, as it transpired, I had time to execute Plan B. In fact, right as I finished my portion and prayers it was time to gather my water-bottle and head to the gym.

Funny… 😉

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