Researchers say we cannot relax when we’re alone with our thoughts. When I first read the article by Michelle F Cortez from Bloomberg News, I thought the University of Virginia in Charlottesville researchers must be studying “typical” twenty-first century people who have not developed their spiritual life. Reading on, I discovered that though they began with college students, afterward they recruited participants from a farmer’s market and a church, and the results were the same. For some of the group tested, even negative experiences (a mild shock) were preferred to sitting idle and alone.
Even worse, “Department of Labor data show 83% of Americans do not spend any part of their day just thinking.” (I’m curious about how they came up with their data, and why our tax dollars are being spent there, but that’s another issue.)
I’ve pondered this for a couple of days, privately feeling a little superior to those tested. After all, I love time to myself and don’t need entertainment or constant contact through electronics.
Re-reading, I noticed the lead researcher, Timothy Wilson, stated, “The mind evolved to solve problems in the world, to look for dangers and opportunities to engage.”
Rather than blind evolution, I believe our minds were created, and that we were made to live in relationship with our Creator.
Light bulb moment!
Of course we don’t want to sit with an idle mind! We were created to communicate with the Word, all the time. Our minds are designed to engage, even when our bodies are still.
So, it’s not about whether or not we can sit alone in a room. It’s all about our focus.
“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”
It’s not by accident that Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts has transformed so many lives. We were designed to be thankful, to look around us and see His hand, to be grateful, and to say so, either in our thoughts, spoken or written words.
Everyone I know who is rising above “impossible” circumstances seeks blessings in the ordinary of each day. And gives thanks.
When we look anywhere else, we are settling for far less than we were created for.
2 thoughts on “Can you sit alone, with an idle mind?”
Thank you, Dani.