Fleeting snatches of thought, raw material waiting to be assembled -- that's my mind most of the time, that's what lies behind my tongue. It amazes me that I can even construct a half sensible sentence from the confusion of fragmented ideas which have fleeting existence in my being. There's no hierarchy; deep metaphysical thoughts do equal battle with tangential ideas that spin the threads of thinking down unexpected alleys. Like alphabet soup, the ingredients lack organization -- the soul shepherds my thoughts like a dog trying to corral cats, coherency seems as elusive as honest politics. There's a facade of focus, but underneath it's chaos. To open the door and reflect is like looking into a teenagers bedroom!
Like a circus, order can surprisingly emerge at any moment -- where once everything seemed to have no clear relation, suddenly at the call of a ringmaster, or in a moment of high dramatic tension, all the pieces fall into place and the interplay becomes clear. That is, until the clown drops the pie and it all degenerates into chaos, only to be brought back again moments later into a new temporary alignment. Afterwards, I remember only fragments and impressions, fleeting emotions, and a sense that something important happened.
What brings structure?
I find my mind's raw material organizes in three ways. First, under an external influence, focus comes through sharp stimuli, through the senses. The obvious are easily dealt with - pain, pleasure, appetites, etc. The subtle ones are dangerous - the media, peer behaviour, messages from a world outside my mind. These bring superficial order to my thoughts, like a cloth falling over an object my thoughts take on the shape of the external influence. But like a chameleon this veneer can camouflage the turmoil beneath, even from my own awareness. This source of order is cheap -- it costs little and requires me merely to relax.
Second are the choices I make in my head in a furious attempt to interpret all the inputs to my mind. It takes effort and energy to arrange thoughts, work is needed to evaluate, assess, discard, and develop. Focus is the desperate goal, and focus is a choice about where to expend effort, and choice is steered by our past, and our past is the path that leads to the moment. Even here the easiest choice is to simply follow the path, and it requires an almost superhuman effort to step aside and go in a new direction.
But there is the third way our thoughts find pattern. It's when there is intervention, when the chain of semi-logic we own for ourselves is snipped apart by a surgeon and sutured into new arrangements. When an external power pulls apart discordant ideas and marries them to new thought-threads. Such order comes in two ways; it is imposed when we drop our defenses, or because we relinquish control and lay ourselves open.
The world is full of influences that are only waiting for one of these two opportunities, and do not hesitate to take full advantage, whether it be simply manipulation for other purposes or something more spiritual and nefarious.
But God waits too; He hovers, seeking to be admitted past our defenses, and yearns for us to lay down our own control.
So a three-way future unfolds; we expend energy to sustain a semblance of order in our mind, or we submit to the control of the world that serves us an agenda insensitive to our good, or we walk in the paths of God where His mind brings shape to that which He created. Each moment of walking hand in hand with Jesus is a moment of mind transformation, re-creation -- Joy.
I desire the latter, but I do not succeed well. I have a hope that heaven will be a place where the alignment of my thoughts becomes permanent, and the bedlam of current fragmented thinking is gone forever. Until then I live in the circus of my mind.