One of the great barriers to a flourishing mind is sometimes called mindlessness. My body is at the breakfast table with my family, but my mind isn’t. It is ruminating over my problems -- a repetitive, anxious, dull, low-grade obsession with tasks and problems. I am absentminded; my mind has gone AWOL. Other people can tell I am not fully present because my face is less alive and responsive. I talk less, and when I do say something, it is superficial and terse. I don’t do this on purpose. It simply becomes a habit of my mind.
The spiritual life begins with paying attention to our thoughts, which is why the psalmist prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23) God knows our thoughts better than we do, and He will help us learn what is going on in our mind from one moment to the next.
-- John Ortberg in “The Me I Want To Be”