Think before you act.
Don’t just act. Don’t just react.
Slow down, think it through, reflect and plan.
We are all told this. It’s what I tell me kids.
But is this right?
Thought wastes time. It’s dangerous.
Thought takes time. And it takes energy. The more you think the more blood your brain needs, and the more calories you burn. That’s why you feel tired when you think too much.
And thought is literally dangerous (not figuratively).
At the dawn of humanity, to think instead of react means you’ll miss your meal. To think instead of react is to become a meal!
Acting is survival. Thinking is leisure.
Acting is necessary. Thinking is optional.
Trust Your Training
Athletes and the military constantly practice and train. Practicing repetitive movements programs their bodies—and minds—to act automatically. They act without reflection or hesitation.
They train so that in every situation they are not thinking, but only reacting.
“Trust your training” is a motto for both athletics and the military. Trust your repetitive actions. Don’t think about it! When things get intense, don’t think about winning or losing, living or dying.
Just execute your training.
Can Love Become Automatic?
Can love become automatic?
Can mercy become unconscious?
Can grace become unthinking?
Love seems the opposite of our natural instincts. Love seems opposed to our programmed prejudices. All our mental short cuts—all those unthinking thoughts that speed us through the day, from surviving as a hunter-gatherer to succeeding as a city dweller—seem to work against the deep and profound call of love.
But, on the other hand, if other activities can become unconscious and unthinking through practice, why can’t love be without thinking?
With practice we can use thought, focus, intention, and intensity to train our brains and our bodies to love unconsciously, to love unconditionally.
Love takes practice
As pastor Juliet Waite preached on Sunday at Life on the Vine, surrendering to God’s love is not passive.
Surrendering to God’s love takes work. It takes practice. It takes focused effort and intention.
And with that training, the training to surrender to God’s love, comes the ability to love automatically, to love without thinking.
Love without thinking
To love without thinking is to care for one without considering the cost to oneself.
To love without thinking is to stand for justice without wondering how it will effect you.
To love without thinking is to offer yourself without calculating a return on investment.
To love without thinking is probably as close to loving unconditionally as we will ever get.