Mel asked me to write a post on this and I thought it was a great question. What do you think about during shmona esray?
I would have to say that every day is different, I think that shmona esray is the one prayer in all of davening where all the distractions are gone and you have time to let your thoughts run. I understand that this isn’t the best thing to do, but its the time that cell phones have to be turned off and you cannot look around for that other sock. Even while in shull you cannot look at those emails from Monsey that are scattered around the tables and see if you know the names on some benchers left over from the last shalosh suedos.
For instance today I was not able to make it shull and while I was davening I thought about work, then I thought about breakfast and then I thought about where I would bike in the afternoon. Pretty pathetic eh, though I think many of you can relate to this. The only times I have true kavanah during shmona esray is when something bad happens, when I am asking for forgiveness or for something.
For me the worst possible time to think only good thoughts is during the high holidays. Yom kippor and Rosh Hashanah are the absolute worst. I remember in high school I was told to have the utmost kavanah during these times and boom- I start thinking about all the bad things I want to do- usually centered around sex.
Can you relate to this? I would like to hear your thoughts and comments about this activity that we do every day- yet we never seem to get it right. What exactly is the right thing to do or think about during shmona esray. I do think shmona esray is one of the most NON-abstract prayers with most of verses we modern day folks can relate to and take in- yet I still tend to lose concentration and let my thoughts wander.