Sometimes I think of work.
Sometimes I think of my bills.
Sometimes I think of biking.
Sometimes I think of hiking.
Sometimes I think of my girlfriend.
Sometimes I think of blog posts.
Sometimes I think of what I am going to that day.
Sometimes I water my garden.
Sometimes I look for random things.
Sometimes I put stuff in my car.
Sometimes I pack up for a trip.
Sometimes I look at mail.
But never do I have full concentration during davening. Its been plaguing me lately, whatever I do I cannot just daven, I try and try and then my mind wanders, I am mumbling the words by heart, my tefilin is on, but my mind is somewhere else. This happens regardless of if I am at shul or in my living room. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekday or shabbos, heck it doesn’t matter if its Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah.
I even thought of this post while davening, I always make up my mind before davening that I am going to try and concentrate on davening, forget kavannah, I am just trying to daven without doing anything listed above and more.
I find that those “praying with fire” type books say things I already know, and are quite obvious. I have heard the “we are standing in front of the almighty” countless times during sermons and mussar shmuzem, it doesn’t work buddy, maybe my emunah is just out of whack- but I cannot seem to imagine the king right there as I am debating what to write for my next blog during ashrei.
Actually I find that the only time I have kavannah is when I talk to God directly in English during long drive by myself or on hikes. For me Hisbodedut is the only way to go in the davening department, yet I don my tefilin every day, try to go to shul and think random thoughts instead of about the gory of God.
I was reading Praying with Fire in shul this past shabbos and found that the book would probably be detrimental to someone like myself, who hasn’t really gotten in to the routine of davening three times a day, everyday, my wishy washy friends who go to sleep without saying maariv would read something like “the kavannah of our times is so bad that our prayers aren’t accepted” with a mind that says- shit that means I shouldn’t even daven. I read a bunch of stuff in the book that had things like, your prayers aren’t good enough, or some gates aren’t open unless you pour your soul out. Great, the only thing I ever pour out is my recently done laundry so I can fold it during Yishtabach.
I wrote about this awhile back in the post “what do you think about during shoman esray?”