This is one reason religion is in such desperate straits today. It really isn't transforming people, but leaving them in their separated and egocentric state. It pulls God inside of my agenda instead of letting God pull me inside of his. This is still the small old self at work. What the Gospel is talking about is the emergence of “a whole new creation” and a “new mind,” as Paul variously calls it.
By the world's standards, spending time in a contemplative state is not considered productive. It doesn't minimize our To Do List, it doesn't accomplish anything, except open our eyes to more closely see the world as God does, a mixture of the beautiful and the ugly, the joyful and the sorrowful, neither entirely evil or entirely good.
In order to do that, I must let go of my agenda, even things I think are good in God's eyes. I must step back from the world and get rid of the To Do list, replacing it with a To Be list. This becoming will change my thoughts and the good deeds and the compassion for others will automatically emerge from that union.
I am refocusing my early morning devotions from my usual I Want/ I Need Prayer. God already knows what I need. Rather, I will start my prayer time with being thankful for what I already have instead of concentrating on what I don't have. From this state of thankfulness, I will enter into a contemplative reading of His Word. With a more open, non-critical, judgmental mind, my self centered prayer will become a Seeing Prayer, and a closer union with God.
This New Creation will have a more open mind with which to hear, and follow, that inner voice nudging me to take seemingly trivial side trips which upset my best laid plans, but later prove to be the most powerful moments of my life.
Dear Lord, lead me to see the world, and myself, as you do, and not through my judgments or perceived needs. Amen.