Muse and Amuse. It’s interesting how these two words look almost identical yet mean different things. Here’s the definition from thefreedictionary.com,
Muse: to be absorbed in one’s thoughts; engage in thought.
Amuse: to keep pleasantly occupied; entertain; divert
Can you make the distinction? It’s subtle. Allow me to put it in simpler terms. When amused, someone else is doing the thinking for us. We allow another to divert our thoughts in exchange for entertainment.
Muse, on the other hand, means we do the hard work of ruminating on an idea. Asking difficult questions. Seeking the truth and arriving at conclusions. A lost art in today’s modern world.
There’s this interesting study in Virginia where people would rather be electrically shocked than left alone with their thoughts. No wonder a large percentage of us would prefer to hook our faces on our electronic companions, be amused rather than muse.
When I get spots of free time, I’d lavishly waste my hours away on Youtube, Kindle, and a gaggle of online shops. You could be the social media gaper, podcast junkie, drama fanatic, or whatever mind-occupying stuff you’re into — stimuli that direct thoughts — so long as we’d never have to deal with our own.
Never am I suggesting these things to be detrimental to our mental well-being. They have their value, but balance is key. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf,
We need downtown to function optimally. To cope with the demands of life, our minds and brains need to internally “reboot”, which can only happen when we are alone with our thoughts. We literally need to switch off all external stimuli, giving our thoughts some quality “me time”.~ Think, Learn, Succeed: Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, the Workplace, and Life
Too much amusement, without engaging the mind, and we lose the ability of true enjoyment. Never content. No wonder we jump from one video to another, continually browsing the news feed for the latest or hopscotch from celebrity profile to the next influencer, like an addict who can never have enough.
I get it. Downtime moments are necessary, but dealing with my thoughts is uncomfortable.
Thankfully, there’s a way to do it without tackling my negative-leaning thinking. No, I’m not talking about Eastern meditation, where we empty our minds or acknowledge those incoming thought bubbles and release them one by one. I don’t practice it because I know myself. My thoughts can start out wholesome, then mutate into a horrendous monster as I sit longer.
If this practice helps you, awesome.
What am I suggesting then?
Meditation God’s way. Putting on the mind of Christ by musing on His Word, engraving them in our hearts.
When we absorb our minds on the things of God’s, we allow Him to fill our spirits. Burning satisfaction and contentment in our hearts. Not only that. As our thinking changes, our mouths follow.
Everytime inactivity scruffles my brain to do something, anything to keep it busy, I have two options: either pick up an external stimulus for amusement or muse on God’s word.
No, I don’t always choose to ponder on God’s Word in my downtime moments. But knowing I have the option to spend it absorbed in His mind, rather than mine, comforts me.
When we do. We allow His Word to reboot our brains for optimal function, heal our soul, satisfy our heart and fill our mouth with Words of life.