Most of us in fact, never “get it together!” We never get ourselves together. Instead we go through life frustrated and dissipated, letting our restless energies push us in one direction, then in another, never quite able to settle down, to figure out what we want to do, and never quite able to discipline ourselves enough to achieve the ends we were meant to attain.

In the fourth century, Gregory of Nyssa wrote about this inability of the human person to “get it together.” He compares the restless and lonely energies in our heart to a current in a stream:

Let us imagine a stream flowing from a spring and branching out at random into different channels. Now so long as it flows this way it will be entirely useless for the cultivation of the soul. Its waters are spread out too much; each single channel is small and meagre, and the water, because of this, hardly moves. But if we could collect these wanderings and widely scattered channels into one single stream, we would have a full and compact waterflow which would be useful for the many needs of life.

So too, I think of the human mind. If it spreads itself out in all directions, constantly flowing out and dispersing to whatever pleases the senses, it will never have any notable force in its progress towards the true Good. (Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart, pp. 19-20)