On Friday afternoon, I was working on getting an assignment done at the firm where I am engaged in an intense associateship for the summer. It was just about time for me to catch my intended train home and the copy center had just returned some materials I needed in order to turn in my work. I realized that I needed a three-hole-puncher before I could include the last section necessary to make the project complete. So I quickly ran to find one when I found a kind hearted secretary who generously offered her extra hole puncher so that I could finish my assignment and run to the train.
But just at that moment, I felt someone punch me on the chest. Before I even had time to react, though, whoever it was did it again. After taking a moment to get oriented, I realized that I was in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei back in Shul on Friday night, and that I was hitting my own chest during the beracha of "Slach Lanu."
Unfortunately, my mistake was not only that my head was back at work when it should have been in davening. But even worse (?), it was ma'ariv on Shabbos night and I was saying the weekday davening.
Rav Itamar Shwartz, the author of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, in the 6th perek of Da Es Atzmecha, says that one understands why "one his where his thoughts are" with a correct perspective of who one really is. If I am in Shul, but I'm thinking about work, and I perceive that I am a body, with a neshoma inside, I would think that I (my body) is actually in Shul, but that it is only my thoughts that are at work. But the truth is that I am a neshoma that is "wearing" a body. So when I am in Shul, but thinking about work, it is only my clothing, my body, that is in Shul. But my mind is still at working when that's what I'm thinking about.
Of course it's the same thing al tzad hatov. When I'm at work but thinking about being in the beis medresh, then the true "I" is in Shul.
Friday night, I was able to use the "wake up call" to focus on the davening more than I probably would have, had I not committed my double thoughtless-ness. IY"H, we should all be zocheh that our thoughts should be where we belong.