Distractions. Are they really just distractions or are they messengers?
I have the beautiful privilege of sharing meditation with practitioners most days of the week. At times, myself included, students arrive expressing that they have been feeling distracted or scattered. They wish to feel more focused and to be able to direct their attention to the task at hand. While this can be a common experience, I often become curious of what we are labeling as a “distraction”. Is it truly a distraction or is this a messenger that is here asking for our attention? Is our goal to only be focused on the task at hand or is it also to feel open to what is moving through us, be it grief or joy, anger or love?
In my experience, when I feel distracted it is often a symptom of something that I am being asked to meet. Perhaps some of the messengers are light or smaller in nature. The rumbling in my stomach that I keep getting pulled toward is letting me know that I need nourishment. Once I can attend and nourish, I might find I am better able to focus and concentrate. However, at times the messenger is more subtle, deeply rooted and textured. The soft heaviness in my torso or the repeated arising of an image or memories. In paying attention to what I may call a distraction, I find there is more being unraveled. There is something asking for a more sustained and deep acknowledgement.
Meditation in many ways is opening the flood gates to our inner psyche, history and past that is in some way carried in our physiology. So messengers will arise in different ways, both those that are significant and those that more fleeting. Each messenger that we can fully welcome and be with allows us to feel a little lighter in our Being. Every object that moves through us, whether sensations, breath, emotion or thought, goes through a natural cycle of birth, growth, stability, decay and demise. Whether grief or joy, the time this takes is an unknown. It requires an open curiosity to meet the ever-changing textures of life so that we can feel whole and at Home. When we push certain messengers away, we are in part pushing a piece of ourselves away and impeding the natural process of how things arise and subside.
In welcoming life unconditionally, we begin to experience an unshakeable ease that is not dependent on any object or circumstance. It just is. From this place of ease, we slowly begin to orient to our deepest inner knowing that places us in harmony with life and our life’s purpose. Meditation is not a straight shot. We don’t get there and it’s done. We fall into harmony and we fall away often. More and more, however, we will remember and we will return. The path Home becomes well traveled and forever etched in our Hearts.