By now, everyone’s heard of meditation. A lot of people have even tried it.
In my discussions with patients, one of the biggest challenges to meditation seems to be distraction. “I’m always getting distracted!”, they say.
In my view, distractions are great opportunities to increase the power and effect of meditation, and here’s why. Meditation is often used as a tool to calm the mind. In order to do so, we must come to know the mind – You can not control, much less conquer, that which you do not understand.
Where we sit cross-legged, try to empty our mind, then, inevitably, enter battle with the random mutterings and musings of intellect and imagination, we engage in a futile battle. After all, those thoughts and feelings are parts of you - Where you enter combat against yourself, you can’t win.
Instead, when a thought arises, realize it is from a source within you (most likely, an unknown source). As such, it is an emissary of the the very entity you wish to get to know better. Treat it as such!
When a “random” thought arises, sit back and watch it; allow it to tell its story. Don’t engage it, necessarily, but allow it to express itself – let it be heard. Within the message it shares, you will find guidance to a part of yourself, in fact, calling out for attention.
Every distraction is a voice, your voice. Listen, and, if upon receiving attention, it has nothing important to share, it will dissolve away.
But if it has a message, if it keeps popping up because, deep down, some part of you needs it to keep popping up, then, by giving it your undivided attention, you will learn something new of your own depths.
And once you get what you need, there will be no reason for you to find distraction in battle with yourself. You may, then, sit calmly in peaceful meditation.