Anything that takes you away from your goal is a distraction. In meditation, the nature of distraction could be varied, such as noise distractions, body and space-related or inner distractions.
In the beginning of your meditation practice, find a quiet place and a quiet time, as sounds may feel stronger and irritate you. A child crying, person coughing or noise from any external source tends to bother you more. Within the house, distraction could be change to a new seating area. Distraction can come from physical bodies as well; the body may be tired from exertion, or weak from illness or perhaps dull from aches and lethargy preventing you from longer periods of sitting and concentrating.
The inner distractions may present themselves as thoughts that could be flitting or fixated. Or images popping up like movie scenes. Sometimes images get more distracting than the thoughts forms.
Often times these inner distractions are a result of engaging with heightened emotions; such as excitement or despair or obsession with certain things/events.
Nature of distractions
Distractions could be plenty (or less) depending on your choice of engagements, the nature, and also the extent of the engagement. For instance, to what extent are you linking your energy with people, events (political, social) and things?
When your day is agog with too many activities, then too many distractions may follow. So, it is helpful to choose where you want to engage your energy and to what extent.
However, to call a thing distraction or not, depends on the goal you want to achieve from that engagement. For example, an inspired thought or an ‘aha’ moment or a ‘revelation’ may excite you disrupting your focus. Or, any random thought may pull you off your focus. It is mostly the latter that is frustrating.
Know that no choice, no action is bereft of a consequence. So long as you are in peace with the action you take, you are in self-alignment. When you are not at peace, it means you were not meant to put excess focus there. If something is disconcerting you, bringing up your unwanted emotions, then focus there is not useful and needs a healthy release.
Inner distractions are mostly a result of excess of consumption, for example, consumption of news and information. If you get too invested in any drama, you start living the life of others, disrupting your inner peace and spiraling into self-judgment.
Living in another person’s space or situation (events) pulls you away from you. Focus on your own goals and abilities to live with yourself and see the change. This conversation is not based in the context of focusing solely on your wants and needs and feeling selfish. Rather it is based on the benefit of living in your space so that you are able to benefit others.
My Space, the Best
When you constantly live in other person/ event space, meaning, give way more attention than required, then the excess pops up strongly during meditations. It is a call to cut your engagement and leave some empty space in your energy body.
For instance, in engaging with gossip, (talking/ listening/ reading) or speaking ill of others, your sacred energy is occupied. Gossip is drama. Humans tend to dramatize things for excitement. They feel if there is no drama, life isn’t lived. But the best life lived is one which is devoid of drama. There is no need to kick-up or fuel one, just because. These are detrimental to your potential of powerful meditation.
Focus on your life, your goals, your abilities, your purpose. Raise the bar of your life by remaining connected to yourself, which is a good attempt to bring body and mind together. This does not mean going into a shell but being an observer. Take what is required, discard what doesn’t feed your goodness. So long as you are an observer and detached, you are centered. The best of conversations can be bereft of drama.
This incident happened 16 years back in India. I used to see this middle-aged woman, a domestic help, pass by our residence entrance gate to work at the second-floor house. She trudged with her heavy body, but on that day her walk was particularly laborious. She sat at the foot of the stair-entrance catching her breath.
It was about 10.30 in the morning of February. For some reason I felt impelled to connect with her. “Tea” popped up in my mind and so I asked her if she would like to have a cup. She nodded. I made a cup for her, which she had in silence. (I felt she relished it). And, I felt her contentment, undeniably so. No words were exchanged between us, barring one, “tea”, however, our souls had touched. Words were unnecessary, even superfluous. A whole lot of conversation, nevertheless, happened between us in those 15 minutes.
Life’s richness can be experienced when our senses are not over-stimulated. That leaves a graceful space for us to process and truly feel an experience.
Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is a chakra balancing meditation coach, Theta Healer and a sound therapist. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. (one word).