In meditation, what you call distraction, is essentially concentration, albeit directed elsewhere and not where you want it to be.
There are different types of distractions in meditation; you may end up imagining, or getting drowsy, or memories may spring up, connecting one to the other and another, and before you know, you are already hurled far away from the practice.
You may hear words. Random images may flash in mind or you may expect something to happen, having heard or read about it. For example, someone saying, ‘I heard a flute playing in my meditation’ and when that doesn’t happen, your disappointment and doubt gets the better of you. This is a distraction. There can be too much of analysis and focus on ‘what is happening’ and ‘what should happen’ or what ‘ought to happen’. These are distractions, as much as our own direct perceptions.
Your eyes may fool you
For instance, in poor light, a rope may appear to be a snake. So, it is possible that your sight can fool you. If you feed that imagination (of the rope being a snake), fear and anxiety can take over. In addition, all sorts of related images, and possibilities can numb your senses further, obscuring you from the truth. Similarly, your hearing can fool you too, so can inference, for example, smoke from a burning pyre may be inferred as smoke emanating from a building on fire.
The point being; in our day-to-day lives, we dwell in such manner of ignorance, get fooled by information gathered by our gross sense organs, feed them with fear and coarse imagination, and distance away from the real truth without inquiring into the true nature of things.
Meditation is a bridge to allow one to overcome this distance and connect with the truth. How does that happen?
Let’s say, you are meditating on an object; it could be a tree, a chair, or self; when you are free from distractions, and the mind starts settling into subtle waveforms, you will notice that the object will start revealing its essence, its true form.
So, let’s say you are meditating on a seed, a single tiny apple seed. Over time, as the mind starts to settle in, you may sense that the seed has begun to start, softly and subtly, ‘speaking’ to you, revealing, opening it’s nature. You may receive them as realisations. thought forms.
The seed can reveal (and which becomes your direct experience) that it contains a life form, that it is alive, yet non- functional at the moment, it can reveal that it is potential packed in, in this moment, and/or, that it has the possibility of becoming a real root, shoot, flower and fruit, perceptible to grosser eyes. It can reveal that is an embodiment of the cycle of life, death, and existence, which humans can use as analogy to their lives and so on.
Knowledge gained in this manner, which is first-hand, becomes your subjective experience, your truth, and hence, calls for no external validation from any other source. The need simply isn’t felt.
Now, you may have read or cognised all the above (seed) information, but you will see, they stand no match to the subjective experiential wholeness of self-realisation. The difference is akin to- having an idea of laughter versus experiencing a full-throated laughter.
Self-realisation, superior to cognitive processes, is bound to bring immense joy. Sant Kabir and his couplets, for example, weren’t born in a university, weren’t acts of cognition, rather, they flowed in direct communication with life, done so in love. We all are capable too, of invoking our inner wisdom guided by inner guru, inner light, residing within.
To be continued ...
Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is a healer and a forgiveness teacher. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org