Distractions

Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now,
Not who you would like to be,
Not the saint you are striving to become,
But the being right here before you, inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You are already more and less
Than whatever you can know.
Breathe out, 
Touch in, 
Let go.
John Welwood


This week I find myself reflecting on an observation that has repeatedly come up during my morning meditations. In short, I have observed that my senior teacher will give an instruction, provide time to execute that instruction, and then provide the next cue. This manner of teaching, when one is fully present and alert, enables one to systematically develop a deeper connection with one’s self and, in the words of John Welwood, the “wings singing in [one’s] veins.”

Fortunately or unfortunately, in order for that deepening to occur, one must be completely seated in the present moment and then able to follow along with things as they gradually reveal themselves. For if one is caught in the game of thought, and bouncing around in time, it becomes really challenging to grasp the instructions given – let alone receive the gift provided by this type of guidance. In short: because the mind hasn’t had the opportunity to marinate in the stillness, ease, and strength that comes from being fully present, it is always playing a game of catch-up. 

Having noticed that this pattern has been present in my meditation practice for a while, I have started to see how it shows up in other areas of my life as well. Both on and off the mat, it seems some part of me is afraid of fully being present with whatever may unfold in a given moment and so I distract myself with “things.” Sometimes these “things” are external actions and sometimes they are internal narratives that play on a loop. Again in both instances, the underlying belief is that “I am not ready and must do x, y, or z before I can do a, b, or c.”  The irony of course is that one can never make up for missed time and one can never be fully prepared for any of the things that make life worth living. 

This line of inquiry has sparked the followed questions that I wanted to share with you as contemplation points for this week: 

  • When and in what ways do you distract yourself? 
  • What narratives motivate these actions? That is, what stories are you telling yourself must come to pass before you will be able to take the next step to move forward in your personal, professional, romantic, and/or spiritual life?
  • Knowing that time waits for no one, what small action can you take in this moment to begin to step into the unknown and walk towards that which you seek? 

For me my practice continues to be the place where I work to become more present and free of the narratives that form the muddiness of my mind. Imagining your practice might serve a similar purpose, I have some public offerings available. If you are interested in joining me, please let me know.

Namaste.