The importance of distractions in meditation

Imagine this: You go to your favorite meditation place. Let’s say a wonderful beach. You have arrived there just before the sunset. You have choosen your favorite meditation posture, you observe the colors in the sky, you enjoy the sunset, you are ready to deepen inside you and receive the beauty of what you experience and suddenly a group of people arrive yelling each other just a couple of meters away from you. It would be the perfect meditation experience but then, these people arrived and destroyed your whole meditation day. How would you react on this distraction? I have already published a post about how to deal with distractions. In this post we will go a bit deeper on this subject. We will talk about the importance of distractions. We will talk about why we do need distractions while meditating  and why we shouldn’t avoid them.

If you are a beginner, it is hard to meditate while someone or something distracts you. I was a beginner myself. I know how frustrating it is to try to meditate while your neighbors yelling at their children or have decided to turn the volume of their hi-fi on ten. I know how it is to try to concentrate on meditation while a dog barks right outside your door. But I have to admit that these distractions combined with my passion to move forward on my meditating life was what really pushed me to become mindful!

I have to admit that if you are a beginner or a person who just try to experiment yourself with meditation, quiet places are what you really need in order to enter the world of meditation easily. But if you are a person who already knows what you want and how far you want to go, distractions might be a very useful tool for you. Let me clear something. Distractions do not only come from the outer world. A thought which came to your mind while meditating or a sudden pain in your body, can also distract you from your meditation. Let’s talk about inner distractions first.

Inner distractions are distractions which happen inside you. The most common are your own thoughts. The most difficult part of your meditation journey is to quieten your thoughts. But, do you really need to quieten them? The answer is NO! Many people quit their meditation journey just because they are unable to quieten their thoughts. Trying to meditating while a plethora of thoughts fulfill their minds, make them feel tired. This leads them to quit their meditation journey once and for all. But this is the biggest mistake you can do in your meditation journey. People who quit their meditation journey because of that, are mainly people who lack knowledge about what meditation is. They also have many expectations about their meditation sessions which do not allow them to enjoy the experience. Let’start with the basics: What is meditation and what is its purpose?

Meditation is a procedure which train yourself to become mindful. Mindfulness means you are fully present. Distractions try to lead you away from your mindfulness, that’s why people believe that they ruin their meditation experience. But this is wrong. Distractions do not ruin your meditation, they train you to become more mindful. Without them you wouldn’t be able to move forward in this journey. Distractions are your trainer. Your thoughts are your trainer, a barking dog is your trainer, your noisy neighbor is your trainer. Your ability to transform a distraction to a meditating object is the most powerful tool you can have in your meditating life. Do not fight your distractions. Do not fight your thoughts. Experience them. Meditate on them. Be thankful of them. This way you eliminate their power. After a bit of practice, distractions will be unable to distract you. That’s the real meditation. That’s mindfulness. Mindfulness is not when you experience no distractions. Mindfulness is the ability to be present no matter how many distractions you experience. So, use distractions wisely to train yourself become mindful.

Fotis De Tao.

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