Have you ever struggled to focus and someone told you to just 'concentrate'?
Did it work? Of course not. When you're distracted every skills, except concentration, seems to heighten. When we try to force the sounds, smells, and sights around us to - poof! - magically disappear instead they seem to grow larger and more annoying than ever!
Focus is hard.
Understatement of the year? Sure. But why is it so hard? In my experience it is because I want to be somewhere else, doing something else, but distractions are constant reminders of where I am. I want so badly to be on the other side of a project or and email or a goal, but the distractions are constant reminders of two things: 1) I'm right here, even if I don't want to be and 2) I'm human.
Perhaps it is my dog when she is begging to go out and all I want to do is finish this blog post that I've been working on all morning. Or it's construction going on in the building next door to your yoga studio - savasana now sounds like a jackhammer.
Whatever it is, if you're safe and there's no cause for alarm, it can be an opportunity.
Distractions are reminders of where we are, in the present moment, really. I want to be done writing my blog post, but the reality is that I am sitting in my office, with my dog, and she has to go pee. That's the present reality right now. I can fight it (attempt to ignore her), or I can get up and let her out. The reality might be that you are in savasana and you are hearing a jackhammer. You want to be in la la land, but the reality is that you are still laying down, on a yoga mat, in a studio, and next door to the studio a build is under construction.
Distractions also aren't an enemy. They aren't the cause of our suffering. Our expectations for the present moment are the enemy, and resistance we have when our preferences and expectations are made to change is what causes our discomfort. Struggling hard to change your present moment, wish it away, or stamp your feet because it should better just adds another layer of suffering on top of an already uncomfortable situation.
When our alarm bells go off from a loud noise is it really worth the alarm? If so, then being in the present moment is much more important that focusing on a project for the future. The alarm is telling you to move, you're in danger! If you're not sure, then being in the present moment is much more valuable because you can get up, investigate, and make a decision whether or not your action is needed. If not, is fighting the distraction going to add or detract from your suffering?
Today, use your distractions as an opportunity to attune your focus. And become a wise warrior i the battle for concentration! This meditation can help.
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