Dying Daily #210: Subtle Distractions

My morning routine is pretty simple.

Most of the time, I wake up at 4:13 or 4:18, and my alarm goes off at 4:20. I lay there for a minute to get my bearings, get up, turn on the coffee, use the bathroom and splash water on my face.

I open Insight Timer, sit down to meditate, and my thoughts kick in.

Ideas about what to write about today.

Thinking about what I have going on today.

Thoughts about something that happened yesterday or a few days ago.

Opinions on something I saw in the news.

Resistance to what I am planning on doing today.

Judgments about the way my dog’s nose makes a whistling noise every third breath.

Explanations for that vague anger I feel so often.

Ideas about what I would rather do today.

Now, as always, thoughts are not good or bad.

Meditation is not about clearing your mind, but accepting whatever is there. It’s about simply noticing when you become distracted and returning to whatever your anchor is. The breath, sounds around you, or, in mindfulness practices, simply observing your experience.

But this is also where the subtlety of the mind becomes apparent. Instead of just noticing that I am distracted, it tries to use this as an opportunity to take over.

Thinking.

No problem, just return.

No criticism, no judgment.

Don’t even assess the distraction.

Distractions are neutral, they are not good or bad.

It’s the same as situations being neutral, our thoughts just stain them one color or another.

That’s the third podcast.

I didn’t get it done over the weekend.

When can I get that done?

Not Saturday, we are in Oklahoma this weekend.

It feels like there isn’t enough time in the week.

No, I have as much time as anyone, my priorities need to shift.

But where?

I don’t really waste much time.

I did watch Journey to the West again yesterday. That was 2 hours.

I was tired.

Everyone is tired, stop complaining.

Why did I shave my head? I always hate the way it looks.

And by this point, I am distracted. Noticing I am distracted presents the mind with another opportunity to subtly pull me away.

This is our life, constantly thinking and living inside of our heads. Our minds feeding us stories and beliefs about the world instead of letting us live in the world.

Every time we become aware of this, of being caught up in our mind, is an opportunity o retrun to the present, to reality.

The more we do this, the more aware we become of the mind and the way it works.

The more aware we are of how the mind works, the more it becomes a tool for us to use instead of a knife that chops us to pieces or a hammer that dulls us into distraction.

Reality is reality, everything else is stories.

Is that a good way to end this?

Is it too abrupt?

What if people think I suck as a mediation teacher because I get distracted?

I don’t want to take Macy to the vet this morning.

The vet is neutral, just go.

I sure do complain a lot.

And we’re off.

 

Other Posts That Might Be Useful

Dying Daily #117: Know Your Rights

Dying Daily #121: Thoughts are Harmless

Dying Daily #122: Great Expectations