So Distracting

The daily barrage of loud pops and booms finally came to an end at midnight. This early morning began with blessed silence. The constant din of fireworks and firecrackers put me on edge for the two weeks leading to the Fourth of July and came to a crashing crescendo yesterday. Now, at last, my mind is free to return to its normal distractions.

Distractions in daily life are numerous enough even without a noisy environment. Audible sounds, even pleasant ones divert my attention. I don’t dare listen to music while writing. I’ve never been that person who must have the television or radio turned on as background during the morning routine or breakfast. The older I get, the less often I fire up the stereo altogether.

Sarah, one of my former neighbors, had a small motivational plaque in her kitchen that said, “The distractions you created to cope, clutter your consciousness.” That is quite a profound statement.

I wondered why she placed the plaque in the kitchen and not her work room. Sarah said that she used to eat meals on auto-pilot because she had music playing or a talk show chattering in the background. Too often, she completed the act of eating lunch but didn’t remember savoring the simple experience of tasting, and consuming the meal. She realized then that devices had to be banned from the table. Then she created her homey plaque for the wall.

The slogan on the plaque can apply to more than mealtime distractions. It’s something to keep in mind throughout the day in every situation.

Most of the distractions in life are those we have chosen. I think of the knick-knacks on my desk and Facebook on my “Favorites Bar” on the computer browser. I wonder if I should just eschew it all and adopt the minimalist lifestyle. Would that present its own distractions? Maybe I’m just over-thinking. After all, one of my most annoying mental distractions is over-thinking.

There is a nagging thought that our modern appliances and devices exist as distractions to keep us from fully experiencing the tasks we do and the business of living an enlightened life. This is one reason that dish washing meditation is important. That is, when washing dishes, you concentrate single-mindedly on the task of washing dishes. This is a practical application of mindfulness. Washing dishes without any distractions nor mental aversions towards the task whatsoever is much more rewarding than we may believe.

When we become aware of how distracted our lives have become, it becomes easier to let go of the distractions. When we put the distractions on hiatus for awhile, we become more aware of the need to experience the depth of life. We once again understand the necessity of compassion and forgiveness towards others and ourselves. Each time we pause our distractions it seems like a mini-rebirth.

The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this snippet from the poet and filmmaker James Broughton: “Acclaim is a distraction.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
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