December 14, 2011
Dissolving Distractions In Meditation
When we first begin a formal meditation practice, we may quickly become aware of the countless ways our mind chatter takes us over. Maybe we ask ourselves; who knew that I had this many thoughts in just a few moments? Distractions may enter our awareness as random thoughts, or self-questions. For example; “Am I doing this right? Did I turn the oven off before I came here? This incense smells nice. Don’t forget to send those cards after class.”
Sometimes distractions are a result from a real-occurring incident during this meditation time. Maybe someone outside the room made a loud banging sound with a door. Maybe someone next to us has fallen asleep, and is snoring out loud while we are trying to maintain a state of inner peace. Notice how the distraction is not the actual event that is happening, but rather that your mind has decided that it is one. By changing our perception of what we observe, what was once thought of as a distraction can be now regarded as simply, an observation that we’ve made. With practice, we learn to acknowledge these observations briefly, and then return to the focus of our own breath flowing throughout and nurturing our bodies.
Treat yourself with forgiveness each and every time the mind wanders. This is the practice. Distractions are not external events, but rather pointing us in a direction to look within ourselves. What we may find here, is an opportunity to release judgment, and to let go of what we are observing externally and practice being aware of our own body, mind and spirit sensations. We can choose to greet these sensations with acceptance, and gratitude.
This is also how we can deepen our Yoga practice, by looking deeper within ourselves. As T. K. V. Desikachar states; “If we do not pay attention to ourselves in our practice, than we cannot call it Yoga.”
Meditation is a limb of Yoga, and can be a tool for shining a light upon who we are, beneath all of the external layers of the self. If we only meditate, we are not necessarily practicing Yoga. But if we have a Yoga practice, then meditation is a necessary aspect. What a fabulous gift; to allow ourselves to be fully present with our own sensations, without judgment of ourselves or others. Experiencing stillness of the mind chatter, and being aware of the full, nourishing breath will show us inner peace.