The importance of distractions in meditation

Photo by ArtHouse Studio on

Imagine this: You go to your favorite meditation place. Let’s say a fantastic beach. You arrived there just before sunset. You have chosen your favorite meditation posture. You observe the colors in the sky; you enjoy the evening. You are ready to deepen inside you and receive the beauty of what you experience. Suddenly, a group of people arrives, yelling at each other just a couple of meters away from you. It would be the perfect meditation experience, but these people came and destroyed your whole meditation day. How would you react to this distraction? I have already published a post about how to deal with distractions. In this post, we will go a bit deeper into this subject. We will talk about the importance of distractions. We will discuss why we 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 yell at their children or have decided to turn the volume of their hi-fi on to ten. I know how it is to try to concentrate on meditation while a dog barks right outside your door. But I must admit that these distractions, combined with my passion for moving forward in my meditating life, pushed me to become mindful!

If you are a beginner or a person who is just trying to experiment with meditation, quiet places are what you need to enter the world of meditation quickly. But if you are a person who already knows what you want and how far you want to go, distractions might be a handy tool for you. Let me clarify something. Distractions do not only come from the outer world. A thought which came to your mind while meditating or 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 thoughts. The most challenging part of your meditation journey is to quieten your thoughts. But do you need to quieten them? The answer is NO! Many people quit their meditation journey because they cannot quiet their thoughts. Trying to meditate while a plethora of thoughts fulfills their minds makes them feel tired. This overuse of thoughts leads them to quit their meditation journey once and for all. But this is the biggest mistake you can make in your meditation journey. People who leave their meditation journey because of this situation 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’s start with the basics: What is meditation? What is its purpose?

Meditation is a procedure which trains you 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 doesn’t seem right. Distractions do not waste 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, and your noisy neighbor is your trainer. Your ability to transform a distraction into a meditating object is the most powerful tool you can have in your meditating life. Do not fight your distractions. Neither are your thoughts. Experience them. Meditate and be thankful for them. This way, you eliminate their power. After a bit of practice, distractions will be unable to distract you. That’s the actual meditation. That’s the meaning of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to be present no matter how many distractions you experience. So, use distractions wisely to train yourself to become mindful.

Fotis Tampas (De Tao).


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