Let’s face it–what often threatens our connection to the Holy Heart? What keeps us tethered to our endless thoughts, whirlwinds of emotions, windmills of human drama?
What causes us to check our phones, computers, devices with compulsive wondering: who’s liked, commented, texted, messaged, waved hello, posted scuttlebutt, shared gossip and happenings?
Our busy minds often like attention and distraction. We might not know what to do next but our little fingers keep checking, checking, checking.
Or maybe we’re lured to the kitchen for tortilla chips, cookies, donuts. A glass of wine anyone?
Or into the television world to gobble up endless news stories or sitcoms or documentaries.
Maybe we retreat into books for hours upon hours. Or titillating podcasts. Or even coronavirus stats (for some of us stats nerds these days). Perhaps even travel.
There is nothing wrong with checking our devices, munching in the kitchen, watching TV, reading books, listening to podcasts, checking stats, travel. All legitimate and wonderful activities.
However, watch for the catch. See what’s driving the car of this behavior. Notice if the entire day passes in a continual hum of distracted doing that clouds over the sense of peace and deep relaxation that signals an awareness of the Holy.
I sometimes notice a low-level (or sometimes amped-up) feeling of nervousness or ill ease or anxiety just before the hand reaches for my device. A semi-conscious sense that I don’t know what to do next. That something is rising in the psyche to be acknowledged and met with compassion–but another inner voice says “no. I don’t want to feel that. I think I’ll pour another cup of coffee and maybe eat that slice of pumpkin pie and see if anyone commented on my blog post.”
It’s been called the demon of distraction. It often feels like a roaring demon to me. I have struggled with this fella for a long, long time.
Perhaps many of us do.
Years ago I discovered the gift of Presence. Of dropping below the motor of thoughts and just sitting in silence. Finding an inner still point. Seeing thoughts arise but feeling them in a pool of calm waters. Watching feelings appear while simultaneously aware of spaciousness.
Presence, to me, feels like the Holy Heart. The peace that passeth all understanding. The body breathes itself with such aliveness, with such peace. The nervous system unwinds and relaxes. It feels like existing in the center. Everything is allowed to arise but it’s all appearing against a background of deep YES.
It’s been a godsend (literally, ha ha!) to discover Presence. But there are other forces in the psyche that do not like it. Not one little bit. Old-time religious folks might label these forces as demons. I call them our inner little ones. Unconscious or semi-conscious forces often from early childhood which rise from Pandora’s box to be met with attention and compassion.
The spiritual journey, fortunately or unfortunately, often becomes a meeting of all that is unresolved in our human psyche. And our human psyche is huge–and often contains even the unsettled or unsolved traumas of our ancestral line or planet.
We lean into Presence and Presence says, “Here is the next unresolved contraction, my dear. Can you sit with a little while today?”
How we may want to say yes! But the inner little ones often prefer distraction–anything–rather than feeling uncomfortable feelings. Do they not? (And sometimes distraction can be a gifted balm, a wise way the body diverts from the siren call of too much, too much…)
In recent days I have fallen out of the heaven of Presence and into the bardo of distraction. My gentle goal for at least today is to return to the silence again and again. Will check email or texts or comments after fully meeting the Holy in her robes of Presence.
Anyone else struggle with distraction? Want to return to the sweet silence of the Holy? For me this means sitting on the couch until the body relaxes and everything sighs ahhhhh. Usually fifteen or twenty minutes. The after effects often last hours. When I notice I’m reaching compulsively to check a device or the refrigerator–it’s time to reconnect to Spirit.
And when the hush of Presence pours through body and soul–it’s possible to check devices, read books, watch movies, travel to cool places, delight in a cookie, cruise around Facebook. Presence transforms and informs everything, turning activities from distractions to expressions of love.
Please share any of your thoughts about how distraction helps or hurts you in your quest for peace.
Day 26 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.