- Jim Gilkeson
Unnecessary Distractions (wowo-3)
(This is part 1 of a series called "Wax On, Wax Off!")
For me, the morning is the best time. The house is quiet, the air is clear. I am alone. When I’m in my regular rhythm, I get up around 5:30 or 6 am, brush my teeth and go into the living room. I have a place on the couch and a light blanket. I place a cushion behind my back to help me sit upright. I take my time dropping in, often following my breath a while. Perhaps I do a simple energy awareness exercise. Each morning is different but I find that by and by, with some patience, I drop into stillness. In as far as I actually find it, I offer that up as a beginning fractal of peace and sanity in this world.
I have a couple of variations on this simple beginning practice, but they each have elements in common. I have found a time of day that works for me and my bio-rhythms. I have a place or two, presently one indoors and one outdoors—my little personal power spots—that I return to each time I meditate; and an uncomplicated way of centering and disengaging from unnecessary distractions. Basic.
Today I want to talk about distractions: Some distractions are part of meditative practice, even useful, but we’ll get to those a bit later. Others are not useful and these are the ones to deal with before you sit. They are the bane of everyone who starts meditating at some point in their life. You may have discovered that your world isn’t automatically set up for meditation, which is to say that the second you sit with the intention of getting still, it’s full of distractions and things that pull you out of your center: phones, electronic devices and televisions, dogs, cats, canaries, children, family, people walking into the room, things going on in the next room, to name a few.
I seem to have killed a lot of distraction birds with one stone by following my natural inclination to get up while everyone’s still asleep. If that’s not you, there may need to be some negotiation with others around your quiet time and having a space of your own, one that will not be intruded upon. A further refinement is to have a dedicated space that you return to. Something builds up energetically at such a place. After a while, you know it and it knows you.
If you live with animals, there are some energy considerations. Do they need to be in the same room with you when you do your inner practices? Some animals do well with a human meditator in the room; they curl up in the corner and go to sleep. Others gravitate like magnets to energy fluctuations (like what happens when you do energy practices) and cheerfully draw energy out of your field and into theirs. Something to consider if you are working with energy exercises.
Later, when your inner practice gets solider—that is to say you aren’t dragged out of your center so easily and you have a findable place of stillness in you—you get so you can center down even in a public place. The Chicago Train Station comes to mind.
It may take a while to reduce the external distractions and cultivate an environment for your inner work, but it's worth the effort. That leaves the internal distractions, some of which are useful. That's what's coming up in my next posting.
More very soon!
Copyright ©, 2017 by Jim Gilkeson. All rights reserved.