Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Distractions and the spiritual journey

It can be hard to find a balance between everyday life and spiritual life when you are around people that are not aware/awakened. You may be at risk to find yourself distracted as you move along in your spiritual journey. This is the ego’s attempt to steer you away from connecting to the source. After all, the ego likes the way life used to be before you woke up and doesn’t like to lose its grip on you. These distractions can “numb” you and make you “forget” what it is that you set out to do. But, why does this happen?

When you go through a spiritual awakening the ideals, objectives, and constructs you hold on to are falling away from you. Those are the elements that are not part of who you are. This change will happen by itself because it is all part of the process to become your authentic self. Inner work is needed to align the authentic self with your soul’s purpose and mission in life. Self-analysis, healing and energy work are all part of this process. However, some of you are stubborn and not willing to let go of the illusions around you and align with the distractions that are found everywhere. When you choose this path you will have to learn the lessons “the hard way”. You’ll move from one illusion to the next until you realize that you are not going anywhere. This can also cause a lot of pain and suffering. You have free choice and depending on what you choose you can either follow the path of essence (the soul), or the path of many distractions (the ego). There comes a time in your spiritual journey when you become aware of the meaningless nature of distractions. You will learn to discard them and focus on your essence.

Distractions are karmic, they are the very foundation of the ego. It is the way we protect ourselves against both the pain of life and the open space of an awakened mind. Distractions stem from things that were left unfinished, ended poorly, caused pain and trauma (from this life or from past lives) and this is also known as the “karmic wheel”.  Being distracted keeps your soul from what it wants to do now. It is so easy to blame the external world of distractions, social network, television, the people in our lives and so on. Yet, objects are objects, sounds are sounds, thoughts are thoughts, it is nothing more unless we make it so. Buddhist teachings talk more in terms of the wandering mind than distractions. We take responsibility when we look inward for the source of our problem.

The word distraction means to be pulled away. You can change the way that you react to distractions by doing a mindfulness meditation practice. It will help you develop a more calm and stable mind and it will give you a greater focus and concentration and is an effective way to overcome ordinary distractions. It is very useful to be more focused on what you are doing, but in order to resolve it you need to look deeper. What is the distraction telling you? What are you not willing to see and why?
Aspects of distractions are: to be scatterbrained, mentally jumpy. Buddhism calls this the “monkey mind.”

Let’s break it down according to Buddhist psychology:
Distraction is classified as one of the twenty destabilizing factors of the mind. It is not just a mental problem, it is also highly emotional. It is fueled by grasping, rejecting and denial. The wandering mind is drawn to objects that cause it to lose focus; this is a specific kind of distraction. It steers the attention away from what is authentic. When the mind wanders action is needed to pull the attention back and this requires to track down the internal cause of distraction. You create the distraction because you have a need for it, this is also called the entertainment mind. When you figure out what this need is, you can bring it into awareness and let it go. The entertainment mind is our subconscious “gossip” and it has the need to be fed constantly this results in creating distractions. When we are distracted we won’ have to look at who we are, feel what we feel, see what we see, and so on.

The destabilizing factors:

Afflictions derived from anger: Wrath, vengeance (holding a grudge), spite, jealousy (envy), and harmfulness (cruelty).
Afflictions derived from attachment: Miserliness (holding on to possessions), complacency (haughtiness), and excitement (agitation).
Afflictions derived from ignorance: Concealment, dullness (foggy mind), laziness, lack of faith, forgetfulness, and non-introspective awareness (careless indifference).
Afflictions derived from both attachment and ignorance: Pretension, dishonesty.
Afflictions derived from all three poisonous attitudes: Lack of integrity, inconsideration for others, unconsciousness, distraction (a mental factor that arises from any of the three poisonous attitudes and being unable to direct the mind towards a constructive object disperses it to a variety of other objects).

Working with distractions is a long-term project and the spiritual journey is the path to unmasking. We have to start over by letting everything go. When we realize that everything around us is an illusion we can begin to relax and start to see a new way. Distraction can be annoying and frustrating, but they can also create awareness. The moment it arises the chance to break through to see what lies behind the distraction also arises which only adds to our spiritual growth. When you commit to what your soul wants, the karmic elements will start to lose its grip and fade away. Follow your soul, because this is where the light is and seek only what is meaningful to your spiritual journey.

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