5-16-21 Emotional Distractions

Emotional Distractions

Distraction – To cause to turn away from the original focus of attention or interest. An amusement that distracts. Extreme mental or emotional disturbance.

“I don’t really need somewhere to stand outside of where I am. Which is lucky because there isn’t such a place. Not knowing where I am is intrinsic to creativity and innovation.” — John Tarrant

An ancient metaphor for how the hindrances obscure clarity of mind is a pond. When the pond is clean and the surface still, the water reflects our image (our true selves). The effect of sensual desire is like looking into a pond that has been dyed; we are predisposed to see unrealistically—that is, “seeing with rose-colored glasses.” When the heat of ill will is present, it is as if the pond water is boiling; no reflection is possible. Sloth and torpor are like having thick algae growing across the pond; again, no reflection is possible except by doing the difficult work of pulling out the algae. Anxiousness is like the wind churning up the pond’s surface. And doubt is like water filled with mud.
Because we tend not to see clearly when the hindrances are present, the Buddhist teachings strongly encourage people not to make decisions while under their influence. If possible, wait to make a decision when the mind is more settled or clear.

 “The hindrances operate in everyone; their presence is not a personal failing. Rather, it is useful to see their occurrence as an important opportunity to investigate them.” — Gil Fronsdal “Five Ways to Lose Your Mind,” www.lionsroar.com 

“Taking time to know myself was the most powerful process I’ve experienced, and being alone was the most authentic thing I’ve done. The more time I spent by myself, the more I got to know who I was and what I was about. And when I learned about myself, I found I no longer needed to distract myself from the parts of myself that I didn’t like.” — Ashley Ryan “Be More by Doing Less,” www.huffpost.com 

We can and should have a passion for something, which is wonderful, as long as it does not     become an obsession and we get emotionally attached to OUR (possessive) crusade.

We sometimes feel very emotional when someone we care about is hurting or harming themselves. If we get emotionally attached to their difficulty, we are in no better shape than they are and cannot be of any help. We can be compassionate, with a deep awareness of their suffering, and then be able to possibly be of help to them. Helping with just our presence is very powerful; we should not try to fix them, but can be available for them.

When we are able to bring the qualities we are trying to avoid into focus and quit fighting them, make friends with them, accept them as a part of who we are we find we can quit being distracted and be more gently focused. We can become so used to our distractions that we believe being distracted IS our natural state of mind, and mindlessly pursue those distractions while constantly grading how good or bad they are.

“Distraction is the very foundation of ego, the way we protect ourselves against both the pain of life and the open space of awakened mind. We look outward and blame external conditions for our (distractions). Distractions won’t ever disappear, but through meditation you can change how you react to them. We don’t just react to things outside us — we ourselves are continually      creating distractions. We cook them up and keep them going. They are our companions, our pets. Working with distractions is a long term project. A gradual wearing down process. If we truly pursue non-distraction we will end up with our utter aloneness, nothing to hang onto. In what seems to be a bleakness, we finally begin to relax. Christian stoics say you need to go through a dark night of the soul before entering into the presence of God.” — Judy Lief “The Dharma of Distraction,” www.lionsroar.org 

The essence is to not get rid of distractions but to be able to focus better on whatever you are doing, and when a distraction occurs to be OK with it, not to indulge or avoid what is occurring. To TRUST ourselves, as we are.

Buddhist definition of Distraction – When the natural flow of sense perception is joined with and tainted by our emotions.

“Beyond hope and fear, freed from success or failure, I’m learning what right action feels like, its clarity and energy. I still get angry, enraged, and frustrated. But I no longer want my activities to be driven by these powerful, destructive emotions. I’ve learned to pause, BREATHE, come back to the present moment, and calm down. This becomes possible when I become present in the moment, and clarity emerges undimmed by hope and fear. Then I act, from a place that has a broader vision of what is healthy, beyond my small self of grasping or avoiding. We then feel a deeper sense of groundlessness and are comfortable with that.” — Margaret Wheatley “The Place Beyond Fear and Hope,” margaretwheatley.com

We all have emotional times in our lives, great joys and deep sorrows. These are a part of being human and feeling. More often, we create emotional states that are a result of our perception of our ego being attacked. We may retreat and shut down, or react in an aggressive way. This is a harmful use of our emotions and comes from being too out of balance, not trusting and believing in ourselves and our basic goodness, and not feeling worthy.

Emotions are a reminder that we may need to address an issue. We learn it’s best not to do so while we are hooked by the emotion; rather to be bring ourselves into a calm state and use some of our natural wisdom and compassion to make a decision that has consideration for all involved, and not swayed by someone else’s aggression or fear. It may mean we do nothing, which can show true strength.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for

May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com