Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What's Your Distraction?

Over the last few months I have relied heavily on the podcasts of a spiritual teacher named Jonathan Foust. His wife, Tara Brach, also earns her keep by teaching people how to live more meaningful lives in accordance with what Buddha said. They hold classes in Washington, D.C. at the Insight Meditation Center, as well as retreats at various spiritual centers around the country and abroad. Each of them has, at one time or another, been an effective life preserver when my strength, courage and resolve were AWOL, replaced by fear and anxiety.

This morning I listened to a talk by Jonathan entitled "Practicing at Your Edge and Your Path to Balance." In it he focuses on the power of truthful self-assessment and the importance of identifying your patterns of resistance. He says if you are committed to transformation, to becoming happier and having less anxiety, it all boils down to these two words: "Keep going."

I can't praise him enough, but as I listened to Jonathan this morning, in the wake of the horror of last weekend's Orlando shootings, I realized that really what he offers people is distraction. And there is so much we all need to be distracted from, it's not funny. I can only speak for myself but I am willing to bet you too are sick and tired of hearing about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Islamic terrorism and four more years and third party candidates and suicide bombings and the NRA and the FBI and guns or no guns and all the rest of it. Then too, there is the "Big One" we all need distraction from, which is our own death and the death of everyone we know and love, which will surely happen in no particular order and at any time, like even in the next ten minutes. (Better hold onto the railing going down the stairs.)

Finding distractions from life's certain truths pretty much occupies us every minute of every day. Yesterday I bought a bag of potato chips for the first time in like ten years just to see if it would do the trick. It didn't. Either did the ice cream cone last night after dinner, just because it was a lovely night and the corner custard stand is open until nine in summer. Clarifying for myself that food is not the answer, I am about to get into the hot tub for a soak, then start a new painting. If those activities don't work, there's always another podcast or yoga class or massage or meeting to attend or report to write or movie to watch or dinner to cook or bike ride or road trip or video game or mountain to climb or 10K to run or room to redecorate or sailboat race or bridge tournament or .....well, you get the idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment