The Weekly Dream: Distractions and Meditation
“The Best way to improve your mind is to pay attention”
Growing up, I developed the habit of studying with the radio on. Everyday, my mother would come into my room and turn it off. She did not believe that I could really study with the background noise. My grades did not suffer, so eventually, I was left alone. However, I cannot help but wonder if my grades could have been higher if I had whole-heartedly focused on my studies.
Today, we have so many things vying for our attention: iPods, radio, and cell phones. The sheer amount of noise is astounding; it is a miracle we can even hear ourselves think.
Once I realized this, I made a commitment after New Year’s to go two weeks without any distractions, mainly the radio. If it did not need to be on, I did not cut it on; only the bare necessities. At first, the silence was deafening. I experienced something like musical withdrawal. But as the time progressed, my mind became clearer and my memory improved. It was amazing.
I also began to set aside an hour each day just to think and reflect on my past experiences and give thanks. I found that I slept better and I was a happier person. I put distractions in their proper place.
What I am trying to say…
One of the thoughts I struggled with was why is so much that is learned so quickly forgotten. I think back to all the inspirational things I have read, all the things I have learned in school, all the sermons I have sat through and how much is lost between my ears. It did not make sense because the mind is the greatest computer ever created. I reached the conclusion that it is because we do not take the time to truly aggregate and consolidate the information.
We fail to give important things adequate attention (in the name of multi-tasking) and then take the extra step. What is the extra step? Meditation. I am not talking about chanting and taking on a yoga posture. I am talking about contemplation and rumination. I am talking about studying the truth. We must turn over truths in our mind over and over until it becomes fact, and then we can take action. Too often, we act before we believe. Then we wonder why our situation has not changed or why we loose heart when adversity comes. Our actions are out of order. We must first Be, then we Do, then we can Have. But before we can Be, we need to cement what we believe. And meditation is the process that allows this to happen. By meditation, knowledge becomes wisdom. It makes your beliefs real to you.
If you can wrap your hands around the truth, regardless of the situation, your confession of that truth will not change. This conceptthat took a while for me to grasp. If there is one thing I hated, it was repetition. I thought I was some sort of phenom who could master anything the first time. However, the things I truly mastered, I spent an tremendous amount of time on. As the saying goes “repetition is the mother of knowledge.”
Changing your reality
Contemplation of truths is an ancient practice. Every religion has some sort of meditation as a form of devotion. Unfortunately, it seems this practice has been lost in the modern era because it takes time. In order to do this, we must be willing to devote the time. This means our time management must be in order.
Once we have made that commitment, we must be diligent in eliminating all distractions and focusing all of our energy on the task at hand. Engage the materials, whether it is a spiritual text or your memory. Take the time to slow down and listen, you will get more out of life this way. Anything less is recreational. After all of this, you are ready to take action because you have formed your base.
Let’s take these articles for example. If you read these articles every week, you will get more out of them if you go back and reread them, think about them, and see what you agree with or disagree with. Engage yourself. I guarantee the experience will be more rewarding than just giving them a passing glance.
Once you got it, you got it
Aside from the time and the discipline, meditation is hard because it challenges us. Once we know the truth about our actions and motivations, we face the challenge to change. Do our lives reflect the truth we know? Self-examination is an uncomfortable process, but it is crucial if we are to progress to a higher level.
We can make it, it will just take time.
Truth and Peace,
Steven M. DeVougas