Meditation is the art of freeing yourself from distraction. Focus your mind on the present to transcend the confines of the world around you. Life’s ups and downs happen all around. Highs and lows. Finding your place in the world and understanding yourself is a lifelong pursuit. Meditation is a timeless tool to free yourself from distraction and feel at ease in your circumstances.
Distraction is omnipresent. There’s no escape because it exists primarily in your mind. Consider this the next time you are working and are tempted to check social media or get a snack. Distractions are everywhere and easily accessible, but you have the power to focus on your task without seeking distraction. This example, focusing on work without checking your phone, is a way to understand distraction from your worldly point-of-view. But what if you take it one step further and use the example as a metaphor for distraction from the connection between yourself and the universe? Awareness of the oneness between yourself and the universe is Samadhi, the ultimate intention of meditation and yoga.
The confines of social obligations continually disrupt the sense of ease that meditation provides. You meditate to find ease within the trappings of society, but along the way you will discover that every task you do, regardless of how “important” it seems is actually a distraction from a universal connection. The challenge is that you must live a worldly existence, replete with jobs and experiences. The trick is to accept those distractions into your life gracefully. Find balance between meditating and living your life.
The myth of the wise man sitting on top of the mountain is an archetype of escape from the confines of society. The story exists in the collective canon as a way to illustrate meditation as a transcendent and literal state of being. But glorifying meditation in this unlikely scenario is a hyperbolic way of viewing the practice. Literally escaping the trappings of society and its accompanying distractions, frustrations and sorrows isn’t necessary because meditation provides an avenue to metaphorically escape the confines of the mind. Use meditation as a tool to control your reactions. Meditation teaches you how to acknowledge yourself, understand your intrinsic value and accept who you are in this present moment – without having to live out your days in solitary reflection on top of a mountain.
There are many techniques for meditation. Examine and practice them all. The two described here are mindfulness and heart-cultivation. Mindfulness is useful for curing your constant quest for distraction. Heart cultivation is a technique for teaching yourself to embrace benevolent love – for yourself and for everyone around you.