Dealing with Life’s Distractions
It is a spectacular Florida winter morning. I am at the beach with a friend sitting on a wooden bench under the shade of a palm. We are quietly enjoying the natural panorama of sand, sea and sky. The temperature is perfect. The cloudless blue sky is perfect. The sun is sparkling on the ocean making it appear to be coated with diamonds. We sit filled with joy, just feeling the cool breeze and listening to the soft sound of the surf. A Tri-Colored Heron completes our waterfront sangha. But, we will soon be dealing with life’s distractions.
We are soaking up sunshine and warmth like sponges, aware that in some places winter days tend to be gray and cold. But here, this shining morning, the whole scene is perfect. Well, almost perfect.
Suddenly, I become aware of a nearby mechanical sound. It is a park ranger working with a leaf blower. He is clearing the pathway leading to the lighthouse, of leaves that have fallen during the past 24 hours. It is an important job and surely the pathway needs to be tidy. But why now? Why spoil the perfect morning?
I approach the ranger with a smile and inquire why he is not using a rake instead of a noisy af blower? “Well, I have a large amount of work and the blower is faster.” He explains, clearly understanding the issue behind my question. A large seagrape leaf swirls to the ground and I immediately sympathize with the impossibility of his chore. “It must be a never ending job.”
“I don’t mind.” He replies with a good-natured-shrug.
But is it the noise that is spoiling my enjoyment? Or is the real problem my resistance to the noise?
Loud noises attract our attention. That is just the way our brain and nervous system operates. But immediately following the nose likes/dislikes can arise. Its when we attach the label “dislike” that resistance appears which leads to a feeling that there is a problem. It is our resistance that’s the source of dissatisfaction.
Thru meditation practice we learn to focus our attention. We often use breath awareness but the focus can be on any sensation arising from present experience.
If we are not alert with our likes/dislikes and we attach a single dislike then even 99% perfect can end up feeling like a big dissatisfaction.
If I can listen to the sound of the leaf blower blower without judgment, without resistance then I am free to enjoy the moment. I still hear the blower along with all the other sounds but there is no contamination. The leaf blower sound is still there. I do not make an effort to block it out or push it away. I still enjoy the spectacular morning and it is still 100% perfect. Including the leaf blower. Thanks for reading and don’t let dealing with life’s distractions get in the way of your joy.
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Written by: Bill Durham