Jan 27 • 5M

Shift Distraction

 
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OnePerfect Shift is an audio letter from a psychologist that shifts you into a better state of mind anytime. Each post gives you a fresh look at your relationship to your mind and reminds you how much control you can have over your life experience.

Hi there,

Let’s take a long, deep breath.

Why does meditation give me stress?

I hear that question frequently. It's a helpful one to understand if you're interested in making changes to your inner experience.

The basic answer is that most of us cope with our stress by distracting ourselves — by moving our mind and body to something different from the experience of stress that can arise into our mind and body when we sit still, and listen, and feel.

Meanwhile, meditation does the reverse of that.

Meditation asks you to sit, and feel, and experience the present moment fully — whatever arises.

To take a deep breath…

…and notice everything that's going on in the present moment — without judging it, or shifting away from it.

That includes observing the feelings in your body — what you see, what you feel, what thoughts are flowing through your mind.

And maybe even noticing how those thoughts are connected to the emotions, such as the anxiety that might arise in your body during meditation.

It is only after you do that for a while, that the anxiety you may notice when you meditate — the anxiety that creates that desire to get up and move and distract yourself — will start to fade somewhat.

At that point, you will have taken massive control over your life experience because you’re becoming more able to operate from presence when you choose to, instead of from avoidance, or reacting with mental distraction.

One of the unfortunate aspects of meditation is having to go through a little discomfort in order to get more in touch with presence.

It would be nice if we didn't have to go through that, but we wouldn't do it if we didn't have a need to — if there were not some catalyst for us to go internal and come into this moment.

It’s true for most people, at least originally, our movement toward meditation is driven by a perceived need for increasing wellness or performance in our lives.

So let's take another deep breath.

And see if we can sit for one minute without reacting to the urge to be distracted — without taking our cue from that impulse to avoid the present moment.

Let’s just feel, and be, and know the present moment as perfect.

There's nothing wrong right now.

We're together.

We're here.

We can take a deep breath and come into peace and presence together.

We can come into presence anytime we choose.

Let's sit together for one minute.

100% of your attention listening to life.

Listening.

Noticing.

Feeling.

Alright, perfect.

How was that for you?

Did you notice any anxiety?

Were you able to come fully into presence to subsume that anxiety?

I hope so.

Keep it up.

The more you practice, the more able you will become to shift out of any distractions that arise in your inner world, that you’ll inevitably be confronted with — and return back to presence.

Pro Tip — “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is compos sui [master of himself] if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.” William James, Psychology: Briefer Course, p. 424 (Harper Torchbooks, 1961)

All right, have a great day.

Talk to you soon.

Sean


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