Some thoughts on tackling distraction, the creative power of space and the discipline of stopping


My thought today is about developing the capacity for conscientious actions.

What do I mean by that?

It is simply a question of how we guide our own mind towards our own truth.

We want the world to change, but so often are unwilling to engage in the simply activity of observing ourselves.

One of the most fallow areas of the modern world is our distraction. We are on the phone permanently. We are constantly surfing, flicking, skimming, browsing, semi-engaging. There is a sense we need to be in lock-step with the buzz.

And of course the great sacrifice is our own thought. We are so deep in our distraction, so dominated by our compulsions, that perhaps it never even occurs to us to switch off. And switching off is not about being exhausted and hungover and deciding to watch Netflix or browse online.

It is about being with our being. Taking notice of what is there. How often do we really do this?

Our society is so dominated by the narrative that we must be productive, that we must “do” something, tick off our lists, “achieve” something, “make something of ourselves” that we have forgotten the delight of simple being, or even how to be.

So often we are so busy in the pursuit of something that we forget the “why” we are doing something; if there ever was a why.

Since I came back from my last journey in the States, I’ve allowed my life to slow. For the first time in many years. A part of that decision is that I am well aware of the illusions of perpetual motion. As the old adage goes “travel and you see difference, stay in one place and see change”.

Simply put, I have needed to allow things to slow in order to gain new perspectives. And a part of that has been to step off the crazy train, and spend some time with my own thought.

And a part of that adventure, has been to get to a place of quiet so that those thoughts can emerge.

The most interesting part of the journey so far, has been how long it has taken both to slow, and for those lovely little insights to emerge. It is as if they won’t grow unless you really do allow them the space too.

So the act of stopping has been a discipline in itself, paradoxical as that may seem.

There is just something so joyful for now just to say “I am within life”.

I have the sense of something forming in me, and right now, the most important thing is to simply let it form. Not to push it, or force it. Yes, there is something emerging. But to allow it to emerge itself, rather than permanently trying to excavate it, feels something new.

Anyway, enough “doing” – I’m off for a wander!


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