I have noticed something about my dog Sophie while we take our walks. She is constantly distracted. The movement of a leaf in the wind, a cat or ducks on the lake. Something is always taking her attention away from the task at hand, which is , taking a walk. Now I know this is the nature of dogs, but it reminds me of myself sometimes. I seem to be distracted a lot. I know a lot of other people are too. How often do we get in our cars and instead of concentrating on our driving we think about where we are going or what we’re going to do when we get there. Or we have the TV on but don’t watch it. We live lives of distraction.
I work in a medical laboratory. I’ll start setting up a blood test and the phone will ring. Then a coworker needs help. Or a “stat” sample comes in that has to be run first. I have to concentrate on many things at once. It’s exhasting and it seems to be more normal than it should. So how do we combat this “normal” way of life? Here is a tip to help us out of the madness.
Find a quiet room. I know that this can be a challange all by itself. Sit in a kitchen type chair with a reletivly straight back. Shake your arms and legs a little to loosen them up some. As you sit, concentrate on your breath. Feel the air flowing into your lungs, feel them expand. Now feel the air leave as you exhale. Do it again. Say to yourself, or even out loud, I breath in, I breath out. I breath in, I breath out. See how long it takes for your mind to wander. If you’re like me it will be mere seconds. But thats OK. When you realize your brain is taking a walk just bring it back to your breath. Do this for 5 minutes. That’s all. Just 5 minutes. Don’t worry about doing a great job right away. That comes with practice.
For those of you who don’t realize it, this is meditation. Now don’t get scared by thinking you’ll turn into a monk or something. This will help you get rid of the distraction in your life. As you practice this you will be able to go longer and do it better. Thats a good thing. Another type of meditation is called Mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply paying attention to what you are doing at the moment. When you wash dishes, just wash dishes. Pay attention to the dish washing. Nothing more. When you notice that you’re thinking about the laundry all of a sudden come back to the dishes. That’s it. Try it, and see how you do. A little less distraction in our lives can be a great thing.