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Lions Roar : May 2014
Mindfulness meditation, also known as calm abiding, helps us develop a more calm and stable mind. It gives us greater focus and concentration and is an effective way of overcoming ordinary distractedness. However, in terms of the spiritual path, this pragmatic application of meditation practice is only a start. It is important to realize that in the buddhadharma, the point of working with your distractedness or wandering mind is not just to be more focused on whatever you are doing. Although that is extremely useful, it is only the first step. getting a better handle on your mind so you are not tossed about by distractedness is just a palliative measure. Basically, we tend to like spiritual practices that are not too threatening, practices that confirm what we are doing and help us do it better. Instead of looking into our fun- damental being, we prefer to relate to meditation as a self- improvement exercise, like going to the gym and working out. We can then bask in the satisfaction of becoming more mentally and physically fit. This is great, but it does not come close to addressing the depths of what distraction is really about. When distractions come up we can deal with them, but we need to look deeper. What really fuels our distractedness? What is behind this ongoing restlessness? Embarking on the dharmic path requires that we develop the courage to look beyond our distractedness to what lies behind it. It requires us to question what distraction is really about, what we are distracting ourselves from and why. On this path we need to pare away, layer by layer, every level of distraction until we reach a kind of ground zero. entertainment Mind According to Buddhist psychology, distraction is classified, along with such things as laziness and inattentiveness, as one of the twenty destabilizing factors of the mind. In Sanskrit this factor is called vikshepa. It arises when the natural flow of sense perceptions is joined with and tainted by our emotions. It’s easy to think external stimuli are the problem. But noises are just noises, sights are just sights, smartphones are just smartphones. Megatron Matrix by Nam June Paik PHOTOBySMITHSONIANAMERICANARTMUSEUM,WASHINgTON,D.C./ARTRESOURCE,N.y. SHAMBHALA SUN MAy 2014 45