Unsolicited distraction may be unavoidable, but intentional inattention isn’t
While doing things that require concentration, we are sometimes interrupted by unsolicited distractions. For example, while we are meditating on Krishna’s holy names, someone may want to talk urgently with us.
Such distractions may be unavoidable, yet they may disturb the rhythm that underlies our concentration. Consequently, we may get exasperated and give up our efforts to concentrate. We may start looking for distractions while perfunctorily getting through our prescribed meditation time or quantity.
Unavoidable interruption is disturbing, but intentional inattention is far more damaging. Why? Because therein we actively seek distractions. Whereas earlier we were at least trying to concentrate, now we are not trying at all. Instead, by seeking diversions, we are trying to not concentrate. Intentionally inattentive meditation doesn’t benefit us much; it may even offend the Lord whom we are invoking and then neglecting.
How can we prevent disturbances from disheartening us? By understanding that even if we can’t remove external distractions, we can resist our inner distractibility. The Bhagavad-gita (06.26) recommends that whenever the mind wanders, we re-focus it, patiently and determinedly. When we repeatedly focus the mind on Krishna, that focus pacifies, satisfies and purifies. It pacifies because he is the unchanging Absolute Truth, the source of all security. It purifies because he is the all-pure, all-purifying supreme reality. It satisfies because he is the all-attractive reservoir of all pleasure. Over time, the pacified, purified and satisfied mind accepts that focusing on Krishna is life’s most joyful activity, and this acceptance curbs and cures its distractibility.
By meditating on the pacification, purification and satisfaction that await us, we can get the conviction to persevere amidst distractions. Why let those distractions activate our distractibility, thereby perpetuating and aggravating it? Why indeed, when we can diligently focus on Krishna, confident that such diligence can heal that distractibility?
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