318: That wee Devil of Distraction

Have you ever been driving only to find yourself at your destination with absolutely no recollection of a large chunk of the journey? Maybe you got yourself something to eat and when looking for another bite realised you had in fact finished the whole thing. What about while you are cooking you get distracted by the TV and end up burning something. These are all fairly common sign posts that you have been distracted. Living your life in a distracted manner has some disadvantages. It makes your life journey something to be missed. If you are eating and reading then you are missing the eating. If you are not listening to a loved one talk you are missing whatever flower they are offering you.

The movie ‘The Way’ is a story of one man’s journey to find himself as he navigates the The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. In Chinese the word ‘Dao’ means the way, or journey. Dao is the path we are on. Often we go through life as if the path we are on is just a stepping stone to where we think we are going. We believe that each mundane task we perform has no meaning but to get us to the destination we are seeking.

Dao means what we are doing right now is the way. Just like the walkers on the pilgrimage in the movie, it was the act of walking itself that was life, not trying to get to the end. Bringing mindful attention to what we are eating, cooking, saying or listening to IS the way. This is life. By not being mindful of the simple things on our path, by becoming distracted, we lose our connection to what is right in front of us.

If we miss what is right in front of us, we miss our life.

Practice for today: Whatever path you are on today take a moment to become really aware of what it is you are doing. If it is the dishes take a moment to feel your hands in the soapy water. If it is a child talking to you just listen. There is nothing else you need to add to that moment.

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