Distraction from the Present


Being Fully Present - The Power of Now

In seeking balance these last few days I’m really beginning to notice how much I rely on distractions.  Silence is not something I handle well.  I always have the radio or the television or a movie or a book or anything besides silence.  When I really consider this, the scary idea occurs that I don’t want to be alone with myself.  This reminds me a lot of Eckart Tolle.

In my effort to distract myself I’ve been listening to The Power of Now audiobook (which I absolutely recommend).  Tolle’s turning point came when he hit rock bottom and thought “I can’t live with myself anymore.”  Suddenly he discovered that this statement itself assumes two people.  The “I” and the “self” that he cannot live with.  It seems only one of these people is the true him and the other is just an ego.  I’ll skip through a lot of the explanation here and just jump to Tolle’s hypothesis – that all of our problems (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual) are because we associate ourselves with our ego – the mind.  Now, hang with me here, I know it’s getting kind of meta.

In The Power of Now Tolle suggests we simply pay attention to that rambling id we call the mind.  He says we’ve actually become addicted to thinking.  It’s an addiction because we feel powerless against it and it’s negatively impacting our lives.  The act of simply paying attention to when we begin thinking of anything besides the present moment helps us take back the power from these negative thoughts.  What he is saying is that when we are truly present, negative thoughts do not exist.  Ask yourself “what is lacking at this very moment?”  The answer is always nothing.

So…what does this have to do with me and my skin?  Um.  My instinct tells me it has a lot to do with.  I’m still working on the exact connection.  Here are some thoughts.

I’m compelled to constantly distract myself because I’m doing exactly what Eckart Tolle says – I’m protecting myself from my harmful thinking patterns.  These thinking patterns create anxiety, cortisol, and eventually lead to an imbalance in my hormones and my skin.  I’m avoiding my pessimistic thought patterns in a way that is unsustainable, and perhaps not super healthy.  My thoughts are my addiction and I feel like if I can’t stop them, I can at least temporarily redirect them to a movie or story.  This in itself isn’t such a bad thing – but when I become addicted to it, as I have in the last few days – it becomes a crutch.

Instead, I shall try to find more of a balance.  Instead of distracting myself from my thoughts, at least part of the day I will take Tolle’s advice and simply be present.  There’s no way to be anxious if I am present.  I’m only worried about the past or the future.  But never the now.  And the only thing I will ever have – the only thing anyone will ever have – is the now.

Intention: To cut down on the distractions and focus on being fully present.

Affirmation: I set healthy and loving boundaries with myself and others.

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