Listening to Sacred Stillness: We Leave Our Distractions Behind

Listening to Sacred Stillness: We Leave Our Distractions Behind June 19, 2018

We Leave Our Distractions Behind

Can we leave our distractions behind?

Our lives are filled with bright, shiny objects diverting us from where we say we want to go. We set out to explore and discover our true selves but then change course along the way. All our good intentions do not seem to help us stay on the path we have chosen.

Just when we commit ourselves to living heathy lives we notice a new place which offers great banana splits.

Things are only getting more challenging. We carry around in our pockets enough distractions for several days. Our minds continue to remind us of puzzles which distract us from deeper questions. It is harder and harder for us to pay attention to the bigger picture, to what is important.

We feel torn between what we urgently need to do and what is important to us. Urgent tasks seem to take priority over the long run. Again and again urgent responsibilities cry out for our attention and distract us from what is important.

Our frustration grows as we see our time and effort slipping away. We put so much of ourselves into whatever demands our involvement right now, this moment.

In the rare moments when we complete all our urgent duties we realize we are exhausted. We have spent ourselves to catch up, to clear our desks. We just want to be entertained and get some rest before it all begins again in the morning.

Is it possible for us to leave our distractions behind us, even for just a few minutes?

Will we ever have the time and energy to focus our attention on what is important to us?

How Not to Leave Our Distractions Behind

When we listen to sacred stillness we leave our distractions behind.

Our practice is finding a way, for at least a short period of time, of not paying attention to distractions. There continue to be distractions, even after years of experience.

We are not battling against distractions or trying to eliminate them. It is more helpful, and more healthy, to treat distractions in a friendly way.

Distractions have lessons to teach us as we practice not being distracted by them.

Things which distract us are not our main problem. Rather than trying to overcome them or wishing they would go away, distractions have lessons to teach us. Can we let distractions go by and not be engaged with them right now?

There will be plenty of time later to reflect on the lessons our distractions have for us.

We convince ourselves we can concentrate our way past distractions. When we are solving a problem, we need to “keep our eye on the ball.”

Listening to sacred stillness, contemplation, is not a problem to be solved.

Our relationship to sacred stillness is not about concentrating more. We are opening ourselves more and more deeply to the truths in sacred stillness. It is much more about being still ourselves than about working hard to discover those truths.

One of the keys to our practice of listening to sacred stillness is reminding ourselves of what we are doing. We are not simply taking a deep breath and relaxing. Contemplation is not about taking a nap.

We are opening our truest selves to the deep spiritual truths in the world and within us. As we leave our distractions behind we allow these truths to wash over us.

Why We Leave Our Distractions Behind

What are our reasons for wanting to avoid getting distracted? Why do we want to spend our time in contemplation in the first place?

Are we trying to convince ourselves, or other people, we are spiritual people? Do we want to prove to ourselves we can do this? What is the point of listening to sacred stillness anyway?

Being honest about our reasons for a practice of listening to sacred stillness is essential.

We need to understand and remember why we are doing what we are doing. Our practice of contemplation smooths away the ways we are trying to fool ourselves. We can only be as honest with sacred stillness as we are honest with ourselves.

No one wants a relationship based on confusion or dishonesty and our contemplative relationship is no exception. We are seeking real connection and real depth, and so is sacred stillness. Why would we spend this time and effort trying to mislead each other?

We desire to truly know and to be known. Sacred stillness wants to know us and to be known by us. As our relationship grows deeper we gain more and more honesty.

We become more honest by leaving our distractions behind.

Beginning to Leave Our Distractions Behind

When we are honest we admit we will never completely leave our distractions behind.

Whenever we practice listening to sacred stillness our minds seem to kick into a higher gear. It is as if our brains read not having an immediate problem to solve as a problem. They start generating things for us to think about.

Our practice of listening to sacred stillness is about deciding when we will think and when we will not.

We are not trying to turn our minds off completely. As we listen to sacred stillness, we are open to something deeper, something more.

We pay more and more of our attention to sacred stillness and leave our distractions behind.

As we listen we are reminded of why we are listening. We become more honest with ourselves and with the sacred stillness. Our practice of contemplation shows us how to leave our distractions behind and accept real life.

We listen and learn how life really works. The life around us, the life within us, is all the same life. The life in the world flows from a common source and we live in relationship to it.

Our connection to the source is primal and nothing can distract us.

How does it feel when we leave our distractions behind?

When will we leave our distractions behind this week?

[Image by ralphhogaboom]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and leadership coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and university professor, and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is, and his email address is

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