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Monday, June 29, 2015

Distractions to the Soul

Deepak Chopra and I come from different parts of the world. His upbringing and mine both included spiritual teaching. We are not on the same “path,” although some might believe we are.

Chopra seems to have inspired many to consider spiritual things, including meditation and prayer. In a world filled with distractions, it is wise counsel to learn the beauty of keeping focused on the right things. And a recent article by Deepak Chopra centers the discussion properly.

It’s titled, “Holding Focus - Why You Need This Awareness Skill.” Anyone holding a job that moves at a fast pace, has many potential interruptions and includes a higher degree of pressure, would benefit by reading this. That is, if you can focus long enough to read it.

Chopra argues that most often it is not IQ or brilliant creativity that leads a person to success. He advocates awareness skills. Specifically, focus and clear intention.

Focus enables us to have steady attention. One-pointed intention. Goal achievement is rewarded in our culture, and people who zero in on their best goals with focus are more likely to succeed.

His second point is clear intention. This, too, made sense to me. Multitasking is so common today. Chopra says, “Knowing what you want, uncomplicated by confusion, is clear intention. Your brain obeys clear intentions more easily than confused intentions.”

I’ve seen the effects of focused attention in helping deal with panic. Getting the mind redirected on something specific and holding that in place helped me in earlier years get though panic attacks. It works.

But I’ve determined to apply focus in another direction. My previous job ended in an unanticipated way. I was given walking papers as a “retiree”—even though I didn’t want to retire. Obviously, in a situation like that, it can be tempting to allow resentment to take hold in the soul. I determined not to do that—in prayer and by conscious thought.

Then, when I received my call to a new job, I set another objective. I asked for spiritual help to “keep me focused on my assignment.” It is something for which I still pray on a recurring basis. Why? Because there are a plethora (I love that word) of opportunities to look back, or make judgments, or find any number of other distractions that keep me from achieving what I’m now assigned to do. Staying focused on my new role is a much more peaceful and enjoyable way to live.

Chopra goes on to mention both prayer and meditation in his piece. Both are highly valuable for the practice of focus and clear intention. The dividing point for Deepak and myself would be how we center our meditation, and our understanding of the God of the universe. I’m not sharing this to be critical. But we are different.

The Bible is a good guide book on this subject as well. Proverbs 4:25-27 reads, “Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” (The Message)

As for the distraction of resentment, here’s another piece of advice. It’s found in Hebrews 12:15. “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” (NLT) Bottom line on resentment and bitterness…don’t go there.

So if you want to increase productivity, achieve success in the things that matter most to you, and find healing for your soul, learn and practice those two awareness skills: focus and clear intention.

Oooh. I have to go. Squirrel!!!

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