The world as it is right now serves as one of the best environments for distracting oneself in the history of mankind.
We live in the information age, a time where entertainment, mental and visual representations of ideas (aka. memes) and thoughts in general can be distributed freely and to an enormous audience, no matter how pointless or superficial they may be.
We live in an age where the transportation of ideas and thoughts has become nearly instantaneous, where the ability to jump into a virtual reality with environments seemingly far more palpable than our actual meat-space has become easier than ever.
We live in an era where jumping from one thought train to the next, never reaching any deep conclusions about anything has become the norm, not the exception.
On an individual scale, distractions can range from mindless entertainment, to drugs, alcohol and superficial conversation. Nowadays, the idea of individuals being endlessly distracted by completely inane and trivial, at times almost completely pointless pursuits and past-times, is a very common occurrence and is almost seen as something normal.
For a very clear and lucid experience of this one need not go farther than oneself and their own escapism, but if you wish to see this in the world outside you (and you live in a country where technology is at least relatively abundant), simply go on a ride with your local bus or subway. What you will see is people completely engrossed in their smartphones, often times with their ear-plugs in, completely distracted and dissociated from the reality outside of them. People that wish to block themselves out from reality, from the present moment – and ultimately, from themselves.
On the macro level of our society, distractions can often take the form of the mindless production and consumption of unnecessary goods, the advertising and entertainment industry at large, the media and its propaganda, as well as through blatant political distractions, including war and general conflict.
The Deeper Nature of Distraction
But let’s look at an important issue here – what exactly is a distraction and what is it distracting you from? And how do I personally define it in terms of what I’ve written and the examples I’ve given?
Fundamentally, I would define a distraction as something that moves one away from what they truly desire, what their truest will and determination is – be that a will to create, to explore, to discover, to experience any aspect of our manifested world. Whatever distracts you to any great degree from your core desires and intentions and makes you wallow aimlessly in the shallows of life, is a distraction. It is a distraction ultimately from yourself, for who you are and what your will and intent are in this world are inseparable.
Our society is thus largely a distraction from you knowing yourself and following the path that is derived from such self-understanding. Understanding yourself, knowing yourself, accepting yourself unconditionally all go hand in hand. But what also goes hand in hand with those concepts and contemplations is your ability to be internally fulfilled, happy, at peace. It is your ability to find meaning and purpose in this life and to live a life worth living. As Socrates said – “The unexamined life is not worth living”. A life where you are endlessly distracted away from knowing yourself makes you endlessly tread the waters of superficiality, thus making you lose any form of depth. And only through depth will you find a sense of meaning, purpose, peace and fulfillment.
On the ultimate level, our world can so often be a distraction from realizing your deepest self, that aspect of you which is in unity with the rest of reality. Through knowing, accepting and understanding your current scope of identity, ranging from the body to the mind, you start treading down the rabbit-hole of self-realization. The more you understand yourself and embrace yourself on any level, the more you slowly discover that in a deeper sense, who you are is not only a manifestation of the personal, but also the impersonal and transcendent. Your sense of being an individual will remain, both on the worldly (ego) and transcendent (soul) level. Even the sense of your story and ego which are a part of you in the form based world will be there, yet you will understand now more deeply that who you are also that which is beyond, the All playing the game of being both One and Many simultaneously. This paradox of paradoxes cannot be explained well linguistically, neither is it fundamentally necessary to explain it through the intellect.
Once you come to a deeper understanding of yourself as multi-layered or something we could even call multi-dimensional, the game of the world will impact you less, while you will gain the insight and ability to create a more harmonious existence for you and all. None of this will come over-night, but the journey of self-discovery is always worth its effort.
Explore yourself, come to know yourself, but also embrace your experience, who you are and trust yourself. Through this you will move ever deeper into yourself, as the surface levels of ego dissolve, leaving you with a deeper experience of yourself as an individual, as well as your unity with the all.
Look within and understand yourself, then accept what you find, allow it so simply be as it is, allow yourself to be as you are. From understanding and accepting yourself, right thoughts will follow, coupled with right action. The kind that will lead you deeper to the freedom that you ultimately already are.
“Try being alone, without any form of distraction, and you will see how quickly you want to get away from yourself and forget what you are. That is why this enormous structure of professional amusement … is so prominent a part of what we call civilization. If you observe, you will see that people the world over are becoming more and more distracted, increasingly sophisticated and worldly… Because we are inwardly empty, dull, mediocre, we use our relationships and our social reforms as a means of escaping ourselves.”
(1st image) – Mabel Amber, still incognito… from Pixabay