Protecting Yourself from the Distraction Virus

Protecting Yourself from the Distraction Virus
by Starcat

Our computer has one of those programs that protects it from random internet viruses. When you go to a new website, or one you haven’t visited in a while, you have to click to “allow” that website to be fully viewed. This morning, as I clicked to allow the Treeleaf Zendo meditation site, it got me thinking that we human beings should have such a boundary protector for our psyches. It would help keep us on the path we choose, rather than being distracted by extraneous energies.

One obvious example is “the news.” The media’s portrayal of what is important is often rather negative, and can be pervasive in our society. You might think that you need to keep up with it in order to be a good citizen, so you pay attention to it when it comes on in your surroundings, or even seek it out. If you don’t enjoy it, but endure it anyway, like a young child eating the hated spinach or broccoli, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider. You’re probably already doing things in your life that you feel are helping humanity and the planet, like volunteering, recycling, giving to causes you believe in, voting, and sending prayers or good energies. So you have the good citizen thing down pat. Why not let your filter work for you, and skip “the news?”

I realize it might sound like I’m endorsing staying in a bubble, or only encountering things that you’re already familiar with. Not so. In order to grow and learn, it’s vital to take in new ideas and experiences. I’m not advocating shutting those out, but only being conscious of what we’re choosing. If it resonates with you or piques your interest, by all means allow it! Going off on a tangent can lead to new realms of creativity and enthusiasm. Follow your heart, and if you’re buoyed up by what you’re doing, carry on. If you feel bogged down or sluggish, you might want to repair your boundaries a bit.

Another big example is someone else’s TV or radio use. If you live with others, they might be watching or listening to something and you suddenly find yourself sitting there entranced. Again, if it feels good, go with it. But if you’re watching a show just because it’s on, know that you have a choice. You can allow it into your consciousness, or ignore it and go on your way. Some people seem to have difficulty ignoring media when they’re in the same room. If that’s the case for you, politely ask your family member or roommate to use headphones, or negotiate such that one of you can go to another room. Be respectful to them, but also know that you are in charge of your own attention, and you deserve support as you learn to create your own boundaries.