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Suzette Jones, Mindfulness instructor
Slippers, Sherman & Distraction; meditation with a Mindful tortoise.
Take a moment to be a human being, not a human doing!
I wake late this morning and opening the blinds, a bright blue sky, interrupted only by the fading contrails of an aeroplane flying high in the heavens, greets me.
Distracted by my lateness, need for caffeine, the growing to-do list of the day, my morning meditation appears to be a frivolity which should be discarded. This timeless practice of silence & stillness which intrigues so many, I know will increase the quality and time of my day, I take time. Time to meditate.
Joined by house tortoise Sherman snuggling in-between my firmly planted feet on the floor I sit to meditate. Back upright, face muscles relaxed and breathing down my shoulders I open to the day, this time of being, this time of Mindfulness, of meditative prayer.
Though not for long, distraction beckons as my eyes come to rest on a pair of novelty shaped Teacup slippers abandoned by the sofa. In a moment my mind has recognised what they are, composed my future conversation with the offending owner, recalled the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast, and marvelled at how in the blink of an eye our busy minds allow these thoughts to dance across the ballroom of life. I resume my meditation. Distraction, however, comes quickly in a second jig. Sherman too has seen the offending footwear. Quickstepping towards them, with lightning speed he clashes side on, turning one upside down exposing its grey rubber sole. I watch spellbound as he inspects his handiwork and meanders positively back to my feet to take up his former position. Meditation resumes, my breath quiet’s and I float my mantra on each in-breath and each out-breath. This breath, my Mantra - Come Lord. Distraction reappears!
Sherman cannot allow the slippers to rest, he repeats his previous attack, not once but twice, the slippers have now both been turned upside-down and pushed under the sofa, he returns, then settles, but once more he rushes across the floor for another encounter.
Sometimes, often, when we sit to meditate, confident we are in a tranquil place, with clear and open minds, the conga of distractions sweeps in. Like Sherman drawn to the slippers, thoughts past, present and future waltz before us, beckoning us to join the dance. We feel compelled to rush in, examine, turn upside-down and look at what lies beneath. We cannot leave alone and repeatedly return trying to change, push away, hide with recriminations, regret, and remorse.
By accepting the thoughts, acknowledging, and then allowing them to softly glide away or just sit on the side-line, we can return gently and firmly to our breath, Mantra, prayer words. If the mind wanders a thousand times, then a thousand times with compassion and love for self, return to the breath, to the Mantra, to the word...
The slippers eventually found their proper home. Sherman and I returned to our usual space for our morning meditation, though distraction beckoned me in the words of the song, ‘The Tale as Old as Time’ floating through my mind!
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