One of the core principles of mindfulness meditation is to participate without additional effort. The aim is to relax into awareness. When you get distracted, you don’t force your attention back, you invite it.
It’s designed like this so we don’t load effort and stress back into the system. When we lose our way, we don’t beat yourself up about it – because that doesn’t help. We just acknowledge the distraction and come back to the focus.
But this approach doesn’t have to be limited to meditation – it’s applicable to almost everything we do. There aren’t too many activities where we couldn’t benefit from a state of relaxed, flow and focus. And just as with meditation we don’t achieve that state by loading our stress and effort back into the system.
Whether we’re writing an essay or washing up, we’re bound to get distracted or bored or frustrated. What matters is not that we got distracted, but what we do next – how we respond.
If we can return to focus by gentle invitation and not loaded with frustration, stress and disappointment then we have a much better chance of a successful outcome.