Challenges Make the Mind…OH LOOK, SHINY! : Journey of Gratitude – Day 10

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for

Guiding Thought

Love is always with me. I focus my whole Self on being entirely with Love. I tune out distractions and place my entire focus on simply being with the Love that is always with me. This is the return. This is eternal Comfort and Peace: Being with Love, as Love is with me.


In the distractions of modern life, it can be difficult to just be, much less, to just be with Love. I think sometimes about monks or sadhus or anyone who has devoted their life to just being with Love. Sometimes I wish I had that life. How nice it would be to not have to fight against distractions! But then I think…”No… I like my life.” Being a monk is not what I am here to do… >and I pause and think about my life, really feeling the truth of “I like my life”…<

I practice Shiva Nata (link to practices/shiva nata page), the dance of Shiva, which is a sequence of spiral arm movements in different patterns. It’s sort of like rubbing your belly and patting your head, but 100 times more complex. One of the benefits of the practice is to disrupt embedded patterns of the mind, so the mind gets used to unexpected shifts and patterns, and that carries over into daily life.

One of the teachings of Shiva Nata is that if it’s too easy, you’re not growing. If it’s too easy, your mind has become accustomed to a pattern, fallen into a routine, and is no longer growing in new ways. It’s all about always changing it up: Stand on one foot! Breathe in on alternate movements! Find a word to say with each different position (and remember them!)! Hop up and down! Spin in a circle! Make it fun! At the end of a practice session, which only needs to be 5 or 10 minutes, sometimes it feels like my brain has been jumbled (in a good way).

I was reminded of this teaching about “If it’s too easy, you’re not growing” as I was doing today’s Guiding Thought, because I was finding it very difficult to be with Love. I was sitting there, being with Love, and my arm became uncomfortable, so I had to move it…then I had an itch…then my leg cramped…then I had to shift my butt…and all of these little discomforts took me away from just being, and I knew it. So I dragged my mind/body back to focus…repeatedly.

Today’s practice was a microcosm. When I am out there in the world, and I have so many other distractions, recognizing a distraction reminds me to reel myself back in, drag my mind/body back to focusing on what is real, what I want, to be with Love always.

I also realized that I like to experience challenges. I mean…sometimes I don’t like it, because challenges can feel really uncomfortable, sometimes threatening, and sometimes really scary. But I like challenges because I can feel myself growing and getting stronger, overcoming them or distractions more and more in daily life. I can only handle the challenges I have today because I successfully took on challenges in the past.

I think sometimes even people on a spiritual path can get complacent about growth. They reach a certain place where life works pretty well, the meditation (or whatever) keeps them in balance, their emotions are in equanimity, they can handle pretty much everything that comes their way…and why not? This feels good. I know I like it when life buzzes along effortlessly. Like I said, how nice it is to not have to fight against distractions.

I realized that distractions keep me focused on what I want, which is…Being my whole self with Love. Distractions keep me vigilant and diligent to always keep my mind focused on Love, on the One Will. Distractions keep me working; they keep me always expanding so I can always handle more.

Today, I am thankful for my distractions and my challenges keeping me focused and reminding me to continue returning to eternal comfort and peace.