Address the distraction head on

March 31, 2016 | 14 comments

I was speaking to an audience of a hundred people or so in a large auditorium, and part way through my talk a muted clicking noise started to recur every few seconds somewhere out in the audience. I’ve had people’s hearing aids act up in the past, cell phones chime, watches go off, and candy wrappers be noisily unwrapped, so the distraction wasn’t a first time experience.

I was patient to address the issue because I didn’t want to offend anyone by pointing it out and making them the center of attention. But the noise did not cease. And it grew increasingly bothersome.

When people started turning their heads in the direction of the noise, I knew I was losing my audience, so the issue had to be addressed head on if I was to continue with any success.

I stopped and asked, “Does anyone know where that clicking sound is coming from?” Someone in the back row said it was water dripping from the ceiling onto the carpet in the aisle.

That was odd, I thought. It was bright and sunny outside. No rain. An usher finally responded and guessed it was the air conditioner leaking.

Well, this was still a tough position for me to deal with because it didn’t look like it was a problem that could be quickly fixed, and I needed to keep moving with my talk. So, I did a quick prayer to understand how to address this, and was inspired to say to everyone, “Okay, we all know what the noise is now, so we can put it out of our mind and focus on the message coming from up here.”

And that simple truth stated point blank regained control of the situation.

Everyone’s attention pivoted to the front of the auditorium, and they quickly were immersed into the heart of my talk once again, despite the drip, drip that continued for the rest of the hour. And it was easy for me to focus, too.

There was a spiritual lesson in this experience.

Have you ever had to deal with distracted thought? Perhaps you’re having a hard time connecting with a teenager or a spouse, or a family member has distanced themselves, or a co-worker appears unconnected, or your thinking is going in circles without
finding clear direction? If so, what’s the distraction? Figure it out and address it head on.

Once you see what is pulling attention away, you can directly confront it, undo it’s claim on mind, and allow attention to pivot back to where it should be.

Distraction needs to be addressed head-on to remove any bad effect.

14 thoughts on “Address the distraction head on”

  1. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this story!!!

    It came to me many years ago that:

    – there is a solution to every problem
    – there is an answer to every question

    These statements have to be true because God and His/Her idea is all-harmonious. Therefore, a problem, or unanswered question, is only the distorted view that appears to us via a material sense picture. When the same situation is viewed via spiritual sense, we can only see harmony and that view appears to human sense as a “solution to a problem” or an “answer to a question”, when in reality that harmony has been there all along.

    Unfortunately we often allow ourselves to accept the material sense picture instead of realizing that picture is only a distraction…in other words, a view that “distracts” us from seeing what is really true. So thanks again for pointing out the importance of addressing these distorted views as “distractions” and the clear illustration of how you did that during your lecture.

  2. It’s funny, last night I was lying awake in bed. Things were very quiet! I was trying to figure out why that seemed strange. Then I realized I could usually hear my neighbor’s tv droning in the background. What joy not to hear it! Once I figured that out, I quickly addressed the following fear that crept in – maybe something was wrong with him. (I had the same thought when he left his TV running constantly for a couple of days. I ended up going next door, not to complain, but to express concern – and he hasn’t done that again.) I knew he was safe and sound, guarded by God; then I went right to sleep.

    It was nice to have quiet – once I figured out why there WASN’T a distraction! Funny that the absence of a distraction, can also be a distraction itself.

    1. Thank you. I’ve been distracted often lately while praying. This will help. I’ve been just forcing myself back on track but addressing the problem seems better.

  3. Great post Evan, Have I ever dealt with distracted thought? I’m a high school coach and distractions in teenagers almost seem to be the norm not the exception. You just reminded me that I need to treat my own thought about this issue to see and experience the truth for this situation. This post couldn’t come at a better time for me. Thank you.

  4. Love this! Thanks, Evan! I’ve often observed how we Christian Scientists can sometimes allow ourselves to go into “Denial” about problems or distractions – thinking that if we just think long and hard enough that “It isn’t Real” – it will just Go Away! This is such a temptation at times, because Denial is easier than Confrontation or “Care Fronting”. It truly does take moral courage to SEE what the problem is and THEN to take steps to deal with it. I’ve often thought about writing a book on “How To Be a Christian Scientist and Live Normally in the World – without being in Denial or Delusion”. We have to see the truth, before we can Know the Truth! Again, thanks so much for dealing with this issue Head On!

  5. Awareness of the ability to change thought based on information received demonstrates your spiritual thoughts to master the situation. Well Done. Thanks for lesson awareness.

  6. Wonderful thought. Recently while visiting a testimony meeting while on vacation, the crackling of candy like wrappers not only distracted me but others. I was a visitor and didn’t want to make any waves by asking member to hold down on the noise but it continued for ~ time and time and a 1/2….much longer than normal! Finally I turned whole heartily deep into the Kingdom knowing that this member’s needs would quickly be resolved. Revelation came the crackling was only a symptom of problem this member had unmet physical challenge….anyway etc. Distraction is only symptom of the real problem. Not knowing our true identity is often bases of problem= impossible! Within seconds the noise stopped and there was a sigh among the members.

  7. I am always distracted while I pray even when I correct the one who is causing the distraction. Then the thought of what JESUS said “Don’t fret over these distractions for they hated me before hating you.” I have nurse aids who is constantly distracting me because they belive more in the medical instead of the spiritual. It helps when one understands mortal minds wish to be heard can’t harm me.

  8. Thank you, Evan, for presenting this way of thinking and praying. And thank you to Brian for his comments. I have been praying about a ‘situation’ in a way I thought was focusing on God and not the problem. Brian’s comments caused an adjustment to my praying process, because it’s still slightly askew if I think there is a ‘problem’ to pray about, when it’s really a distorted view hoping to make it appear that God has lost control and harmony is missing. I loved the comment that ” harmony has been there all along”. This is not a new idea for me, but sometimes I am tempted to forget it.

    Sincerely grateful to be reminded that this is only a ‘distraction’.

  9. I Love, love, LOVE each comment above; leads to confronting thought to uncover the spiritual insight, not conforming to the easy out, mortal “problem”.

    I am using the uncovering of spiritual insight to resolve a distracting physical sensation, more work to do, right NOW!

  10. My deepest thanks to all as this was just what I needed this morning to meet and overcome a physical disability that presented itself as real this morning. It was a distraction as I prayed and gave myself a treatment as taught in Christian Science class instruction. Listening to the Daily Lift and reading this spiritual view are certainly a blessing!

  11. Needed this. Appreciate your telling how distraction was handled at the lecture. Your messages are so clear and helpful. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.