The Terrible, Overwhelming Distraction of Insight

Three days ago I picked my 8 year old daughter up from the Londonderry School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and watched her break down in the passenger seat as she blurted a story about having been beat up by a boy in her class earlier in the day. I listened in horror. It was the third time in the past three months the boy had attacked her. I had been in discussion with the school administration, first politely, then less politely, about the problems he was creating since nearly the beginning of the school year, particularly after the last, prior episode in which she had been punched in the face on the playground. I was ignored and, further, it was suggested that I was not a fit for the school on philosophical grounds and that I should consider removing my daughter and moving her elsewhere.

She loves her class. She loves her teacher. She loves the school. She’s been there since she was two years old. It is the only school she knows. It offers a unique environment, much of which I value. I have the expectation she should be safe from physical and emotional violence in the classroom, though, and the school administrators apparently don’t want to have to deal with the problem. Removing her from the school would be as or more traumatic than keeping her there. It’s an impossible situation.

As you might imagine my system exploded.

I am on fire. There is a reason for the image in the current blog header.

I also failed to meditate for the last two days as I spent countless hours dealing with the problem. I didn’t sleep at all the night of the event and barely slept the second night.

Add a 2020 New Year’s resolution failure to the list of fiery internal forces.

This morning’s practice, all 60 minutes of it, was a continuing hopeless attempt to get my mind to settle on a number for even a second. It never happened.

What was getting in the way?

Insight. Crazy, powerful, life changing insight. My mind was solving problems at a pace accelerated by the fire of my internal disruption. Answers were coming to situations I had been previously unable to resolve. Old life content was popping up and in. Things I had not thought about for decades where there at a reality level almost as intense as if I were experiencing them for the first time.

It was a real shit-show.

Yet all I wanted in each and every moment of that 60 minutes was to get my mind to make contact with the numbers I was imagining for myself. The goal is perfect, isolated presence with each number in sequence. Content of any kind, however valuable, is a distraction. It was annoying, even when I resolved several crucial issues including one that I’d been trying to figure out for years.

What was not present was a desire to escape from the maelstrom. There was no push to leave the cushion and get away from the problem or the effort I was burning through as I worked to stabilize attention. I was not constantly wondering when the session would be over. I was patiently working to get myself to do the task I had set for myself.

Then the timer chimed.

I got up grateful for the new content but remain annoyed at my inability to settle attention and place it where it was supposed to go.

Insight is a distraction. The deepest insight occurs in the moment of attainment. It is in that second of simple contact that all the rest finally comes to view. The unseen world that hides in plain sight. The mind, and its world, revealed.

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