Oh, to be unflappable—unable to be flapped. Not really, but whatever. Remaining cool under pressure instead of twitching like a freshly caught trout appeals to everyone.
But the mini human dramas are hard to resist. First, they're everywhere. Plus, they seem worthy of our attention. They are not. They’re actually dopey, annoying, and insubstantial.
For me, the worst are parents who let toddlers occupy an entire busy sidewalk, the too-loud cell phone talkers, and The Ones Who Must Be Right (they demanded capitalization).
Alas, these things happen. Those people exist. Both facts are unlikely to change. But how to tune them out?
Wrapping up in insulation sounds great. Not that pink scratchy stuff used for houses. More like a bubble of serenity. Then again, bubbles are fragile…
I was at a loss for a visualization until reading about the late pro golfer, Sevvy Ballesteros’ concentration technique. “He imagined a thick glass jar descending from the sky and covering him completely. Inside his glass jar…he was able to shut out the outside world, stay centered, and achieve anything…” from Three Simples Steps by Trevor Blake.
Brilliant! The glass lets you see what’s happening, but gives just enough resistance to prevent you from engaging. Through the book, Blake describes the jar as a “mentality shield,” which is the terminology that stuck with me.
Each morning I remind myself of it after meditating. Now, “Mentality shield! Mentality shield!” flashes through my mind when I’m about to be distracted by stupidity.
It gives you a second to think, “Do I want to invite this stray comment or passive-aggressive tone into the sacred ground under the shield?”
In addition to keeping you firmly where you need to be, the shield is a reminder—your concentration is valuable and worth protecting. And, of course, distraction is a choice.
Previously, when I wrote in public I needed noise-canceling headphones. But I don’t anymore! This is a huge transformation. It’s like the buzzing of other people doing their weird, people things takes place on a lower frequency. On the rare occasions I am pulled away, I can re-center faster than ever.
Try “shielding” yourself every morning for a week. It’s worth a shot!
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