Ask: What is your advice for handling distractions during meditation?

I've been a student of ACIM for nine years. I very recently was led to your plain language versions and feel my progress had been sped up immeasurably. However my meditation honeymoon period seems to be over. The first 2 weeks after reading "The Four Habits for Inner Peace" I easily fell into a wonderful mindless state and barely noticed the hour that seemed to just fly by. Now, most mornings…all manner of things begin to happen…barking…, the phone rings, a leaf blower...a car alarm suddenly ignites…I get a coughing or yawning fit, short unexplainable stabs of pain manifest in parts of my body etc. It's comical!
Sometimes I get frustrated and give up and feel guilty, thinking my progress has been arrested. Sometimes I just smile and wait a bit till everything calms down and continue, able to ignore the illusory external chaos. My questions concerning this are...
What is your advice when all of these distractions manifest. Should I stop and wait until later? If I don't meditate that day is my progress hampered? Do you meditate every single day without fail?
– SB

The goal of meditation is not to be perfect about it but to grow your awareness of Truth so that you will be at peace. There is no reason for guilt if you do not meditate or you do not meditate perfectly. Who are you meditating for? You can only be doing it for you. There is no authoritative god to disappoint because you are not meditating perfectly. And you can be aware of Truth anytime. This is a matter of willingness, not of effort. So your progress is not impeded if occasionally you do not meditate or do not meditate well.
The Teacher of Truth in you (Holy Spirit) never inspires guilt, so when guilt shows up like this know that it comes from the personal thought system (ego). Don’t let this guilt pass without finding the thoughts behind it. You believe those thoughts; that’s why you accept the guilt. And they are obstacles to peace so you want to bring them to the light and release them.
The vast majority of days I meditate at least once out of a strong desire to do so. Communing with Truth (God) is the purpose of my life, so it is the purpose of every day for me. I turn inward to Truth several times a day. On those rare days that I do skip a formal meditation it is either because my day has been so meditative that it is simply not necessary or I am so strongly in the personal thought system that I know to not bother. The latter case is extremely rare because I’ve found that I like to make the attempt even if I think I’m not going to successfully quiet my mind and experience Truth.
Meditation can be used to process, to bring something to the Teacher of Truth in your mind, and/or to commune with Truth. The latter is the ultimate goal and you can really do it any time. Throughout the day take moments to remember Truth and sometimes it will be in one of those moments that you feel the connection, rather than during a formal meditation.
What you described is pretty typical: sometimes you will let distractions pass; other times you will allow yourself to be distracted. But the latter does not matter. Truth is not changed because you are distracted. This is of what you can remind yourself at the time. Later, when you feel more open to Truth, try meditating again.

Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, and 4 Habits for Inner Peace at

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Cathy Ginter said…
The beauty is that at some point, everything becomes a meditation... even washing dishes or standing in line at the grocery store. It's all about being present and watching the breath ~ OM

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