overcoming distractions

Two sources I happened across during the Omer regarding distracting thoughts during prayer: (Machshavot Zarot)
When is the time in Tefillah to sacrifice oneself [ie.mesirut nefesh] before HaShem? When you have a distracting thought. Through sacrificing oneself you can raise up that thought as an offering to HaShem. [paraphrased ~ Likkutei Moharan I:26]
Each thought is a life, complete in itself. Dispelling a thought rather than raising it up is akin to killing it. How do you tell the difference between those thoughts you can raise up, and those you should push away? If the thought comes along with a feeling of being overcome with one's own smallness, then you can raise it up. If, on the other hand, the thought comes with a feeling of hubris, push it away, as it is said, "one who comes to kill you, kill him first." [paraphrased ~ Notzer Hesed (Avoth) 4:3]
In light of this earlier post: Unidentified flying thoughts, we have two more opinions to round out the mix:
Baal HaTanya - Beinonim have no business in raising up these thoughts, it's only a job for Tzaddikim.
Noam Elimelech - Tzaddikim need to shine the light of their awareness on these thoughts to raise them up.
And for good measure:
Rebbe Nachman's next teaching Likkutei Moharan I:27 also goes into why it is the Tzaddik who is most capable of raising up these thoughts and again in I:30 explains how these thoughts end up at the Tzaddik's proverbial doorstep.
In short, there seems to be a consensus opinion that the best way for our generation to do away with distracting thoughts is to ignore them. So, rather than wasting time trying to figure out why a thought distracted you, get back to whatever it was you were praying for before it distracted you!

This is very good news in an age where (1) there are already too many stimuli in one's daily life pulling at your attention every minute, and (2) we're so very good at ignoring things!

Ps. If you are the kind of person who anyways is going to try and elevate these distracting thoughts, I think Rebbe Nachman's advice is best, bitul and mesirut nefesh. It seems the safest route, and also seems to coincide with what the Komarna Rebbe was saying. In fact, if you read the sources carefully, they're all essentially in agreement about this point.


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