Why Have We Lost a Deep, Sustained Focus?

by Mark Votava


What are the things that distract us in life?  In my life it tends to be social media, TV, working too much, entertainment and inner attitudes of apathy to name a few.  I have been searching practically my whole life for a freedom from illusion, distraction and fragmentation.  Some days are better than others, but I always just start as a beginner each day as I seek God in my context in the world.

  •  Ask, seek, knock

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 6:7).

  •  Seeking the mystical imagination within us

If we seek the mystical imagination within us we will find life.  The door will be opened to live an undistracted life of discipline if we truly want it.  We will receive the strength for healing our patterns of escapism if we seek it out.  We will start to understand the mystical imagination within us if we desire it.

  •  Something more interdependent in our local community

We are the only ones who are keeping us from all of this.  We need to allow our desires to be shaped by the longings within us.  The mystical imagination of embracing the real will not be denied to anyone who is seeking it out.  When we seek Christ in this way, a whole paradigm will be opened up that leaves our individualistic ways to find something more interdependent in our local community.

  •  Losing our capacity for deep, sustained focus

Maggie Jackson writes, “Yet increasingly, we are shaped by distraction…  The seduction of alternative virtual universes, the addictive allure of multitasking people and things, our near-religious allegiance to a constant state of motion: these are markers of a land of distraction, in which our old conceptions of space, time, and place have been shattered.  This is why we are less and less able to see, hear, and comprehend what’s relevant and permanent, why so many of us feel that we can barely keep our heads above water, and our days are marked by perpetual loose ends.  What’s more, the waning of our powers of attention is occurring at such a rate and in so many areas of life, that the erosion is reaching critical mass.  We are on the verge of losing our capacity as a society for deep, sustained focus…”

  •  Is there life in our distractions?

For some reason we think that there is life in our distractions.  Distractions are the American way.  Distractions are the norm.  Distractions are predictable. Distractions are controlled.

  •  Distractions always lead us to illusion

We love to escape our lives and responsibilities to one another for the thrill of distractions.  Distractions, we think, are the ultimate path to our “happiness.”  But the truth is that distractions always lead us to illusion.

  •  Distractions are addictive and irrelevant

Distractions take away our imaginations for something countercultural.  Distractions try to scare the mystical imagination with images of the “real world” promoted by the empire.  Distractions are a technique to escape reality.  Distractions are addictive and irrelevant to true life.  When will we be tired of being seduced by our distractions as the body of Christ in everyday life?

What is the distraction you struggle the most with in everyday life?