Before You Distract Yourself Again

Smartphones are like refrigerators on steroids. Remember the old days? We’d go to the fridge, open the door, and be so overwhelmed with all of the stuff inside that we forgot why we went to the fridge in the first place. Who hasn’t spent 5 minutes staring at the inside of a fridge, completely lost in a daze?

With smartphones, instead of 30 food items we have 50 notifications, 60 apps, and infinite information. Whether it’s fridges or phones, our brains are not meant to be in a constant state of information overload. It’s bad for our mental health and it’s bad for our physical health. It leads to ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Plus, the stress it puts on our minds leads to unhealthy and impulsive behaviors, like addiction, poor sleep, and food choices that lead to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

So let’s use this upcoming week to unscatter our brains and bring some mindfulness to our digital lives. Whenever you feel the urge to pull out your phone, pause, take a breath, ask yourself if you really need to or if you are just responding to a mindless urge. If after a few seconds of presence (which means taking in your surroundings and checking in with your inner space as well) you still decide that there is something you really need to do on your phone, then go for it. If not, leave it in your pocket and wait till the next urge. Repeat as needed. 

For more on how to undo the damage of our digital age so we can welcome more peace and joy into our lives, our new film, Digital Ego, comes out tomorrow, April 1st at 8:am (Eastern Time) on my YouTube channel. Along with the film’s release will be a new book that goes into more detail so that we can all make sure our technology serves us, and not the other way around. Available on Amazon tomorrow as an ebook and will be out Monday in print.

Always Remember: 
It’s impossible to think about not thinking. All we can do is become fully present, which takes practice. When we are thinking, we are not present, but rather we are in our head. So we simply have to practice being fully aware with nonjudgmental curiosity about our surroundings and even our bodies.

There is so much around us and within us at all times that we tend to tune out. We must tune back in if we are to find peace and freedom from our own mind. Thoughts will still pop up, but if we are aware of them too, even then there will be peace.

As the leaves grow back and the flowers start to bloom, let’s remember during this beautiful season of rebirth to notice and soak in the world around us. Let’s smell the roses, bask in the warmth of the sun, and feel the grass beneath our feet. Let’s look closely into nature and find what no glass screen can offer — the loving embrace of life itself.

Peace and love,

PS: Zen Buddhists emphasize direct understanding of the mind and of reality through spiritual practices rather than through religious texts or doctrines. To reach this deeper understanding beyond words and intellectual knowledge, 3-pronged meditation practice was developed. In this article, I explain the three types of zen meditation, the benefits, and how you can get started.