There are so many things competing for our attention.
The makers of our devices are engaged in a kind-of arms race. Instead of creating weapons of destruction, instead of having a goal of militaristic conquest, they are creating weapons of distraction. The goal is not conquest, it is mindlessness. But it is still an arms race.
They are very good at what they do. And the goods and services they provide are not bad things in moderation.
But make no mistake: endlessly scrolling through a facebook feed only feels like meditation.
(And please, feel no judgement or shame here! I am writing as much to myself as I am to you, dear reader! These struggles are real!)
Further, meditating but being willing to be distracted… Engaging in a spiritual exercise while having my facebook page open, so that I can take a little break if I get that endorphin-producing ‘ping’…. that is not really meditation. That is wasting time while I am hoping that something interesting is going to happen on my social media feeds.
Part of the growth promised by these spiritual exercises is in facing down boredom. More than just filling my time, the important thing is that I stop running from my fears about myself and the world. This is why it is so valuable to commit to a length of time each day. So much good will result when I don’t offer myself easy retreats out of this sometimes difficult work.
Let’s make a deal with each other, and with outselves. Let’s agree that we might choose to engage in distractions: music to fill up the air, games as candy for our eyes, social media as a venue for our monkey mind to do a little dance. But let’s be honest about it. If we are going to do it, let’s make the conscious decision to do these things. They are o.k. in moderation. But let’s not pretend that we are meditating while really we are just looking for an excuse to engage those activities.
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