February, 2011

Feb 11

Our Symbiosis with the Interwebs

Our friend Monster made an excellent comment a few weeks back: “distraction and impulse reward is endemic to our symbiosis with the interwebs”.

How true this is.

We have a symbiotic relationship with technology. So much so, that I feel like we are psychologically dependent on it.

How many times have you been in a situation when you are waiting on somebody or something and you don’t have a TV or smart phone to keep you entertained? Out of those times, how many times have you been ok with having no distractions?

Those times are very rare for me. I default to irritation if I don’t have technology to keep me entertained.

I would like to change that.

I have mentioned this problem before. And a week before that, I made a post about the opposite problem. Of course, I turned to mindfulness for an answer to both.

Check out point number 5 from Mindfulness in Plain English’s chapter on Meditation in Everyday Life.

“The concept of wasted time does not exist for a serious meditator. Little dead spaces during your day can be turned to profit. Every spare moment can be used for meditation. Sitting anxiously in the dentist’s office, meditate on your anxiety. Feeling irritated while standing in a line at the bank, meditate on irritation. Bored, twiddling you thumbs at the bus stop, meditate on boredom. Try to stay alert and aware throughout the day. Be mindful of exactly what is taking place right now, even if it is tedious drudgery. Take advantage of moments when you are alone. Take advantage of activities that are largely mechanical. Use every spare second to be mindful. Use all the moments you can.”

You need no tools to practice mindfulness. You only need your awareness. And that is the one thing that technology can take away from you.

So, next time while I am waiting in a line, I will try to rely on my awareness instead of my smart phone.

Hopefully, mindfulness can give me a more healthy relationship with technology.

Feb 11

Efficiency Tracking – 3 Month Review

I started logging everything I did on 11/16/10. I did not miss logging an hour of activity for three consecutive months.

I created my last entry on 02/16/11 at 23:30:00 hours. I am finished with the exercise.

93 days covered. 1545 entries total. I learned a lot during the process. And I have to tell you, it is a relief for it to be over.

Continue reading →

Feb 11

Your Own Pace

TunnelI would like to make a conjecture: everyone has their own pace.

In other words, each individual prefers to take action at a rate of speed that is independent to all others’ preferred rates of speed.

Since everyone has their own unique series of experiences in their life, they have their own unique expectation of how future experiences will play out. These expectations include the rate in which actions occur.

I know I move slower than most people. I tend to think a lot before doing something. Which could be seen as a bad thing. But put in a different way, it sounds a whole lot better. I could say that: I try to act only when I understand what I am doing. (I may still be uncertain, but I want to know how uncertain I am.)

I know people that move much quicker than others. They are constantly on the go. Always looking for something to do and then moving onto the next thing. Walking fast. Eating fast. Typing, talking, etc. Always: go, go, go. Some people may judge them negatively because they believe that they are not thinking everything through. But who is to say that they are not? (After all, the best way to learn is to act.)

Either way allows for mindfulness, rationality or any other quality you may be looking for. It all depends on what pace that person is comfortable with.

I rarely remind myself of this. When I read anecdotes about how someone got this one goal accomplished in under a month or was able to complete this task in 15 minutes, I usually ask myself if I could do it that quickly. Or, I look at my logging and wonder what someone else’s logs would look like and how would they compare to mine?

This line of thinking is useless.┬áRather than focusing on other people’s rate of speed, I should be figuring out what speed I am comfortable at.

There are so many questions that need answers:

How can I get into flow more often? How does my environment effect the pace that I work at? Do I get more things done when there are due dates? When I tell people that I will get something done, does that pressure help or harm my ability to finish it? Or …

What pace do I like to work at?

Photo courtesy of themonnie 

Feb 11

Solitude and Power

Ladies and Gentlemen! We have our first comment! Thank you, Salamander.

It only took 82 weeks, but we got one. And it was worth the wait.

Mr. Salamander mentions two very important concepts that have I been thinking about a lot lately: solitude and power.

I have found that mindfulness and rationality bring about feelings of both.

When I am concentrating on my senses, I am not thinking about others. I focus on only my environment and how I am experiencing it. I typically can only be mindful when others are not around. So, I probably force the solitude and mindfulness link. (Ain’t it ironic that communication from another brought up the topic of solitude?)

At the same time, there have been a number of times when I become mindful of how my hands feel on my computer, or the way my feet feel walking barefoot on the floor, or how a drink tastes or any number of other mindful experiences and I am reminded of the fact that everyone else in the world feels the exact same senses. (They may not process them the same way, but regardless.).

Rationality, by its very nature causes me to separate my opinions from other people’s opinions. I distance myself from others when I use rationality. I attempt to minimize the effects that my emotions have on my thoughts. People typical induce emotions in me (good, bad, or neutral). So, rationality causes me to feel solitude.

Overall, I like the solitude. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people that I love everyday of my life. If I was in a different situation, I probably would not appreciate the solitude. But it feels good when I get the chance.

I have talked about how empowering mindfulness is a few times before. It stops out of control thoughts right in their tracks. I feel like I have complete control over what is going on in my head when I concentrate on my senses.

With rationality, I feel similarly empowered. There is a logical process I can follow to reach a conclusion. It is a system I can fall back on when things get too fuzzy. I use it to advance my understanding of myself and the world.

Solitude and power. Mindfulness and rationality bring about both.