in #life4 years ago

Mindfulness is one of the current trend words in self-development circles. But really, it is nothing new. It has always been around, but most of us in this modern age seem not to practice it. The aim is not to divide our attention amongst other things and be wholly present with are current activity. We do so, we are more efficient with our time and effort and ultimately get more done than by multi-tasking. It also has the added benefit of mitigating mistakes or accidents.

So I present to you the result of my lack of mindfulness. The funny thing was, I was only 10 minutes prior, musing over how relatively sharp the edges of my palette knives have become with prolonged use. Then as I was scraping down a small object, my thought processes were busy elsewhere, and... whoops! Arggg! I was bleeding a very nice shade of crimson. I only had myself to blame.

Almost without fail, anytime I have any sort of similar accident, it is because I am no fully present in the moment, and my thoughts are elsewhere because I am multi-tasking. When will I ever learn? I have also on occasions had close calls, and that has been enough for me to wake up and then continue with my full attention on the task at hand.

The technology, the gadgets, the toys that pushed upon us today by our digital dealers are specifically designed to keep us hooked. Beep! Oh, there's another message come in, I have to check it right now. I don't want to miss out. While not so bad as some of the Millennials I've seen with their noses glued to their screens, I was in the beginning, a relatively well trained monkey.

But after a time, banality saved me. I became disinterested checking so frequently. Then, this year, when I had short errands to run, I started to leave my digital shackles at home. A funny thing started to happen. I noticed that I did not miss it. In fact I revelled in the freedom. It was akin to walking naked down the main street and nobody noticing. It was just so natural.

I now only take my smart (ADHD) phone out with me when I know it will be required. I have given up on the compulsive habit of having my digital pacifier at the ready should I face any sort of boredom. Rather I am engaging with the present moment I am in, even if, not much is happening.

You see, the idea we have been sold since the beginning of the millennium, is that successful people are always busy, always networked and never have a moment of stillness; they're always multi-tasking to get more done. So, you too need your digital key to success and also need to keep up.

But you couldn't be any further from the truth.

Mindfulness, does not come automatically, ever. It requires a conscious decision and will. It is like an instrument, or a sport, you need to regularly practice it for you first master it and then derive any benefit out of it.

So the short of it is, I am going to continue with my practice of mindfulness and save myself pain. I may slip up again, but it will again be a timely reminder, to keep my mind on the task at hand.


Agree with you completely here with everything Leo :-) Have thought of multi tasking not keeping what is promised for a long time.

Probably the last person in central Europe with a "stupid" phone... it can only used for one thing... phone calls. People feel sorry for me, when they see me with it... alright with me, as I know it doesn't have its grip on me :-)

Riding my Rocket is a good teacher in the mindfulness you describe. Multi tasking there gets you into the ditch faster than you can think. I like to be focused one the one thing I'm doing at a time, but of course I too get distracted... and have to learn a lesson :-b

Actually, the "dumb" phones are quite in demand these days, because you can't be spied upon. I'm still looking forward to some one producing a DIY phone that you put together yourself and thereby eliminate this whole spying business.

Rock climbing used to be for me what your Rocket is for you. If you're not focused on what you should be doing, the end result can be quite tragic.

Yes mindfulness. I have noticed when completely in the moment, things physically look different to me.
I like to think of it as meeting the moment, the way you meet a new person. Yeah you have met people before, but not this person. You might have been in a similar situation, but not this exact situation. The conditions have never been exactly as they are now. That thought alone makes me more open to all that is around me.
Things get easier. You start to see yourself more.

As far as the technology goes, it is a tool like anything else. How it is used says more about the user than the tool. It has the potential for great learning or time burning. It's the users choice.

It is amazing how much more there is to the world, us our lives when we are being mindful. Yes, things do become easier, when we become aware of how often we are blocking ourselves.

Yes, tools are great servants, but terrible masters.

"digital shackles" - i like that word hehe yeah its pretty ironic that your topic is about mindfulness yet you cut yourself because you were not being mindful of what you were doing.. hehe anyways yeah i agree with you, we should put more effort on being mindful about everything around us, about what we're doing so that we can truly appreciate being in the present and not always on "auto-pilot" mode most of the time and it also prevents us from making mistakes and screwing up. i for one dont like the idea of multi-tasking. its always an invitation to making mistakes in my opinion. i love your post.. truly helpful! :)

Cheers Andy! I titled the article "Mindfullness", because, I should have mindful. =)

I rather miss the single-purpose line phones. You know, the ones you plugged into the wall. You could actually understand what the person you were talking to was saying. And you could never take them with you.

Another benefit: I remember when we lost power at home, and went to a friend's place, or out to run errands. You could always call home and see if the answering machine picked up. If it did, you knew the power had been restored!

Now that was different era. I remember when answering machines / services were uncommon. You had to wait and retry later. People also had to stick to appointments and not change them at the last minute.

Owch :O Had no idea palette knives could get sharpened from use o_O Hope it doesn't take too long to heal up!

Is mindfulness kind of like concentration then or are they supposed to be two different things? Either way seems like being mindful/concentrating on what you're doing especially when dealing with sharp tools is probably a good idea :)


Well when I say, "sharp", you wouldn't be able to shave with them, but their edge is certainly better than a table knife. I heal quite speedily. No dramas. =)

Mindfulness is not the complete exclusion of everything for one. You are present in what you are doing, but your thoughts and attention are not wandering to other things.

👌 I have also started leaving my phone at home, and it feels so damn liberating to walk outside with an empty pocket :)

It's like leaving the house without the wallet or (intentionally) the keys. Free, free, free!

I spend as long as I can standing in front of my pc creating fractal art and never notice anything unless something or someone inserts it/themselves into my mind.
Mindfullness is extremely powerful for sure, being able to think open up to the mind, is powerful enough to quit smoking after having been a smoker for over thirty years and not want or have a desire for another one.

There was a TED video I saw which backs up your experience. A researcher / psychologist was proving that mindfulness had far better success with getting people to quit than any other approach. The funny part was where he was telling people to continue smoking, but, every time as they did it, to pay attention to how it felt and how their body was responding. The patients very quickly realised, they did not like smoking, and so quit.

How long did this approach take for you?

Cool that someone did a TedTalk on it, backs up my belief that it was completely mindfullness!

I went Cold Turkey because for many years I retaliated against the anti-smoking genre and always said to anyone who said or suggested to me about quitting smoking that "I would quit when I had a heart attack"!
Well, that's what happened and as I laid in that hospital bed, without any means for sneaking out for a quick cigarette, I kept going over it in my head about what I always say!

So, I decided then that I would stop. I thought about it all night and into the next day while I was laying there, thinking about what I Hated about smoking and kept going over it.

When I got released I kept up with my hatred of smoking and when I did Really Want One, I put it off for 10 min. Most of the time that was enough to kill the urge.
When it wasn't, I would do something physical or mentally consuming like cleaning up after eating dinner instead of having an after dinner ciggie. Or jump on the computer and start creating some angry picture that took my mind off of the craving. That kinda thing.

So, I never have smoked a cigarette since that day, that was 2004. Never would have thought it was that easy really! I recently had a lung capacity review test and the doctor says that my lung capacity and strength of peak flow from blowing out into a machine that evaluates that stuff was that my lungs are back to a level of a never smoker.

I believe.

Here's the TED video.

Congratulations on turning your life around so fundamentally. Have you applied this further to other things in your life?

I watched this full video and it basically recalled how I stopped smoking!! I have it in my favs and will be using it from now on to harass people who say they think its bull.
Cheers Leo!

You're most welcome. =)
Now you've got the science to back you up.

Wow, I am going over to watch this Leo!! Cheers, I use meditation daily to help with all facets of my life.
I have yet to ween myself off of pain drugs, but I did stop using Sugar and that was more difficult to get used to than not smoking! Lol!

Yes, sugar is a hard one to kick. But once you go without, you go back and realise how disgusting it is. Literally sickening.

I totally agree! I sometimes get a taste for chocolate and that's not often, but if it's not plain dark chocolate, forget it! Sugar in anything is vile now. 😃

I can't go near anything other than dark chocolate these days either.

I really need to start practicing more mindfulness. It's hard to break free from the expectation that other people have about being able to constantly contact me. Time to unplug for a bit I think!

From my experience, there are a growing number of people who feel the same way. Perhaps we're starting to collectively shake our digital addiction now that the novelty is starting to wear off and we're starting to realise, everything in moderation.

Now if only I can get my students to think the same....

...and Hell might freeze over
...there is an Internet apocalypse ;-)

My home phone, wired one is plugged off 24/7, handy silenced, no ring tones, so if someone is calling I see it only when I check it :)
Love the way you described that moment of multitasking in business..I see a lot younger persons around me in job, doing that non-stop rush, keeping busy ..panic panic rush..must admit hate it, since I know they are just fulling their selves and being caught in illusion of modern age. And I see this process like meat is being proceed in meat industry, fresh meat entering from one side and from the other side of machine is coming product for consumption..
Great post, great approach to subject!

Thank you @jungwatercolor!
Yes, the corporate consumerism sausage machine will do its best to have us consume ourselves until nothing is left.

Been there myself - nasty things, those palette knifes! Would be worse for me if that happened because I am on blood thinners.
About the digital leash: I only recently acquired a Android phone, but out of the house and away from the computer I set it so I only hear it when I get a phone call ("kein Schwein ruft mich an", so there is peace anyway). I find it annoying when people "barricade" themselves behind their tablets and cell phones and barely surface into the real world.
I am not connected to anything (but phone calls) in my studio. No distractions, once I enter the art zone!

So I'm not the only one who discovered a palette knife's bite.

Kein Schwein auch ruf mich an. Well on my phone at least. I have also started to log out of Skype as to be unavailable.

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