Mindfulness and Technology

While many proponents of mindfulness commented spirituality should be practiced naturally, infusion of technology into spiritual exercise is becoming more and more popular as ordinary folks find it easier to achieve the desired results with the help of technology.

Mindfulness and technology is defined as a movement in research and design, that encourages the user to become aware of the present moment, rather than losing oneself in a technological device. This field encompasses multidisciplinary participation between design, psychology, computer science, and religion.

Mindfulness stems from Buddhist meditation practices and refers to the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. In the field of Human-Computer Interaction, research is being done on Techno-spirituality — the study of how technology can facilitate feelings of awe, wonder, transcendence, and mindfulness and on Slow design, which facilitates self-reflection.

It is said excessive use of personal devices, such as smartphones and laptops, can lead to the deterioration of mental and physical health. This area focuses on redesigning and creating technology to improve the wellbeing of its users.

Does the Internet distract us? Does it make us more social and open to discussion? Should we attribute these characteristics to a technology, or, should we look to ourselves and our own behaviour as the source?

Here are some mindefulness and technology articles: –

  • Is it Time to Unplug?: “So there I was driving,” writes Elisha Goldstein, “only to look up and find that I was three exits past where I needed to get off. Talk about being on auto-pilot. Sound familiar?”
  • Addicted to Speed: How do we maintain focus in the instantaneous electric age that we live in? Susan Piver talks about the storm of information we are confronted with every day, and how a simple meditation exercise can help ease the stress of input-overload.
  • Mindful Social Networking: Social networking—is it helpful or harmful? Ethan Nichtern offers suggestions for how we can go online without losing our minds.

Reality check revealed there are ways you can practice mindfulness with in our technology age. Try these practices as an experiment to raise your own awareness. Refrain from judging yourself or being too harsh about how these practices work for you. These exercises are intended to raise awareness by simply being aware.

Practicing Mindfulness In The Technology Age

1) When the cell phone rings

Have you ever noticed how quickly you respond to the phone ringing? From the moment it rings, do you instantly feel the need to respond right away? Does a ringing phone knock you out of your present moment or disconnect you from the people you’re with?

Try taking three deep breaths and center yourself before answering the phone. Experience a moment of presence before answering the phone. Notice what it’s like to pause before your answer.

2) Before checking email

Do you ever make a bee-line to your email first thing in the morning? Do you feel the need to constantly check your email?

From the moment you think of checking your email, try waiting 1-2 minutes, or take 10 breaths before checking your email. Notice if this is a challenging practice for you. During those 60 seconds, become highly aware of your breath, feeling state, what you’re thinking. Are you impatient, anxious, relaxed? What are you looking for in your email?

Pay close attention to your bodily sensations.

3) When you’re checking social media

When you’re reading your Facebook newsfeed or your Twitter page, how do you feel? Notice the thoughts you’re having as you read each news item. Do you feel neutral, judgment, happiness arising? Notice your emotions and your feeling state.

Which news items bother you most? Which ones do you enjoy the most? Where do your feelings arise from?

How do you feel before and after you check social media?

4) Try leaving your cell at home or turn it off

Do you always feel the need to wear your cell phone? On occasion, practice leaving your cell phone at home, or turn it off. Notice the way you feel when you don’t have access to your cell phone. Do you feel naked, disconnected?

Do feelings of insecurity or anxiety arise? Do you feel out of control? Be aware of your true experience without any judgment.

5) When you’re working on the computer

Notice your energetic state as you work on your computer. What is the cadence of your breath as you’re surfing the net? The quality of your inhale? The quality of your exhale?

Do you feel rushed and pressured, or calm and at ease? What helps you relax while you’re working on your computer? See what helps you to breathe easy while you’re on your computer.

6) When you’re waiting

When you are waiting at a stoplight or for a friend, do you feel the need to check your cell phone? Where does the need arise from? How do you feel when you don’t check your cell phone? Are you uncomfortable without having something to do?

What would it be like to simply take three breaths and allow yourself to relax without doing? What helps you to drop into the present moment?

7) Checking your cell

How often do you feel the need to check your cell phone? How do you feel when you receive a text or voicemail? How do you feel when you don’t receive any messages?

Be fully aware of what is happening to your energy before, during and after you are using your cell. See how detailed you can become in your own awareness of using your cell phone. Track your feelings, your mental state and your thoughts. It also helps to write them down.

Some of these exercises may seem impossible at first, but you can begin by simply planting a seed of intention: to be more aware when you’re using your technology. A simple pause can make a difference. Be light-hearted when you are practicing these exercises.

Technology, like anything, is inherently neutral and can serve a multitude of purposes. It can be used to escape, hurt others, or even raise your consciousness.

Awareness leads to self-empowerment. It allows us to release our automatic reactions and make conscious choices about how we are spending our time and energy.