I have recently turned on to mindfulness. The basic idea of mindfulness is to become fully present and engaged with one’s own body, thoughts, emotions, and surroundings in any given moment. I am in love with this calm and connected perspective on life. In fact, everywhere I go, I keep reading all about mindfulness on my smartphone.
Let me tell you, this new approach has changed my life. I just got my very first smartphone, and already I’m talking about it like other people talk about their cats.
It is truly an honor to be on the leading edge of the smartphone crowd. My newest goal is to evangelize the joy of smartphones to all the people who have never yet heard of them—or worse, those stubborn Luddites clinging to outdated notions of a telephone.
“Telephones were invented for text messaging and lighting your way to the bathroom in the dark!” is how people justify their flip phones in the face of progress. The deep dark truth is, I was once one of these people. I did not want to “upgrade” to a smartphone because I believed I would spend my entire life constantly looking for a place to charge it.
But now that smartphones are finally available to the general public, I see that I was simply being unmindful of the technological present. I was clinging to the past and not living in the moment by posting photographs of my breakfast to the internet. Which, by the way, you can do with a smartphone! More people should seriously start doing this. It would make the internet a much more fascinating place to visit.
In my old troglodyte days of three weeks ago, I was always looking off to the future. Where will my life be in ten, fifteen, twenty years, I wondered, and when can I check baseball scores?
No longer, muchachos! The smartphone enables me to remain fully engaged in the present. I am fully aware of where I am—say, a peaceful subalpine forest, with the aspen leaves quivering into autumnal shades of sunset—while at the very same time cursing an umpire’s blindness.
No matter whether I am in that forest, at the grocery store, or trucking down the highway with the cruise control on, this handy little device keeps me connected to the world around me in every conceivable direction. Why, as I write these very words, I am listening to the playoffs, scheduling myself a massage, receiving real-time photographs of my mother’s dog, and striving vehemently to stay connected to a Wi-Fi signal. And I am giving each distraction my full attention! It’s incredible. Technology is like magic, only with autocorrections when you misspell.
Of course, like any brand new technology, the smartphone has downsides. Those are, generally, that I don’t understand what the phone is telling me. I will be downloading an app for checking weather while recording a happy birthday voice message, and suddenly my phone will beep like a Cadillac activating its car alarm in a sketchy neighborhood. But it won’t tell me why.
Maybe it downloaded updates? Maybe it successfully received the stolen plans to the Death Star? Maybe I pressed the beep-beep button? I, as the telephone operator, have no way of knowing.
But the reasons to curse at my phone are far outnumbered by the reasons I will never ever let it out of my sight again. The number one reason I love my smartphone is, as I mentioned, that I can… something. Was it count my calories? Look up a margarita recipe? Use GPS to tell me where exactly I am at in my living room?
No! Mindfulness. That’s it. I can read all about mindfulness everywhere I go.
Mindfulness is often a lifelong practice. Mindful people take years and years to awaken to their experiences. It can take this long to learn to view your feelings without judgment or criticism. I think waiting is the worst, though. I hate the frustration of waiting. So thank goodness I’ve received an express course in mindfulness. After all, there’s an app for it.
My ultimate mindfulness is why this particular column reads so clearly, so powerfully, and so free of homophonic airs. It may even win me a Pulitzer for its consciousness-expanding commentary, but who am I to plant that idea in the minds of the prize board? To be honest, I’m not even concerned with awards and acclaim. I’m much more worried about finding a power outlet, pronto.
This Fool’s Gold originally appeared on The KC Post.