what monks didn’t know about mindfulness

I got 104 emails yesterday.

104. 104 times my day was interrupted to read an email to see if it was important. I either added it to my to-do list, did whatever it asked right away, or deleted it.

My phone rang 12 times. Someone came by to my office 3 times (not too bad).

Then I came home and sat on my laptop with GChat open talking to friends on and off while I watched basketball and did work.

I had Twitter open for a large portion of the day too. And I guarantee a lot of people who read this will think “pfft, those numbers are WEAK.”

People living today are asked to deal with more stimuli than at any point in history. Organizing it all is tough, and also crucial.

Often when I’m teaching people some basic mindfulness techniques they have a hard time because they have so much going on in their life.

I tell them, “write down a quick to-do list for your entire life.” They don’t want to. It will scare them, because they have so much.

Here’s a nugget of truth for the day: people haven’t found a better way to put thoughts in order than doing so via language, whether that be on paper, the computer, or tape.

If you’re trying to meditate and can’t, or trying to focus and can’t, do yourself a favor and free write about whatever is on your mind until you have nothing left. Get it all out. If things are too congested, try another way to calm your mind before you come back to a more traditional method.

The truth is monks did know this. They knew (and know) that different people require different techniques at different times. They just didn’t know how crazy modern life would get!

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