Finding peace in a stressed-out, digitally dependent culture may just be a matter of thinking differently.
Here are some standouts from the article:
"Technology has made it easier than ever to fracture attention into smaller and smaller bits. We answer a colleague’s questions from the stands at a child’s soccer game; we pay the bills while watching TV; we order groceries while stuck in traffic. In a time when no one seems to have enough time, our devices allow us to be many places at once—but at the cost of being unable to fully inhabit the place where we actually want to be."
"If distraction is the pre-eminent condition of our age, then mindfulness, in the eyes of its enthusiasts, is the most logical response. Its strength lies in its universality. Though meditation is considered an essential means to achieving mindfulness, the ultimate goal is simply to give your attention fully to what you’re doing. One can work mindfully, parent mindfully and learn mindfully. One can exercise and even eat mindfully. The banking giant Chase now advises customers on how to spend mindfully.There are no signs that the forces splitting our attention into ever smaller slices will abate. To the contrary, they’re getting stronger. (Now arriving: smart watches and eyeglasses that will constantly beam notifications onto the periphery of our vision.) Already, many devotees see mindfulness as an indispensable tool for coping—both emotionally and practically—with the daily onslaught. The ability to focus for a few minutes on a single raisin isn’t silly if the skills it requires are the keys to surviving and succeeding in the 21st century."
"But lately there’s been some progress in tapping technology for solutions too. There are hundreds of mindfulness and meditation apps available from iTunes, including one called Headspace, offered by a company of the same name led by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk. Puddicombe, 40, co-founded Headspace in the U.K. in 2010 and opened a new office in Los Angeles in 2013 after attracting venture capital. The company offers free content through an app and sells subscriptions to a series of web videos, billed as a "gym membership for the mind," that are narrated by Puddicombe and explain the tenets of mindfulness and how to meditate."
"There’s nothing bad or harmful about the smartphone if we have the awareness of how to use it in the right way," says Puddicombe. "It’s unplugging by plugging in."