Today I left home to attend a meeting without my cell phone. I didn’t do it on purpose, but when I discovered that I had left it at home I was happy. Or I was totally peaceful about it anyway. It gave me an opportunity to really just be doing what I was doing, with out the pull of communication coming at me from many directions.
Another reason, I even thought to be happy was because a woman in one of my Mindfulness for Cancer patient’s classes had done the same thing recently.
“Yesterday I went to the mall to do some errands and discovered that I had left my cell phone at home and I was so happy.” One of the reasons this has stuck with me so strongly was, it was not what I was expecting her to say. I love when that happens!
She continued,” no one knew where I was, and no one could reach me. I felt really free and relaxed.”
The group went on to discuss this more. All of us were old enough to have lived great swaths of our lives without cell phones, internet, texting or apps. Even having a few hours accidentally without a cell phone, was a visit to a different way of life, one that we knew but had almost forgotten.
When we go on a meditation retreat, often times these days the retreat center will strongly suggest that you turn your cell phone into the office. I’ve done this and it really helps. I remember the first time I went on retreat it was many years before this was an issue. It was a silent week long retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh. I realized towards the end that there was so much chatter in my mind that it didn’t feel very silent at all. But at least there was very little external input except for the daily talks with Thay and his Nuns and monks. My meditation teacher says, “Everything that comes into your mind has to be processed, and we don’t have much time to do it, there is so much input. So make sure you give yourself some time to empty out. This si what long periods of meditation can do for us.
This experience today and my students’ experience, and the way she framed it, made me want to practice this intentionally rather than accidentally. Why not just take holiday from technology? Dive inside and take a breather. Find out what is going on in your own heart/mind. If you need support, you can always attend one of our retreats, we have several coming up, including a day long in Rancho Mirage, Ca just visit,