Addicted to Interruption

Lately I have been reading this lovely and inspiring book – “Looking at Mindfulness” by Christophe Andre. I’d like to share some of the ideas he writes about, because I think he has so beautifully clarified why we need mindfulness so badly.

Christophe warns of the pollution of the mind that we are all exposed to in our contemporary world. He calls it “psychotoxic materialism”. Our attention is the number one commodity for sale today, and bids for it are everywhere. Ads on buses, windows, billboards, cellphones, Youtube, Facebook, notifications, bells, alarms, and a thousand other interruptions.

What is all this racket doing to our minds? Our attention is constantly being stolen from us- captured, drawn away, interrupted, segmented and fragmented.

And worse: we become addicted to this flashy, noisy and easy to digest messaging. We become unable to have anything but the shortest of thoughts of our own; especially thoughts that require introspection and sustained attention. YIKES!

The results of this polluted mental environment are stress, mental fragmentation, anxiety, boredom and circular rumination.

The antidote? Calm, slowness and continuity.

Christophe advises us to “draw on the healing powers of simplicity, calm, and single tasking…

*act calmly and gently

*do one thing at a time

*restore yourself with a dose of doing nothing

*unplug as an act of freedom”

Such simple advice and yet so challenging. That is the nature of addiction.

I have come to realize that I am almost always doing two things, or even 3 things at once.

Reading a book while eating a meal. Listening to the radio while I drive. Sewing while I watch a show. It’s like I’m afraid of what my mind will do if left without being spoon-fed with external material. God forbid that I might experience some quiet, rest or ( horrors)…boredom!

So I’ve decided to start an experiment. Sundays will be single-tasking days for me; kind of like an old fashioned Sabbath. I tried it out last weekend, with mixed success. I’m hoping that the dose of calm will give me a taste, and draw me towards wanting more during the week. I guess we’ll see.

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