Blog 3: Downloading Mindfulness: App or OS?

I often wonder-   is the primary tool that many of us use to stay connected with each other and the world also the primary thing that is pulling us away from showing up and being present for our lives?

I can see it in so many places today, and certainly in my own behavior. I notice people averting their eyes down into a screen of some kind, engaging with incredibly powerful technology that for many might as well be magic for the little they understand of how it works. We do whatever it takes to get away from feelings of disconnect and discomfort and hope to find solace in the digital worlds we create for ourselves through our screen time.  Or, since I am being encouraged to use I-statements, dare I say, that -I- hope to find solace in the digital worlds I create for myself?  That -I- am doing whatever it takes to get away?  

As these tools become more complex and widespread, so too does the way we (I) think about ourselves in relation to them. I observe that many of us have undergone a process of seeing our lives, and the identities we build within them, as a collection of apps installed onto an operating system. It looks something like: Cathleen’s operating system is Christian, and all of the activities and relationships she engages with are apps installed onto her Christian OS.  And even, Beni's operating system is Jewish, therefore... 

When thinking aloud about mindfulness and meditation before a Toolbox session, I asked Gena whether mindfulness was more akin to an OS or an app? Is it the thing we install our lives onto, or is it something we try to open at least once a day but does not impact much outside of its time? Is it a group of activities or is it actually more a way of being in the world that colors all activities we engage with?

How do you see mindfulness in your life?
Is it like an app? An OS?
Are you offended at the suggestion that humans can be compared to computers so easily…! 

Write in the comments section below. This is a question I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I’d love to hear everyone’s ideas!

Beni Summers is an educator and youth specialist working in the greater Boston area. He holds the title of Moreh Ruhaniyut (hebrew: Spiritual Teacher) for a vibrant intergenerational community, and hosts weekly meditation and learning opportunities from his home. He is an avid soccer fan, a singer and community builder. He is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Mindfulness Studies at Lesley University and is working towards Craftsmen level meditation teaching as a part of Mindful Boston.  

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