“Mindfully Distracted?”

Sometimes I am struck with one of the deep ironies of contemporary American life. Everywhere I go, people are talking on their cell phones while they are walking, sitting at a bus stop or sitting with friends at a restaurant. Whole families eat together with each member texting away. We are bombarded with ads urging us to not drive distracted. Still all around I see drivers texting and driving. Once I saw a man in the adjacent lane talking on the phone with one hand and eating with the other. Since he only had two hands, guess how he was steering. With his knee! I hurried quickly past before he landed in my path.

Meanwhile everywhere I go I am told the benefits of mindfulness. Mindfulness supposedly improves schools, work places, and home lives. Mindfulness teaches a person, as far as I understand it, to be in the present moment. Classes, retreats, guides and experiences are available, for a fee, to teach you to be mindful.

Herein lies the irony. People who are spending hours of their lives removed from the present moment by their focus on electronic devices are now going to workshops to teach them how to be in the moment. I offer my no fee suggestions. Hang up the phone. Look around. Enjoy your surroundings. Without any further training you can find yourself present!

29 thoughts on ““Mindfully Distracted?”

  1. Self-driving cars can’t come soon enough to protect us from fools like the “man in the adjacent lane talking on the phone with one hand and eating with the other.” Unfortunately, so far self-driving cars aren’t fool-proof….and I’ll probably be dead by the time they’re perfected.


  2. There is so much to learn about ourselves. There is such desperation to stay connected through electronic means, we forget what it means to really connect live and in person.


  3. I rarely even take my phone out with me. I look up at the sky, and down at the ground. I gauge the weather, and watch my dog about his excitements. Life is too short for anything less.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  4. Being on the phone constantly is one of my pet peeves. I think it is incredibly disrespectful to pay more attention to one’s phone than the people right in front of you.


  5. Mindfulness is the elusive dream now. It is tragic how distracted we have become. It’s as if we have been programmed to need constant electronic stimulation. It makes me very sad for us.


  6. I had the horrible experience last month of finding an app which told me how long I had been using my phone each day (how many hours of screen time and how many unlocks). I discovered that my average was 2½ hours !!! I was shocked and now have relegated my phone use to only that of a phone – average now 5 mins. I also feel a great deal better.


  7. Oh I absolutely agree Elizabeth!
    Here in Australia its a rather hefty traffic infringement fine $A350 if caught talking on a hand held mobile phone or texting on any mobile phone while driving.


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