“An open question people are asking about meditation apps is: If you’re outsourcing attention to the technology itself, is it really attention that you’re developing as a skill for yourself?”
~ Rebecca Jablonsky
“When people go to the gym, for example, they know pretty much what’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen. Lifting weights causes muscles to stretch and even tear a little, causing lactic acid to build up, causing the muscles to rebuild themselves bigger and with more capacity than they had before. It’s a physical process, and while trainers will debate the best methods until the end of time, the basic operation is clearly understood.
Meditation is similar. If you do the work, predictable changes in the mind and the brain tend to result, in a fairly reliable way. This, in a sense, is the very opposite of spirituality—and it’s certainly not religion either. It’s more like working out: Each time I come back to the breath, I’m strengthening very specific neural networks.”
~ Jay Michaelson
“I’m slowly learning how to bring anthropology and mindfulness together. I think they complement each other beautifully, but how to talk about it is a whole other thing. I think it comes down to excavation – what you do physically to understand where people come from. That’s a process of discovery and insight.”
Dr. Michael J. Kimball
"Stories about gradual improvements rarely make the front page even when they occur on a dramatic scale and affect millions of people. And thanks to increasing press freedom and improving technology, we hear about more disasters than ever before. This improved reporting is itself a sign of human progress, but it creates the impression of the exact opposite."
~ Hans Rosling
It wasn’t until I stumbled clumsily toward a daily mindfulness practice in my mid-thirties that I discovered that there were ways I could get better at feeling my feelings.
Before intentionally working on my attentional skills, I had no idea how often I escalated my unpleasant feelings and zipped past the pleasant and subtler ones.
The kind of self-awareness that mindfulness exercise develops has helped me become more objective about my subjective experiences.
While I’m waiting impatiently for the rest of the world to calibrate to my ideal technology habits, I’ve started to watch myself watch other people peer into their devices as they walk down the street, sit in coffee shops, and stand at urinals.
This impulse has grown into a challenging, but fascinating attention exercise that has lead to some liberating insights that have shifted my reactions to other people’s observable tech habits.