When was the last time you experienced true stillness?
I’m not referring to physical stillness, I’m asking when was the last time you sat and did absolutely nothing? No TV, no phones, no tidying, no sleeping. Absolutely nothing.
Think about it for a moment.
We live in a world that is always ‘on’, where doing more supposedly means we’ll achieve more, and ultimately end up happier.
But in reality, that’s not what happens at all. When we cram our days with more and more ‘stuff’, all we end up feeling is overwhelmed and exhausted. Hardly the recipe for achieving our best selves.
We’ve all experienced the tightness in our chest as yet another unread email lands in our inbox. The feeling of being forever behind and never having the time (or the energy) to do the best possible job.
And when we do switch off our inbox, we migrate to social media where we’re bombarded with up to 10,000 messages every single day. While we don’t consciously remember them all, our poor little brains have still been hard at work filtering through the chaos.
It’s no surprise that 1 in 5 Australians are suffering from anxiety or other mental health issues.
But is technology really such a problem or does the issue lie purely in our dependency on it?
Research shows that humans’ increasing reliance on technology is actually changing our neural pathways. Our attention spans are shrinking, or memory is declining and perhaps most worryingly, we’re losing our ability to connect emotionally to others.
But it doesn’t need to be this way, because researchers have also discovered that secret to being productive, to being creative and to having more meaningful relationships, is actually quite straightforward: Meditate.
Now, we’re all aware of Meditation and I’m sure that most have dabbled here and there. But how many of us sit down on a regular basis and actually do it?
Somehow, it’s easier to get up at 5.30am and throw ourselves into gruelling vinyasa class or write a 15-page report than it is to sit quietly for a few minutes and observe our minds.
It’s a sad reflection of our increasingly Yang culture and inability to slow down.
But with a bit of practice, Meditation can quickly become as addictive as the smartphone, but for all the right reasons. When we’re able to create peace-of-mind on demand and step away from all the ‘noise’, we start to gain more awareness of our thoughts and the default thinking that creates so many problems. And without even trying, we suddenly feel more in control of our lives.
Teacher Andy Amos has been practising Meditation for two decades. He believes it is now as crucial to our wellbeing as eating, sleeping and physical exercise
“We don’t need to get rid of our devices to transform our lives, we simply need to change our relationship to them. Meditation teaches you how to interact mindfully with technology and discover a stillness within that you never knew existed”
Andy Amos leads the 30-minute Guided Meditation classes at BodyMindLife Surry Hills and Redfern.