Techno-zombies, listen up

Put your device down. Lee Elliott needs to give you a piece of his mindfulness

What is the role of mindfulness in the modern age?

Going for a walk anywhere these days is a practice in dodging distracted people. Headsets in and eyes lowered, people are walking about without paying any attention to what is going on around them. It is amusing to watch two techno-zombies bump into each other, upset with being interrupted from their screen. I have seen two people with their heads down trying to avoid each other, fail by bumping into each other, and, still with their eyes glued to their devices, both try to go the same direction and collide again.

The distraction doesn't just affect in a harmless, comical way either. Where I live in Ontario, the provincial police reported in 2016 that three of the previous four years set records for the number of pedestrian fatalities. It is possible that a combination of distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians have led to this increase.

My grandmother used to call the television the "idiot box," but I think we may have a new contender for that moniker. People are so focused on the tiny screen in front of them that they do not take the time to look around, pay attention to their surroundings or enjoy the moment they are in.

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment, where you are and what you are doing. It is a chance to look at the people, the scenery, the world around you. When you are with friends, be with them. Not paying attention to the world around you has consequences. Not only for you but for others as well.

In Toronto, my friend watched as a mother, with her face immersed in her device, rushed off the subway train and left her toddler behind. Whatever was on the phone was more important than her child. My friend saw what happened and got off at the next stop with the little guy and brought him to the subway agent. The agent told him this is not the first time she had seen this happen!

How often have you been at a dinner where the people you are eating with are on their screens instead of conversing and connecting with the others at the table? Is it more important to brag about the fun time you are having as opposed to actually having a fun time? Do we really need a play-by-play of time you are spending with others while we are not there?

All the electronic devices in our lives allow us to respond from anywhere at any time, yet we use them to respond all the time. Far from making things more convenient, they have taken away the easy aspects and replaced them with stress.

When will we learn that multitasking really isn't – multitasking really means doing several things poorly instead of one thing really well. Many mistakenly believe they can multitask effectively, but study after study has shown that the human brain is simply not able to juggle so many balls at once. I've been in far too many meetings where one or several people are typing away on their computer or fiddling on their device and they grind the meeting to a halt when asked a question.

"Sorry, can you repeat that?" they say when what they should admit is: "Sorry, I wasn't paying any attention to what you were talking about because I was distracted with something I think is more important than all of you, so please indulge me and repeat everything you have been saying again while I waste even more time."

And how often do you hear, "I need to respond to this right now"; "What did he post today?" or "Just let me read this one thing." The device seems to demand your time at this instant. But does it really need to be answered right away?

This need for instant gratification and connection has even manifested into a psychological phenomenon. "Phantom vibration syndrome" has been much studied by researchers with data published in medical journals such as the BMJ. Phantom vibration syndrome is the feeling that your device is vibrating in your pocket even when it isn't there.

But once you learn to leave the device alone or only check it at certain times, you will naturally be more present and relaxed. The best part of mindfulness practice is the peace of mind it brings.

Over the past several months, I have stopped checking my phone all the time. I have put the electronics away and spent time with people. I have become more in the moment. It can't be coincidental that my stress level has decreased and my happiness has increased.

When I first started my mindful practice, I thought it was going to be some jive hippie stuff or some pseudo-religious ceremony, but it really wasn't either of those things. Taking some time each day to be in the moment was actually more freeing than I had expected.

We all have busy lives juggling work, family, friends, health, hobbies and a myriad of other tasks. So how can you find time to be mindful? Put the phone down. Focus on your breath for five to 10 minutes just as you wake up or go to sleep. Simply be part of the world around you.

You don't have to stop and smell the roses, but you can at least notice that they are there.

Globe and Mail Wednesday Oct 25 2017

Lee Elliott lives in Bolton, Ont.

UNDERSTANDING MINDFULNESS THROUGH MUSIC Full day workshop with Garry Diggins

The Centre for Compassion and Wisdom Presents: http://centreforcompasionandwisdom.com

UNDERSTANDING MINDFULNESS THROUGH MUSIC  with Garry Diggins

Saturday, November 18 10:00am to 4:00pm

Native Women's Centre 21 Rosedene Ave, Hamilton ON

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing attention in the present moment. The practice helps us manage stress and anxiety, become more resilient with difficult emotions, and live with more self-awareness.

This highly interactve workshop explores mindful practices through group music making. User-friendly instruments are provided. No prior background in music or mindfulness is needed.

Gary Diggins has worked for Mindfulness Without Borders for the past decade and taught around the world. He is the author of Tuning the Eardrums: Listening as a Mindful Practice.

Some topics include:

• Making music as a contemplative practice
• Noticing emotional responses to soundscapes
• Cultivating self-awareness through listening
• Improvising as a means of staying in the moment

Bring a packed lunch and water container.
If you have your own drums and small percussion bring them along.

Cost: $75 Register: http://bit.ly/GaryDiggins

16 Guidelines Level 1Workshop with Sharon Babineau, Craig Mackie & Elizabeth Stronski

THE CENTRE FOR COMPASSION AND WISDOM PRESENTS:  

16 GUIDLINES FOR LIFE LEVEL 1 WORKSHOP                                            

Saturday & Sunday October 21 & 22. 9:00 am to 4:30 pm                                   Churchill Park Clubhouse, 167 Cline Ave. N Hamilton Ontario

Participants will develop tools to change the way they Think, Act, Relate and Create Meaning.

This workshop is for those who are interested in taking mindfulness into the world in order to create a wise, kind society including: Educators, Facilitators, Health and Mental Health Practitioners, Parents, Business Leaders, Community Developers,and Coaches

The 16G have attracted everyone from neuroscientists to school teachers, corporations to social services agencies, parents to community builders - anyone who is in need of motivation to change their outlook and practices. The 16G are currently being used for personal and cultural change in hospitals, schools, social service agencies, drug rehab, hospices, universities, youth-at-risk programs, youth leadership programs, businesses and prisons as well as in families, communities and neighborhoods.

REGISTER:  https://16guidelinesworkshopjune2017.eventbrite.ca

INQUIRIES:

peace@centreforcompassionandwisdom.com

FEES:

Registration includes cost of 16 G Book and Cards ($35 value)

$225 Register by October 5

$275 thereafter

Request for Presentation on Mindfulness for Outreach Centre

To whom it may concern,

I am the operations manager at The King's Way Outreach Centre, and was
looking for information about your Mindfulness Programs in Hamilton.  We
offer Empowerment
Programming to our clients for free, and was wondering if your
organization does on-site programming in the community. Initially, we were
looking for one presentation during the month of September or October, ong
a Wednesday between 12:30-1:30. The
dates available are: September (6, 13, 20, or 27), October (4, 11, 18, or
25). The presentations would have approximately 15-20 attendees.

We would love to offer a free community resource to our clients for them
to be able to access. If we provide them with a presentation/informative
class about your program, they may be able to access your weekly
meditation group.

Please contact me with information about the aforementioned.

Thank you in advance,

Antoinette Laffrenier
Operations Manager, The King's Way Outreach Centre
289-776-6917
a.laffrenier@alifeatatime.com

PLEASE let us know via mindfulnesshamilton@gmail.com if you have responded to this request so another member will not then contact them

16 Guidelines Level 1 Course: Tools for cultural and personal change June 3-4 2017

Participants will develop tools to change the way they Think, Act, Relate and Create Meaning.

This workshop is for those who are interested in taking mindfulness into the world in order to create a wise, kind society:

  • Educators
  • Facilitators
  • Health and Mental Health practitioners
  • Parents
  • Business Leaders
  • Community Developers
  • Coaches

The 16G have attracted everyone from neuroscientists to school teachers, corporations to social services agencies, parents to community builders - anyone who is in need of motivation to change their outlook and practices. The 16G are currently being used for personal and cultural change in hospitals, schools, social service agencies, drug rehab, hospices, universities, youth-at-risk programs, youth leadership programs, businesses and prisons as well as in families, communities and neighborhoods.

REGISTER:  https://16guidelinesworkshopjune2017.eventbrite.ca

INQUIRIES:

peace@centreforcompassionandwisdom.com

craig@essentiachange.net

www.16guidelines.org 

FEES:

Registration includes cost of 16 G Book and Cards ($35 value)

$225 register by May 24 2017

$275 thereafter

In partnership with: essentialchange.net

Saturday & Sunday

        June 3-4 2017

9:00am- 4:30pm

Womens Native Center

21 Rosedene Ave

 Hamilton Ontario

Craig Mackie has a MA in philosophy and a MSW. Currently in clinical practice with the Ottawa Mindfulness Clinic, he also teaches at the University of Toronto, Applied Mindfulness Meditation Program and is an international trainer in the 16 Guidelines.

with co-facilitators

Sharon Babineau – Corporate Wellness Facilitator and Mindfulness Specialist.

& Elizabeth Skronski  - Certified Coach, Meditation and Mindfulness Facilitator

Mindful Self Compassion Course

MINDFUL SELF-COMPASSION  May 6- June 24
Melrose United Church
MINDFUL SELF-COMPASSION (MSC) is an empirically-supported, 8-week, training
program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion and is based on the
groundbreaking research of Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Christopher
Germer.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE PROGRAM
MSC includes 8 weekly sessions of 3 hours
each, in addition to a 4-hour retreat.
Participants should plan to attend every
session and practice mindfulness and
self-compassion at least 30 minutes per day
throughout the program.
No previous experience with mindfulness or
meditation is required to attend MSC.
INSTRUCTORS
Programs are led by Mindful Self-Compassion Hamilton trained teachers.
See website for instructor profiles
*MSC is a compassion training program. MSC is not psychotherapy.
Self-compassion can be learned by anyone
Research has demonstrated that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional well-being, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.
Visit
www.mindfulselfcompassionhamilton.org
for more information