Zia Hassan

The Opposite Of Mindfulness

In meditation, we sit in pure observation of our thoughts. We purposefully go out of our minds for a brief and beautiful few moments. We see it all, the pain, the joy, and the wonder, from the outside, mostly to remind ourselves that there is an outside.

And we can almost sustain it. After spending two minutes in Zazen this morning, I left feeling energized and positive, ready for a day of doing my job and not even caring that it’s a weekend because I love what I do.

I even recall hitting some walls during the day, and while it took me a second or two, I was able to go out of my mind long enough to observe my emotions and acknowledge that they aren’t “me.”

I spent the entire day in active conversation with engaged educators and felt intellectually and physically stimulated.

When I returned to my hotel room, I crashed on my bed in order to relax. I pulled out my phone and started checking out my social media feeds. After 5-10 mins, I was back in my own head, telling myself stories about people, filling in the gaps, and making myself feel emotions from semi-fictional narratives.

This is the opposite of mindfulness. It’s not life. Life is mostly normal until there are bumps, and almost anyone can deal with a few bumps everyday. A bump takes us back into our mind, but if we are mentally fit, we can go out and back in again, which cleanses us.

But surfing our feeds? It’s more like a road littered with potholes. We don’t just get into our heads but we bury ourselves there. We forget sometimes where reality lives. We wallow and we let our mind scribble markers all over the walls of our psyche. We sit back and sigh, assuming we can’t really do much about it.

I would pay a lot of money to have a social media service that had no ads, and no random comments from people I don’t know. I wouldn’t seen tweets from strangers that were “liked” by my friends. I wouldn’t get wrapped into random convos on a news feed.

I have the power to avoid all of this of course. But it’s hard.

What are you supposed to say to your mind when it is flailing around in a kiddie pool thinking it’s drowning in the ocean?