I watch people respond to the ring of a cell phone or the beep of a text message like they would to a fire alarm or an urgent call for help. There seems to be relatively little (maybe a job interview or the threat of roaming charges) that pushes people to completely disconnect from their phones. And, while I may miss the days of less uninterrupted communication with friends, I am guilty of wondering what is the problem when I can’t get a hold of someone.
The paragraphs below are from a Daily Insight email sent by Yoga Journal on June 4, 2010. As cellular phones certainly seem like they are here to stay, I like this idea of shifting the way we respond to the ring of our phones.
Often, we instinctively categorize experiences or things as either “good” or “bad.” We imagine those qualities adhere in the thing itself. But sometimes, it is our approach to those things that creates their value.
Take, for example, your telephone. Few of us would suggest that a telephone would be helpful to a meditation practice. But if we change our relationship to the telephone, we change its meaning into something more positive, beneficial, and relaxing.
Don’t let the telephone be one more stressor. Just as Buddhist monks use temple bells to remind themselves to come back to the present moment, let a ringing telephone be a signal to stop and center yourself. Practice “telephone meditation” by never diving for the phone on the first ring. Instead, when you hear the phone ring, stop what you’re doing, breathe deeply and smile. Then answer the phone on the second or third ring.