To be in the present moment and make your life simpler and more joyful, you don’t need to run to an island or an ashram at all – here are five very effective ways to integrate the art of Zen into our technology-filled life.
Rule 1: Focus on one thing
Of course, this advice is a red flag for multitaskers (those who are used to doing many things at once) and are proud of it. Meditation teachers often use this trick – they ask their students to imagine that their brain is a computer, and start closing folders (work, family, current affairs) in turn until only a blank screen remains.
Ironically, it is technology (mobile apps) that can help keep track of how much time we spend on screens and what information we receive, and help avoid sensory overload. Tools like Anti-Social, Concentrate, and Self-Control help you focus on one thing. Apps like this can turn off social media and your favorite shoe shopping sites, set timers—setting the time to complete one specific action—and monitor how much time we spend online.
Rule 2: Live simply
If you care about the state of the environment, there are so many things to remember. For example, do not forget to take an eco-bag with you when you go grocery shopping … And what about the fact that you had to get to a yoga retreat in Thailand by plane flying on harmful fuel? Apps like Oroeco calculate our carbon footprint, give helpful tips on how to reduce our environmental footprint, and then post our progress on Facebook (a post like this should garner a lot of likes!).
Rule 3: Meditate
Today, few people can afford to go into a silent retreat for several months – meditation in the modern world should fit into our daily lives. You can meditate while waiting in line at the dentist or on a crowded train with the OMG I Can Meditate! app. And this is much more useful than sitting in line on social networks or reading a fashion magazine over the shoulder of a neighbor.
Rule 4: Get yourself rituals
Regular yoga classes or the repetition of mantras are a kind of rituals that increase awareness. Video classes on YouTube, kirtana albums on iTunes – our technological age gives us virtual access to both Indian gurus chanting ancient mantras and glamorous yoga teachers – at any time.
Rule 5: Take it slow
Sometimes we use technology to “turn off”—for example, by constantly checking our Facebook timeline. However, there are also online applications that help develop mindfulness. You can delve into a virtual Japanese garden, create a colorful kaleidoscope during a long air flight, or download the most important master of virtual awareness, the world’s best stress fighter – an air bubble wrap on which you can burst bubbles online!