Technology and Mindfulness
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Are you chained to your devices, or a big fan of and a frequent user of technology? You use it and may or may not like it. Either way, that's okay. In an old episode of the Big Bang Theory, Howie meets Bernadette for the first time. He tries to make small talk and asks her, "So, do you like computers?" She replies, "I use them, I don't like them."
We know that 95% of Americans own some type of a cell phone and 77% own a Smart Phone. Cell phone ownership includes all types of people regardless of gender, income, location, age, education, and so on. So doesn't it make sense that enterprising entrepreneurs would think that an app for your phone for mindfulness might be a good idea? Chances are very, very good that people that practice meditation and mindfulness own a smart phone. A check of the phone app "Headspace" as this blog is written, revealed that 13,679 were meditating, with the guidance of the app. RIGHT NOW.
How many people have an Amazon Echo (or Dot or other Alexa device)? Over 8 million. And Amazon controls over 70% of the market. So just like the smart phones, it only makes sense that developers would create Alexa "skills" for mindfulness.
Stop, Breathe & Think is an Alexa app that goes like this: "Alexa, open Stop, Breath, Think." "Alexa, ask Stop, Breath, Think to play meditation." If you don't like a particular guided meditation, you can skip that one and say, "Play next." Each meditation is 3-10 minutes long.
Alexa has more than 15,000 skills. There are lots of guided meditations, Nature sounds, Buddha quotes, breathing meditations, Zen Sounds (Japanese Garden and Himalaya and Beach), Buddha Sense, Zen Mode, Healing Sounds, Pink Noise, Meditation Studio, and on and on.
Echo isn't the only home assistant. Google Home is gaining on Amazon. At some point, almost every home will have AI in the house, just as most homes have TV, a personal computer and a smart phone.
If technology is invading our lives because of work, hobbies, or just because we like it (or don't like it, but more and more there is little choice) we can now use it to make us stop and be mindful for as little as 10 minutes at a time. That's a good thing. And if we don't use technology to meditate, people did so for thousands of years and that method lives on and will live on. If you need an electronic reminder, that is perfectly acceptable. Remember to be mindful every day.