Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mindfulness among Geeks

A recent article in Wired magazine talked about meditation, about mindfulness training in Silicon Valley, describing the popularly of meditation amongst engineers from Google and Facebook, an antidote for the always stressed, always connected denizens of the net. It is a long way coming, meditation being the only alternative aside from sex, alcohol and drugs to ease stress. In fact it is an ancient practice in all religions of the world, an accepted remedy for the pressure of life. Now the practice has gone mainstream, like a skill easily learned like say learning a new programming language. Now everyone is in it, in some ways to improve their product by including the awareness and tranquility that one feels in meditation, adding features to show love and peace in Facebook or some other app; an attempt to increase the product’s attractiveness.  Witness the coming conference that spreads the word to those otherwise millionaire developers in the valley, transcending LSD and yoga; delving into the deeper stuff, to learn who you are, the new EST for geeks.

Intuitively one has gone this path before, meditating to control the monkey mind; thereby one sees that the growth of a person is actually increasing facility with mind control; to be mature as against being childlike. In this respect Buddhist societies like Thailand and Japan are well advanced cultures, learning ancient tools to make their life better, now transmitted into the West, first with yoga and now mindfulness and meditation, perhaps an adjunct to the increasing acceptability of marijuana. I have been neglecting Tai Chi practice, engaged in the flow of the world, getting home, watching television or videos or reading magazines, keeping the mind engaged like it was a sin to keep the brain still. Only swimming every week is the only form of meditation, similarly done by people like Stephen Covey. Now it is clear that knowledge workers need mental training, to relax and increase one’s awareness. Especially when one has experienced the jolt of a medical emergency, the near death experience of a loved one, that one faces his mortality, focusing the mind into the essentials of life.

The new job bring more mental challenges aside from concern to one’s sick relatives, thinking about money and medical bills, of the future and one’s children, seemingly vulnerable in this harsh world of economic problems, political partisanship and meanness. The constant inflow of email, chat, deadlines and people to talk to, to follow-up and work on new systems while thinking of ways to make money, to pay for medical bills and college tuition, to pay mortgages and to live a decent lifestyle , now threatened by medical problems and a difficult job. But one only needs to show up, to take things day by day, to fight anxiety by journal writing, cognitive behavior training and Tai Chi. Mental exhaustion is caused by oneself, by taking in too much television and videos, or books; trying to be in the know as one hopes to know all and be smart so he can survive at work, to solve all these problems by learning something new. But this is only book learning, with no actual experience except one at work, trying to learn new things by watching video lectures in YouTube when all one gets is more anxiety and stress.

No comments: