If it’s computer-assisted, is it still mindfulness?

As I work at being self-employed, I’ve noticed how much I have come to depend on my iPod Touch.

While my iPod contains my entire music collection, I tend to use it more as a handheld computer than an mp3 player.

I have my fair share of games, utilities, and more than a few news apps. For my work, I can check my e-mail, use the calendar app to keep appointments, use the ToDo app for my to-do list, an app called Billings tracks my billable hours, and the Bento app organizes my projects.

For my Zen practice, I have a meditation timer, digital copies of various Zen and Taoist texts, the digital version of FM3’s Buddha Machine, iKoto for experimenting with Japanese music, Alan Watts podcasts in iTunes, and the calendar app reminds me when to sit zazen.

My latest app acquisition is Lose It!, which I use to monitor my calorie intake in my latest effort to drop some weight.  It’s working well, but is it still mindfulness?

I’m reading Mindful Eating by Jan Chozen Bays and starting to apply what I’m learning, but I also find that the iPod app is making me really pay attention to every meal and every snack. Which I think is good, but I wonder: Is the iPod becoming a kind of mind-crutch? Or is it more of a digital keisaku, helping me stay focused?

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2 thoughts on “If it’s computer-assisted, is it still mindfulness?

  1. I had to laugh when I read your post — I have the same like/attachment to my Iphone and I do use a zen timer LOL. It is convenient to listen to dharma talks from my monastery as I walk to my sitting group, too. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but I just watch myself as I turn it off when visiting the monastery. So far I’m okay. In the end, technology (even Second Life) has allowed me to meet new people with similar interests — including a zen monk in France. It can’t be all bad. Thanks for bringing up something relevant.

  2. Funny, I hadn’t even considered my “attachment” to my iPod! The more I think about it, the more I look at the iPod as a tool. Could I carry on without it? Sure. Just like I can meditate anytime, anywhere, but I find it useful to have a cushion and an altar.

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