Are we even capable of mindfulness?

Are we even capable of mindfulness?

Our Western culture seems to multitask in its sleep.

While texting photos to myself, doing a Sudoku puzzle, and going to the bathroom last night, I couldn’t help but laugh at what I’ve become—what humans have become. We have all of this technology in our lives meant to make it easier, but in reality it has only made things more complicated—made us all busier as a result.

Each year, I dedicate a journal to a theme. Next year’s theme, for example, is Moxie; this year’s was She-Hero. Last year’s theme, however, was supposed to be mindfulness, and I have to say it was my most unsuccessful theme yet. Why? Because I’m just not sure if I can do one thing at a time—and neither can many other people.

We live in a society where people are expected to be on and going all of the time. My cell phone, though incredibly helpful sometimes, is a pain in my butt alone. Everyone expects you to be available these days. Nothing—not a movie, sleep, evening dinner—is sacred anymore. And if you miss a call or text, people are like, “Where were you?” It’s not a nightmare but it’s not pleasant.

I remember quitting a client because she demanded constant attention, among other things. She would call at ten o’clock at night asking for things, or want me to be at meetings I wasn’t paid to attend. I felt so good when that was behind me, but now my cell phone seems to have taken her place—perhaps in a worse way, as it makes me feel resentful toward people I actually care about.

Try sitting still for five minutes and doing nothing. Don’t talk, don’t watch TV, don’t surf the Internet—just sit and see how long you can do it. It could be the hardest thing you have ever tried to do!

This inability to sit still with ourselves, to really be mindful in the moment, is ruining us. We are too busy to care about anything important surrounding us, whether it be genocide or pesticide. We are too busy to enjoy our own lives! I used to sit in the bathroom while my child took her bath and giggle with her, playing with bath crayons or boats. Now I clean the bathroom, make phone calls, and sometimes even work in the bathroom instead of enjoying this time with her. What is wrong with us?

I think we need mindfulness classes in schools today. That might serve us better than any other courses we could take.