How would you be without the internet, computers, tv, radio, or telephones? What are you feeling at the thought of this? Are you feeling anxious about being cut off or are you feeling relief from the constant level of stimulation, or a bit of both?
Inspired by the modern Sherlock Holmes TV series, I’ve been reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories and, apart from everything else about the stories, I love the insight in to daily life before all the modern stimulation that we are distracted and assaulted by.
In the time of Sherlock Holmes, the only form of mass communication was the newspaper and it was read cover to cover twice a day (morning edition and evening edition). When you were at home, something like smoking a pipe would be a task that occupied your full attention for some time. Otherwise, the only way that you occupied your time was by reading, conversation, playing a musical instrument, or reading or studying. If you wanted to see art you went to a gallery; if you wanted to hear music you went to a performance; if you wanted to catch up with friends you visited them or caught up with them at your club.
At home you had a sactuary of silence. Time to think, to ponder, to unwind. Time to mull over problems or think original thoughts. Even time to get bored.
Do you use all the modern conveniences of the internet, tv, radio, telephones and music as a distraction, keeping yourself stimulated yet not actually allow yourself to deeply process your thoughts and feelings? Every time something even slightly uncomfortable surfaces you can immediately distract yourself with more stimulation.
I’m guessing that it is this modern overstimulation that opens the desire in us for mindfulness practices such as mediation. These practices offer a way to give your mind and emotions a rest from the constant stimulation and allow you to live more deeply.
How do you make time during your day to digest your experiences, to process your thought and feelings, to incubate new ideas? Do you exercise but then continue to stimulate yourself with music in the headphones or music videos at the gym? Do you play video games but again your nervous system is being fired up dodging bad guys and and fighting furiously? Do you watch hours of TV because its more stimulating then your own life – with the only break your nervous system gets is commercial breaks?
Pay attention and notice for a minute and notice what thoughts, feelings and sensations you sense at the thought of taking time out from all forms of modern stimulation. What if you were to just sit and day dream for 15-30 minutes? Not mediating, not concentrating on your breath, not thinking positive thoughts, but just sitting and letting yourself drift? Could you do it? Would your body let you do it?
Do you feel the urge to right down more tasks so you don’t forget to do things? Do you feel the urge to get up and do something while you’re thinking about it? Do you feel anxious or guilty just sitting and letting your thoughts float aimlessly? Does it feel like you are wasting time? What old thoughts and feelings arise that you would rather avoid?
If the thought of being idle fills you with anxiety or guilt or just makes your feel unsettled, here’s some tapping that might help.
Tapping on the karate-chop point while saying:
- Even though I’m always stimulated and find it hard to settle, I accept that about myself at this moment.
- Even though there’s always more distraction, I wonder what thoughts and feelings I’me avoiding by doing this?
- Even though I’m in the habit of thinking, doing and acting, I wonder how it would feel to sit for some time and let my thoughts drift?
- Even though its easier to stay distracted rather than go deeper in to my thoughts and feelings, I choose to stay open and curious as I rest in this moment.
Tapping through the remaining EFT tapping points, moving on to the next point after each sentence and continuing for as many rounds as needed:
- Too much stimulation
- Always the next distraction
- Something shiny that catches my attention
- Feel like I’m missing out if I don’t keep up
- My nervous system constantly buzzing
- Always more internet, TV, music…
- Always more to do…
- Feeling anxious if I sit still for too long
- What is it I’m distracting myself from?
- Do I have permission to rest in the moment?
- But there’s another TV show to watch.
- If I’m not stimulated, then I’ll eat something instead
- I have to be doing, more, each moment, can’t waste time
- How would it feel to just sit and be?
- Do I remember how to day dream?
- There are too many things to do to waste time in this way.
- I’d get in trouble at school for day dreaming.
- How would I begin to notice that I was relaxing even more?
- Would it be Ok to allow myself to settle for a moment or two?
- To take a deep breath and let my energy drop?
- Even tapping is doing something so now I’m going to accept myself just sitting and being, in this moment and drift…
I’m not suggesting a return to life without all our modern technology but I am suggesting that our minds, emotions, and nervous can do with down time to process and rejuvenate.
Did you enjoy the moment after those rounds of tapping? Share your experience in the comments below.