In an era of supreme stimulation, there is virtually nothing we cannot experience at the drop of the hat. Miss your mom? FaceTime her. Want to check out that new construction house at the end of the street? Take a virtual tour. Behind on your shows? Get them On Demand and binge watch the last month. And let's be honest here-- if you are doing one of these, you are usually doing two....at the same time.
We live in a world of constant, non-stop activity. I am convinced that we are training our minds to crave more, more, more. Drivers with one hand on the wheel, the other texting or clutching a phone. Has driving a car going 80 mph not enough to keep us entertained anymore? We now need SiriusXM, blue tooth and a center panel of options to get us to work in the morning
I am the first to admit (as I already have) that I thoroughly enjoy the convenience that these advancements have brought to my life. I love that I can grocery shop from my kitchen without stepping a foot in Kroger, all while cooking the pasta I need for dinner that night. I love folding laundry while I succumb to the latest episode of Law & Order: SVU. But here's the thing: I typically overcook those noodles because I get too engrossed in my online order, and it takes me over an hour to fold socks because I am too caught up in the latest episode. The TRUE reality is that we aren't doing ourselves any favors, and we aren't saving any amount of time.
This Era of Multitask overlooks one critical life component: thought. True, deep thinking. The silence and boredom and lack of activity that spurns profound epiphanies, creative juices and soul-searching stability.
Research has continually shown that multi-tasking does us no good. It lowers our IQ, it damages our brain, it confuses our senses. Science has proven that we truly can only focus on one task at hand. And as much as we'd like to, there is no hacking the ol' noggin. In fact, when we do try to do more at once, studies have shown that our capacity to perform both tasks is lowered to that of a young child. Yikes.
One would think that after practicing yoga and meditation for many years I might have it together in this area, but I don't. I may never. But I am better. And as long as I see that progress, it's worth it to me. So I continue to put more conscious effort into focusing on one thing, one person, one situation. I have promised myself to take the everyday tasks and find a way to think through them. Those whites can be folded in silence, without taking that call from my sister. I can walk my dog and appreciate the frost without Spotify on in my earbuds. And- gasp- I can sit in silence, total, scary silence, in my living room every once inawhile to try to experience the space between my thoughts. The true silence. These are the actions that will make us stronger--mentally, spiritually, maybe even physically.
When we practice yoga, focus is essential. I harp and harp and harp on this, because I truly believe it connects us to ourselves on a greater level.
Focused breathing, focused thought, focused movement.
Practicing these can change your life, and build habits that translate outside of our studio bubble. I challenge you to raise the bar for yourself. During your next yoga class or when you find yourself amidst 3 different tasks, make the effort to find that inner voice that longs to be heard over the chaos that surrounds. It's subtle and peaceful, but oh so powerful.
I know it can be done-- so let's do it together.