I sometimes wonder if we’re becoming less and less capable of what I’ll call deep thought.
And by “we” of course I mean “I”.
The problem is that deep thought – thinking deeply about some topic or issues to really get your mind around it, or establish a credible position about it – is doing constant battle with the trivial. It’s simply much too easy to skim facebook, reply to an email, throw out a text message or what not. These activities don’t require any form of depth – “skimming” really is the right word for almost all of them.
I know it’s more difficult for me not only to set aside time for introspection and deep thought or research, but when I do it’s also more difficult to actually stay focussed on the topic at hand.
The solutions are both simple and elusive.
I meditate to try and train (or re-train?) my mind on what it means not just to focus, but how to quickly, easily, and without stress, step away from the distracting thoughts that inevitably arise.
I also try to step away from distractions like email and social media for periods throughout the day. Unfortunately that’s more difficult than it sounds, because in doing whatever else it is I choose to focus on it’s not uncommon to need or want to send an email, or reference a bit of information, which in turn has me firing up the email program or browser and that’s when the vortex of the trivial calls.
It’s another reason for this writing exercise. A few moments during the day focused on a topic, thinking about how best to string some words together.
Gratitude? Simple. What I just described is such a first world problem. I’m grateful to have it, and that the means to escape it is, ultimately, in my power.