Meditation Versus FOMO — The Approach I Use

The “other” app I run.


This has happened too many times to count: I get a great, or not-so-great, idea I want to act on later.

The problem is I’m not in a position to write it down or save it in some way.

Let’s face it, “I’ll remember it later” is not a valid answer.

Especially as I age.

This is particularly true when it comes to meditation.

It’s a subset of something often referred to as the “monkey mind” — a mind that’s skittering about thinking this or wondering that, rather than focusing on the present moment or whatever’s supposed to hold your attention while meditating.

Traditional practice is to “acknowledge” the thought — see it for what it is — and then let it go. My theory is this is actually the hidden agenda of meditation: it’s not to have no thoughts or even a single focus, but rather to actually let other thoughts happen and then practice acknowledging and letting go. In so practicing, we improve our ability to recognize our thoughts better and choose how we direct our focus through the rest of our day.

Some of those random thoughts are valuable. They might include ideas, questions, answers, places to go, things to do, people to see, and more. It’s not uncommon for a Really Good Idea to appear while I’m meditating.

Sometimes the monkeys have value.

Let it go? I don’t think so!

And, once again, “I’ll remember it later” leads only to frustration. When “later” comes and I try to recall that Really Good Idea … I can’t.

The FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — is real.

I realized FOMO is one of the biggest enemies of meditation. I’ll have a thought and simultaneously want to both remember it and “let it go.” I’d be stuck in a vicious circle.

For a long time, my solution was to have a voice recorder in my hand. If I had an idea, I could, without looking, turn it on, record the thought, turn it off, and carry on. I knew I wouldn’t miss out. It was a minor distraction that worked well.

Until, of course, I kept losing voice recorders.

I’ve been on a quest to find an equivalent solution for my phone: a voice recording app I could quickly operate without looking, even if the phone is locked(*). So far, no joy.

But when it comes to meditation, I realized there was a much simpler solution: start the app first and record the entire session.

Now, when I meditate, I start Google Recorder before I start Headspace. It will record and transcribe anything I say. At the end of the session, I stop the recorder and save the recording. It’s automatically uploaded and available to me online. If I had nothing to say, I would delete the recording without uploading it.

It’s less work than the original voice recorder solution. All I need to do at any time is speak a word or two. I can then really let it go, knowing it’s captured.

Later, when I’m dealing with my to-do list, my journal, or my other activities, I can quickly review the saved transcription and act on it. Typically that means just copy/pasting things into an appropriate place.

The hardest part? Since this is still relatively new, I have to remember to turn on the recorder before my meditation.

It’s not a solution for the car, and I’m not up to recording my showers yet (another common birthplace of bright ideas), but for meditation, it’s definitely helping me keep the monkeys corralled.

(*) Quickly turns out to be important, but “even if locked” has been the deal-breaker so far. It’s about more than meditation; I want to be able to capture thoughts while driving without needing to take my eyes off the road. I haven’t found a good solution for this yet.

2 thoughts on “Meditation Versus FOMO — The Approach I Use”

  1. For the car while driving, I don’t have a solution but a thought. Perhaps whatever you use could be turned on and off at the wheel, perhaps a button the fingers can easily reach without looking or, if you are not driving at night, the bright/dim switch.


    • That would be nice if I could find it. What I really want is an “OK Google”, or “Alexa” type voice recognition to work reliably to take arbitrary length notes. So far no luck there.

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