I try not to be irked by things. I try to go through life and let people do their own thing. I figure that as long as you’re not hurting other people, you're doing ok by me. (In most cases.)
However, one thing that really bothers me is people on their phones, in church. That’s one thing I like about going to church. It gives me the freedom from the device for about an hour. It’s respite from the emails and text messages. It also frees me from the temptation to check my Facebook every five minutes. I’ve come to really enjoy letting it go and getting away.
Even right now I have my phone immediately to the right of me and I check it every few minutes or so to see if something has happened. Most of the time nothing does.
That’s actually why I enjoy walking places as well. It clears my head and allows me to be in one place, and not pulled in a hundred directions, which I am prone to have happen to myself. Today I walked to Home Depot, which is about a mile away. The whole trip took me about an hour. While I was walking, at least 10 people passed me, but they were running.
It seems to me that people have to have an excuse to be outside. They need to either do yard work or exercise. You can’t just be walking around. I think that’s one of the things I really loved about Boston. I walked around places because I had to. It was either that or wait nervously while wondering if your bus or the T was ever going to come.
I’ll admit, most of the time that I am walking, I am usually listening to something. But there are also times where I need to just throw my phone in my bag and wander around for a while. Sometimes I need my mind just to be in front of me, and that’s difficult to have happen in our connected world.
Which brings me back to church. I’ve been hearing a lot about “mindfulness” lately. That’s not a bad thing. It’s good to focus on yourself and your own thing for a while, but, as with most good ideas, the commercialization of it tends to get in the way of it’s original mission. I’m not going to say, “Oh, well church was the original place for mindfulness” because I believe everyone finds the spirit in their own way.
What I am going to say is that the answer to centering yourself is usually closer than you think. Putting your phone away for a while is a good thing.
There was a Tenebre service at the Basilica on Friday night. (Tenebre roughly means darkness.) It was a peaceful service which I really enjoyed. As I’ve said before, I used to hate the Tridium masses because they took up so much time, but now I’ve come to appreciate them because it gives me more time away. And it’s always good to use the extra time to be away from your phone.