The Best Diet for 2019

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Smart phones are making us dumber. Studies show that the use of smart-phone technology decreases a cognitive function called fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence is another name for our capacity to reason. It is necessary for all logical problem solving . . .

So, the more you use your phone, the more likely you are to act irrationally, or, “think with your gut.” Such thinking is often called “intuitive”- almost as a kind of praise. But such “intuition” has nothing to do with the spiritual intuition of a developed mind. And studies show that it’s often wrong.

Checkout this article from the University of Chicago Press

Rather, gut-level instinct has more to do with our impulse to survive. Not a bad thing in itself, except that you probably live in an environment where this instinct is being nudged by behavioral economists to drive your behavior. 

And you want to use technology, not be used by it, right? 

So, here are four things you can do to protect your mind: 

  1. Go on a connectivity diet. Turn off your phone.  Maybe even put it away one day a week.
  2. Take a few minutes each morning to meditate and reflect on what you’re living for. 
  3. Be aware of your mental habits and functioning. 
  4. Use tools like The Light Phone or Moment to limit your exposure to connectivity. 

Contemplation is an important deterrent to technology because it protects your time. Knowing what you’re living for and why empowers you to set priorities, which helps you to get the most out of life. 

Reflecting on, and knowing what’s important to you – (in my own case it’s things like reading, writing, and studying Buddha Nature) – as well as why it’s important, will keep you focused, and strong about being able to say “no” to things that take you away from meaningful subjects, such as your values, and your ability to think.

Your habits are what systems want to control: especially your attention habits. So, to keep free from another’s control, get control of your habits.

You can do this by reading someone like James Clear, who recently published his book, Atomic Habits.

Information is not equivalent to meaning. And spending more time on consuming information leaves you less time for meaning. Try to engage in activities that are not information-based: activities that create something – like a poem, or a garden, a conversation, or cooking a meal with friends.  

* * *

This is our last post of 2018. Next year we’ll continue to look at different ways to open and create meaning in our lives: through poetry, art, contemplative study, and by outsmarting the systems that want us to go on somnambulating.

17th Century Zen Master Hakuin wrote, “All Beings are from the very beginning Buddhas.” With this thought in mind . . . 

I wish you all a peaceful, regenerative transition into 2019.

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