December 7, 2015

Cracked iPhone Screen as a Touchstone to Being Present

Yesterday I dropped my phone and the screen cracked. I tried to not be devastated but all I could think was that I needed a new phone. A broken screen to me is a sign of being irresponsible and careless. Certainly the crack was a sign that I needed an upgrade.

But as I let the crack settle into my life I realized how overly attached I am to this powerful device. It keeps me connected to people and information as well as distracted when I feel the slightest bit bored. You know, those in between moments when you could be noticing things around you or even meditating but instead you turn to the phone.

Well, this crack breaks the hallowed surface of this doorway into other places. It is now, a reminder that facing the screen is not like being present, but rather being somewhere, anywhere, everywhere else.

Ironically, today I am asking my students to create a touchstone reminder of the motivational Emotional Intelligence goal they set 10 weeks ago at the start of the quarter. Brian and I were chatting about if we each had a touchstone and I recognized that there are many pieces of jewelry I wear on a regular basis and each has special meaning but I have nothing that I wear or bring with me consistently. Except maybe this phone which I have recently been forgetting at home.

So, this phone has been my shiny distracting object. Now, with its cracked face I can see that the looking glass is not flawless and I can turn away and look around me, a prompt to be mindful of the present.