Finding The Stillpoint

January 14, 2022


A pause in the
cranial rhythm


I don’t have just one monkey. I have a barrel of them. So when I step into a place of meditation and my monkey mind takes over, it’s a circus. Yeah, just sit on a pillow, light a candle, and breathe. Right. Sounds so easy and simple. But it’s not. And it’s getting harder. A recent article in The Irish Times brings this more to light.

“Our ability to pay attention and focus is in free-fall”, writes Johann Hari who has spent three years doing research for his new book on the subject of our attention span. He writes that the average college student now focuses on any one task for just 65 seconds, the average office worker for just three minutes. As our lives are now subject to so many distractions and interruptions, much due to technology, it can take 23 minutes to regain our focus. 

Because it’s the business of social media to constantly grab and shift our attention, this trend is going to continue. Hari proposes that there needs to be an alternative business model for the tech giants to dominate the social media landscape, from monthly subscriptions to public ownership. Good luck with that.

However Hari also writes that we can and must take control of how much we allow that social media landscape to dominate us. Whether we resort to a mobile phone lock box as he has done or download an app that will cut us off from the internet for a time as he has also done, it’s on us to manage the amount of time we are distracted and interrupted.

Finding the stillpoint, creating a pause in those cranial rhythms, is essential for meaningful meditation and contemplation. And finding a quiet space within and without is essential to finding the stillpoint. For some that can be incredibly daunting. I’ve had to tell people that no, it’s not OK to bring your mobile phone into the sweat lodge. No, it’s not OK to bring your mobile into the stone circles in Ireland. While that seems so incredible to me, it’s a reminder that I’m old and grew up when we had rotary dial phones and party lines. I understand. It’s a generational thing. My concern is that the future of the world is in the hands of these distracted generations. 

I admit I’m rather addicted to my computer. But it took a long time before I got an older model iPhone and even longer before I carried it around which I still don’t much of the time to the chagrin of family and friends. Technology and social media don’t dominate my personal landscape to the degree they do for others. If I have a circus of monkeys to deal with, I really can’t image the monkey mind reality for others. I only hope they can find silence and stillness to provide some relief. 

The silence that welcomes the stillpoint is one of the most important gifts we can give ourselves. Through silence doors of perception and understanding open for us. Through silence we open to the wisdom of the universe. And in these times we need all the wisdom we can get.

Judith –

2 thoughts on “Finding The Stillpoint

  1. Maybe it’s a swimming pool (empty) of monkeys for the rest. Though a barrel is enough. “Finding the stillpoint . . .”–that sounds just right. Getting us off the stuckpoint, too, the smart(so to say)phone or computer or the rest of them. You’re right, it’s tough enough for our generation. How will it be for the next ones? I’m glad you raise the question as well as Hari. I’m not sure what the answer is beyond keeping in mind and heart that we are more than our machines. Thanks!

    • I love the visual of a swimming pool of monkeys. Perfect. Yes. I’m concerned about future generations. So lightly skimming over things. No depth. And yes. What we can and must do is remember that we are more than our machines. Although sadly for some it may be about learning that for the first time.

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