I’m writing a book that puts a lot of emphasis on dealing with distractions.
And… since a couple of days I’m addicted to Pokémon Go.
I’m not a total junkie but it’s bad enough.
Let me give you an idea:
- I’m 38.
- Where I live I haven’t yet seen anyone my age or older playing it.
- When I go for a 10 minute bike ride, I come home an hour and a half later.
- I talk incessantly about it to my daughters (now 8 and 6). The oldest one isn’t impressed.
- I catch Pokémons while I pick up my kids from summer camp in the evening.
- So far this week all my Instagrams are screenshots of the game.
- I ask strangers with smartphones if they are playing it and if they have tips for me.
- I started a local Pokémon Go Facebook group.
Yesterday I started wondering: “How can I turn this into meditation practice?”
This morning I decided not to give into the urge to play before 14:30. I turned off my phone and set an alarm to remind me when I could turn it on again (14:25).
All morning I noticed I was thinking of the game, resisting the urge to Go or browse forums and watch vlogs about it.
Even though I’m thrilled about my book project, the past hours I struggled to focus on it. It took more effort than usual to finish the draft of another chapter.
Just now (10:42) I took a pause to go for a walk.
I played with the idea to simply turn the game on without really playing, so this Pokémon egg that’s about to hatch would come out. I tried to convince myself that I would mute the sound and not look at the screen until I was back at work.
But I didn’t fall for it. I deliberately left my phone at my desk. It was just me, a juicy red apple and my (low-tech, off the grid) camera.
As for meditation practice…
I’ve set limits on when and how long I play.
While I’m out and about, I focus on my breath and observe what’s going on in mind and body. I keep coming back to that after (or sometimes even while) swiping at Pokéspots and training at “gyms”.
When I’m doing other stuff and suddenly catch myself (!) craving a Pokémon fix, I observe mind and body and inquire: “Who is it that wants to catch ‘em all?”