Pokémon made me do it

2016-07_PokemonGo_meme

A confession

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?”

The urge

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?”

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