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The Seed of Mindfulness

Merlin's Mindful Eating and Keeping Weight Off reminded me of the best tool I've found for prompting mindfulness in virtually any situation.

It's the Powerseed, and while it is marketed primarily for weight loss, it turns out to be a useful reminder/timer for virtually any activity where mindfulness is important. It's a sleek, battery-powered pod about as big as the end of your thumb. It offers both visual and audible cues, and operates in a couple of different coaching modes. The basic idea is that it is a discreet coach that prompts you to "check-in" with yourself. It signals both short and long regular intervals, which are useful for being aware of time passing, as well as performing different routines are each mark.

I've had mine for sometime time now, long enough that I had to figure out how to change the battery. According to the product's website, it's not currently available, but my understanding is that the inventor is updating the 'seed with battery and other improvements so perhaps it will be back soon.

Another approach you might consider is computer-dependent, but more flexible. I also use Red Sweater Software's FlexTime as a handy tool for regular-interval cueing. See Merlin's early peek at it for more detail, and from a slightly different perspective.

Either way, tuning-in is a Good Thing.

grey's picture

Re: The Seed of Mindfulness

This is counterproductive. Most people overeat because they don't pay attention to the food they consume and how they consume it: its texture, flavor, warmth, the motion of chewing, the feeling of the food as they swallow.

Watching a timer for an LED to blink creates yet another distraction from the process of eating. Someone eating while constantly anticipating a timer will end up nearly as hungry as before they ate.

You gain mindfulness by practicing it. A gadget won't help. Merlin Mann's post above points out Thich Nhat Hanh's suggestions for using external cues to maintain a state of mindfulness, but not to create one. The difference is vast. Mindfulness is a type of responsibility, and one that most people, in my opinion, are loathe to take up. Gadgets like this are popular and seductive because people want an easy fix without the effort needed to develop the skills. The stop light can't give you mindfulness, no matter how much we want it to.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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