With so much of our lives being conducted in front of screens right now, it can be easy to lose sight of the world around us—we get sucked into a cybertrance, spending hours on social media, video streaming sites, and online retailers, often at the expense of cultivating an appreciation of the natural world around us.
According to psychologist, author, and mindfulness expert Tara Brach, when we become reactive to the cybertrance, our ability to be mindful suffers. In a discussion with Networker editor Rich Simon, she shared a personal story about how, when her adolescent son’s video gaming got to be too much, she used what she calls “the sacred pause” to reenter a mindful state and get to the core of what she was feeling.
As Brach’s experience shows, even the most mindful of us can be prone to quick-rising feelings of anger and impatience. But if we take a mindful moment to recalibrate, we can often get to the source of the feelings underneath that anger, like fear or sorrow, and then talk about it.
In her Networker article, Brach outlines her four-step process for applying compassion to feelings of fear. “While we can feel the vulnerability around us with raw fear and agitation,” she writes, “we can also feel the possibility that in some deep way, what’s unfolding can wake up more loving, more compassion in the world. This is the potential that we have in front of us right now.”
Tara Brach, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, an internationally known teacher of mindfulness meditation, and the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. She is author of bestselling Radical Acceptance and True Refuge, and leads accredited workshops for mental health professionals interested in integrating meditation into the practice of psychotherapy. Tara offers meditation retreats at centers in the United States and in Europe. Her podcasted talks and meditations are downloaded about a million times each month. In addition to her public teaching, Tara is active in bringing meditation into DC area schools, prisons and to underserved populations, and in activities that promote racial justice.
Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.