Wisdom and Mindfulness in the Information Age

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Two weeks ago I attended the Wisdom2.0 conference, which is about “Exploring Living with Awareness, Wisdom, and Compassion in the Technology Age.” I thought it was a great conference and highly recommend it for next year. The theme seemed to be about how much we are constantly wired and digitally connected so how do we stay centered and connected to ourselves and our relationships.

Last night I attended a follow up, sponsored by ProjectFresh. Leaving the session last night I had the thought that in both instances I didn’t quite get what I was looking for in the sense of ‘things to do.’ However, on reflection I realized that it isn’t about ‘doing,’ but about how we choose to ‘be.’

I fully enjoyed all the panels and presentations in both events. It was the words of panelist Alex Lightman that sparked me to find an answer to some of the questions I had. He said that the most frequent decisions humans make is where to put your gaze. In other words, where to put your attention. He said that there is an illusion of information overload. If we define information as a ‘difference that makes a difference,’ the rest is just data. Based on this and on what I heard at Wisdom2.0, we have to develop filters for what is important. And we constantly make choices about what we attend to so we have to practice self-regulation. It isn't the technology that is the problem; it is how we choose to use it.

Lightman also said that you have to know yourself—know your perspective. Being fake accelerates death so you have to know what is integral to you. Music to my ears! That is what my work with type is all about. In my view, this self-knowledge can help us with the self-regulation needed to live with wisdom in this technology age.

I think technology is great. I’m glad we have it even though I get overwhelmed at times. Technology, like anything else, can be overused and be an excuse for being rude, procrastinating, avoiding self-reflection and relationships, and many other ills. So we have to use it with wisdom, in other words, be mindful.

Mindfulness practices come from ancient wisdoms and are supported by scientific research. It is used in stress reduction programs such as that at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. At the conference I learned that mindfulness programs are in place inside Google, Genentech and other large organizations. And I learned that mindfulness is not just about meditation, but also about other practices.

It occurred to me that typology models could help us know our strengths and what is integral to us so I agree with Lightman. And these models have the potential to contribute to mindfulness and they can also contribute to habits of mind that get in the way of mindfulness.

What are some of the ways that you use typology that contributes to mindfulness?

How can we be wise in the way we introduce and use typology and avoid the ways it gets in the way of mindfulness?