Last weekend I was riding an exercise bike when my Iphone fell off and cracked. Off to the Apple store I went where the geniuses convinced me to pay for my upgraded Iphone 8 with the new Apple Card. Problem is that Apple makes it mandatory to use a security passcode for your phone if you want to use the card. Something about protecting vital financial information. This bummed me out because I have NEVER used the passcode security option for my phone. I find it annoying to have to punch four numbers in every 12 seconds or three minutes or whatever.
And then it occurred to me: This is a huge opportunity. How? Because entering that security code, which I now do probably 20–30 times a day, can serve as a prompt to enter the present moment. What I do, specifically, is every time the security code screen comes up I look away from my phone, become aware of my surroundings then take one conscious breath. While taking that breath, I say to myself, “I’m right here, right now.” Then I punch in my number. All told, we’re talking 5–7 seconds.
Mickey and Eckhart’s techniques
Other people use different daily doings. For example, Mickey Singer, one of my favorite spiritual teachers, has a thing where, whenever he opens a door he uses that as a prompt to say to himself, “I’m living on a rock that’s twirling around in the middle of nowhere.”
My other favorite teacher, Eckhart Tolle, has a practice where whenever he gets into his car, he stops, looks at his surroundings through the windshield for several seconds, then puts the keys in the ignition and off he goes.
There are myriad other daily tasks you could use to prompt yourself into the present moment. Like washing your hands in the restroom. Or sitting in a chair. Or pouring a drink.
Why the phone passcode prompt makes sense
It makes sense to start off using just one task. No need to overload yourself. After using the phone passcode prompt these past days, I highly recommend giving that one a try. Why? Because entering your phone passcode is the quintessential example of your busy-body mind taking over your consciousness and kicking you out of the present moment. You do it by rote and are not the slightest bit present.
When you first try this you will probably, as I did, experience some resistance. In the first few hours of doing it, I had a couple of times where my mind saw the passcode screen and said, “Oh, for God’s sake. I just entered this like thirty seconds ago. Ahh!”
Then the logical, sane part of me took over and said, “Don’t be an idiot. Take your one conscious breath. There is NEVER a time when bringing yourself into the present moment doesn’t make sense. I don’t care if you just did it a few seconds ago. Do it again. And again. And again.”
Our minds are Goliath
For most regular people traveling the mindful path the only reason we resist entering the present moment is that our minds don’t want to stop. The mind gets on a roll and wants to stay on a roll! “Damn it, don’t stop me and make me take a mindful breath. I’m rolling. I need to get to my text messages NOW!”
No, you don’t. You need to slow down and be present. Why? Because doing so, over time, will make you a smarter, more focused, calmer, happier and better person.
Quieting the mind is very hard
Be mindful that quieting the mind and entering the present moment is extremely difficult for most people. Our minds are powerful and love to dominate our lives with mostly pointless thoughts.
WHICH IS PRECISELY WHY THIS MINDFUL TECHNIQUE IS SO IMPORTANT!
All those conscious breaths you take before punching in your phone code will add up. Give it a try.