In his recent Guardian opinion article, Rhik Samadder writes how he significantly reduces his smartphone usage throughout the day as an experiment. Soon enough, he starts noticing a number of important things. For one, he is much more bored than he used to be. He notices that he has a lot more time to think (or perhaps become more aware of what he thinks), and that he has not only pleasant thoughts, but also many anxious and intrusive thoughts. He realised that he often uses his phone to distract himself from feelings like boredom and anxiety, or intrusive and upsetting thoughts.
This way of using your phone to actively prevent yourself from becoming aware of disturbing emotions and thoughts is called experiential avoidance. Like Rhik, many people have tought themselves to avoid disturbing thoughts and feelings with their phones or other means, and use this strategy all the time, often without even being aware of it. In mindfulness meditation you stop avoiding these disturbing thoughts and feelings. As you sit still in meditation, you are likely to notice a lot more difficult emotions, thoughts and physical disstress, rather than the peace of mind you might have hoped for. It is only by confronting all these upsetting emotions and thoughts in mediation, that you will eventually become less haunted by them and feel more balanced. In the end, the only way to be balanced in life, is to let in the difficult stuff as well. Sitting still and becoming aware of things, is not for the faint at heart 🙂