Zen diary August: Put down your cellphone

Month by month, a little journey through the hassles of everyday life – 19 practical exercises to change and overcome our relationship with life.

Purely out of compassion, we benefit from summer by offering you a pathway that is both wise yet also a bit tricky : put down your cellphone! It’s not very easy to try this breakup when we’re under stress at work, or going back to school. But summer, with its procession of lazy naps by the lake, lie-ins and slowly sipped aperitifs as the sun goes goes down, offers ideal conditions for a short challenge.

No point denying it, it’s not easy to free oneself from the phone! It’s a cute object, reassuring, useful, plus it accompanies most of our activities, like a travelling companion. Anyway, even if Buddha ( who was after all a visionary) hasn’t said anything about it, this object also has a dark side, as so many obstacles in the way of a more zen life.

Our phones drag us away from what is real: it has a cosmic power to hypnotise and here we are often held prisoner in a virtual world, checking our notifications every two minutes. During this time “real life” is passing under our nose, without us noticing….and so the hours go by. Social networks for their part, sadly leave in their wake a host of varied emotions,depending on what we have been looking at.

On Facebook we can see cute kittens followed brutally by the famine in Yemen. And in this “other world” space it is hard to know that an impression has been made ( for real) in our heart or solar plexus. As collateral damage, there is an accumulation of daily stress and sickness. To avoid this, there is only one solution, hard but indispensible.

The turn it off technique.

This radical method that you will assimilate during the holiday,is just turn it off. Not “airplane mode” that may still leave you wanting to have a look at your photo gallery. No! Let’s go crazy:turn it right off. Black screen, so completely useless , although you could use it as a bookmark for your magazine. It’s a bit stuck up to use an 800 franc item as a bookmark. In foreign countries, the Swiss would certainly be accused of wealth snobbery… But it is just a very ostentatious sign of your new found freedom!

The key: to put down your phone, you have to get over missing it. To do this, the most direct route is this : feel its loss. Don’t try to avoid it,just go right into it and realise, open mouthed, that the feeling of missing it disappears ,just by the fact of living through it. We reconcile our emotions in the heart of the present moment.

In addition : note all the times where you still pick up the object anyway ( it’s turned off remember) but just put it down as an internal victory. Yes!


The author of this guide, Kankyo Tannier, is a Buddhist nun, but a million miles away from all the cliches about spirituality. A very active blogger on social media, she offers an interior journey full of humour, optimism and simplicity. She is also the author of two best sellers, Ma Cure de Silence, which has already been translated into 14 different languages and A La Recherche du Temps Present. Kankyo Tannier is interested in everything that helps us bring meaning to our lives : little everyday things, joyful rituals,magic moments that open the doors to the sky. Her advice is available to all,without dogma or beliefs. She subscribes to a modern spirituality, in touch with real life. Open up to the meaning of life …. But keep your feet on the ground.

Kankyo Tannier :

Website : www.dailyzen.fr

You tube channel : www.youtube.com/DailyzenFr

Her monastery : www.meditation-zen.org

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