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How to reduce digital distractions: advice from medieval monks - Jamie Kreiner | Aeon Ideas

Medieval monks

Medieval monks had a hard time concentrating while they were supposed to focus on divine communication: to read, to pray and sing, and to work to understand God.

The ideal was a mind that was always and actively reaching out to its target by working hard at making the mind behave. The monks found it easier to concentrate when their bodies were moving, whether they were baking or farming.

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How to reduce digital distractions: advice from medieval monks - Jamie Kreiner | Aeon Ideas

How to reduce digital distractions: advice from medieval monks - Jamie Kreiner | Aeon Ideas

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-to-reduce-digital-distractions-advice-from-medieval-monks

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Key Ideas

Medieval monks

Medieval monks had a hard time concentrating while they were supposed to focus on divine communication: to read, to pray and sing, and to work to understand God.

The ideal was a mind that was always and actively reaching out to its target by working hard at making the mind behave. The monks found it easier to concentrate when their bodies were moving, whether they were baking or farming.

A method for concentrating

Nuns, monks, preachers and the people they educated were to visualize the material they were processing. A branchy tree or a finely feathered angel. The images might loosely correspond to the substance of an idea.

The point was to give the mind something to draw, to indulge its appetite for interesting forms while sorting its ideas into some logical structure.

The problem of concentration

Any plan for sidestepping distractions calls for strategies on sidestepping distraction.

It is a fantasy to think that we can dodge distraction once and for all. There will always be exciting things to create distraction for the mind.

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