• joe@jhanderson.biz   
    (206) 351-5607   

  • Have you had the experience of being skeptical about something until someone you respect causes you to change your mind? I have been a little suspicious of the notion of “wearable tech” (c’mon, my phone isn’t enough of an intrusion on my peace of mind?). But my colleague Chris Cancialosi of Gotham Culture recently showed me the Spire Stone he was wearing. It’s an unobtrusive device that you can clip to your clothing (for him it was his belt). Chris wears the stone all day; when his respiration gets shallow for a period of time (meaning that he has gotten a little tense, or a lot tense), the device makes an slight buzz that Chris notices (but no-one else does). The buzz brings Chris into awareness of the state of his mind and body.  He does a quick mental reset (one thousand, two thousand…) and brings his breathing, and mental state, back into focus.

    The purist in me would prefer that people build such a self-awareness capability on their own, with their native cognitive apparatus, and without relying on a technological assistant like a Spire Stone. However, your ability to monitor your reactivity is so crucial to building self-awareness and the many individual and team alignment benefits that go with it. So (without having experience the Stone myself) I find the above scenario fairly compelling. Given the immensely complex and distracting world we find ourselves in, I’m not sure that scruples are worth holding on to for much longer.

    There is in Buddhism a concept of “skillful means”, which simply suggests that circumstances play a huge role in determining what methods to employ to achieve a particular end. Each of us has the capacity to assess whether such an augmentation tool is appropriate and feels right.

    For me, for now, I feel confident that the resources I have in place—my intentions, my practices, and my community—give me the resources I need to cultivate and maintain the self-awareness I need. But I am keeping a close eye on what wearable tech has to offer: it may convince me sooner or later that I can use tools like that to put my intention into practice in a deliberate and effective way.

    Try It: How effective are your current resources for maintaining self-awareness, particularly when the stress rises? What feedback mechanisms do you have in place? Are there people in your life or your workplace who will let you know when you appear to be getting tense? Whether it’s a practice, a relationship, a technical tool like a calendar reminder to do a mindfulness practice, or an assistive device like a Spire Stone—in the end your self-awareness is a product of your priorities, and your commitment.

    Image: https://pixabay.com/en/pulse-health-heart-blood-care-2821379/ CC0 Creative Commons