A term we can use these days to describe what Simon Peter did to Jesus is ghosting. Here’s a contemporary definition of “ghost” as a verb:
Have others, for no apparent reason, stopped responding to your text messages or returning your calls? Or has someone just completely stopped talking to you or paying any attention to you as if you’re a ghost? If you have, congratulations, you’ve just been ghosted!
One survey found that 78% of people interviewed claim that they’ve been ghosted at least once.
Now, have you spoken with someone whose attention is divided because he or she is “multi-tasking,” fiddling with a smartphone, either responding to a text message or an email during a conversation with you? If so, congratulations, you’ve just been phubbed!
“Phubbing” is, of course, short for “phone” and “snubbing.” Full, undivided attention is in such short supply today!
Ghosting and phubbing are understandable phenomena given all that’s going on today. Tristan Harris, a former Google Design Ethicist (whatever that means!), has concluded that the way the Internet is set up, the rarest and most valuable resource today is attention. There is, he observes, an ongoing “arms race for attention.”
Related to this is a prevailing presentism, a mindset that prioritizes the recent over the distant past and assumes that it is more important just because it is more recent (M. Popova). The problem with this mindset obviously is that the most important and enduring things are not necessarily found in the most recent.
As you may guess, some of the most valuable things happened over 2000 years ago! And if you can’t think longterm, you’re not going to care much about the life after this one.
The truth is, if we can’t be attentive, we can’t pray.
Take the opportunity to examine your capacity for attention. Do you still have this important ability to pay attention to the things that are not necessarily the most urgent, not the more recent–and very important!–not the more interesting? What can you do to preserve or strengthen this very important faculty?
Feel free to share some tips with your fellow retreatants in the Leave A Reply section below.
50 replies on “A NEW VOCABULARY”
I am so sorry for ghosting someone, my friends at times. Meanwhile, I forgive friends for phubbing me. It takes time and much perspective to treat people right and relate to people with maturity, calmness and even happiness.
The old adage still works – “pag gusto may paraan, pag ayaw may dahilan. ” In any choice, we always have our conscious faculty especially free will to make a decision.
We choose between being on time for the Avengers: End Game as being on time for Easter Mass, prepared and ready to listen.
I am guilty of phubbing a lot of times, and my resume even says am a master at multi tasking. Nowadays it has been a source of my stress, both at work and in life. It goes back to what we really need to focus on. I pray for discernment and grace to know what is more important in life, no matter how unworthy of sharing on IG or FB it may seem – more importantly it should be Heaven worthy.
Paying attention to the person which we are talking currently only shows respect regardless whether it is important or not…
I am 57 years old and have children. I am fortunate enough to have lived on both ages of before and after internet. This gives me the luxury of still being mindful and still able to resist being “connected” to the internet in moments when quiet reflection is required.
But I worrry for my children. I fear they may lose this opportunity for reflection.
Lord Jesus, I pray that as you have called me during my young age, please call my children too, to gaze at you; and stop and give the time and effort to know You in their lives. Make them know that you are “relevant” – and to have a deep relationship with you. It is the most important legacy I could leave them, my Lord and my God.
Thank you for this. I also worry about my children and prayers seems to verbalise it.??
More than just the ubiquitous presence of cell phones, I try my best to do things more mindfully. It’s been tried and proven that multi-tasking is never good for our mental health. It does not make us more productive either. If being mindful means acting more slowly and deliberately, then I try to flow with that pace. I believe that is what the Holy Spirit is asking for in all that we do. Our attentiveness is a door where blessings may come in. We can only see the Lord when our eyes are transfixed on Him.
Technology has made communication very convenient but has alienated many people in the process. It may be ghosting for others but I choose not to be a slave of my phone. For example, I keep my phone in the drawer while at work so I can concentrate on my tasks. I stick to no phone policy during meals. I value moments with my loved ones by giving my full attention to them. I use my phone in praying the rosary, meditation and learning more about God. I am aware that technology should aid and not enslave us. It takes discipline to do these things but in the end they help me become a better person.
I’ve find mindfulness exercises helpful in helping me to quiet down. Simple breath awareness, for example, helps me to listen to what’s going inside my body-mind-spirit. It also allows me to pray better. But the lure of external distractions – work, social media, etc. – can so easily rob me of this opportunity to be truly present and attentive.
I’ve *found. . .
to not give attention to the world is always tough because we are in this world. but to see beyond is still a choice. it takes a lot of habit forming and conscious effort to focus and pray–which takes faith, discernment, discipline, commitment, and eventually self-control.
Create your “ Jesus time” daily. It will come with constantly reminding and alligning yourself with God, in prayer, in your daily interactions, in your sphere of work, in all relationships?
Two words to practice…
LORD please help us!
I learn to pay attention by the daily and regular practice of SILENCE, STILLNESS and SIMPLICITY
The past gives meaning to my present and directs my future: but i still find this thought is just difficult to bring down into my heart. I really need to make a conscious choice to put things back in its proper place. The Lord is extending to me his guiding hand – He wants to lead me back “home”. Home is where silence and stillness open my heart to pray again, that is, to be attentive to God’s presence in my life.
Why are there more noises when there’s no noise? And sometimes a deafening silence..
The voices inside. And the overthinking.. prayers more
To preserve my “ability to pay attention to the things that are not necessarily the most urgent, not the more recent–and very important! – not the more interesting”, I set the order of priority of the activities I need to do on hand, and give each my full attention.
As the saying goes, “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well” (Jen Carrinton).
Multi-tasking is good occasionally, but don’t make it a constant habit because you will lose sight of many more important things in life. Yes, there are more important things in life than just getting the tasks done.
Thank you and Easter blessings to all of you, my dear brothers and sisters.
When praying, it is so difficult to find stillness grom within. I get easily distracted from whatever is going on outside of me. I pray for the grace of a peaceful mind and open heart to remain with Him even if there’s chaos outside.
I feel you. I too find my mind busy even when i am quiet outwardly. When I catch myself, i try to bring myself back to the quietness within so i may be able to hear Him. but it is a constant struggle. I too pray for the grace of a peaceful mind and an open heart to listen to Him.
I am guilt of phubbing. I need to learn to put my phone done more and give more attention to who is in front of me,
This has made me realize that my multi-tasking habit has prevented me from giving my full undivided attention to other people. Even my prayer life is being affected – my mind always tend to wander about things to do and I always have to re focus my attention to my prayer. I ask God for the grace to be present – to Him, my family, friends and co workers – to realize that relationship is more important than work.
To pray with attention, we need to find a corner of quiet, where we can be alone, still, silent. Then carry on a conversation with God. About anything. Our sillinesses. Our big, major major concerns. Complaints. Happy stories.
Guess what, friends. I built a small chapel in one corner of my tiny garden. From scraps. Then filled it with tiny religious icons, gifts accumulated over the years. This has become my prayer corner.
I’m trying to practice mindfulness in whatever I do. It is helping me a lot.
AHHH, MINDFULNESS! This has helped me a great deal. I stay mindful when I teach, when I practice Yoga, when I travel, when I sing, when I hike, when I do my cardio, when I do Physical Therapy, and when I pray. BE IN THE MOMENT and ENJOY IT.
I TEACH, therefore I AM. I make a thousand decisions on a school day for the last 30+ years. When I teach, that’s all I could think of. Medical appointments, business calls, personal errands. They will all have to wait when classes are over. Sometimes, I have to take a day off to attend to personal affairs. MINDFULNESS vs multi-tasking.
I am learning to slow down and pray more so I will be able to focus on matters that are more important. I am trying to keep my circle small – paying attention only to people whom i find significant. The world now has plenty of distractions. I need to be more discerning and contemplating to be able to pay attention on things that matter the most.
Perhaps I need to re-learn how to be fully present to the here and now – even to the non-urgent and ordinary things. I noticed that if I don’t give full attention to a situation, then I’m prone to forgetting tasks and leaving things ( I left my phone twice in a grab ride).
My mind is too active and during my reflection time my thoughts lead me from one scene to another.This has always been a problem. Its not much on what is recent but what is connected to what I’m supposed to reflect on. Anyway, I keep going back to my prayers.
What is important in reflecting about the past is it explains why people come permanently or temporarily into your life, why things happen. It solves a lot puzzle and you learn from it to make you a better person.
Multi tasking is important in this busy world. I have learned how to adapt to it.
I find mindfulness exercises very helpful for staying in the moment, appreciating people, and being grateful for blessings. A good place to start is Anthony de Mello’s Sadhana and Mark Williams’ audio guides–he has a Spotify playlist and an iOS app. Hope this helps.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
Just like Peter, this sinner has been found guilty on all counts…ghosting, phubbing and presenticism.
My husband OFTEN complains about my phubbing. So to minimize/avoid arguments, I have to put my phoen away when he wants to discuss something. HOWEVER I had to request him to give me a heads up when he wants my undivided attention since, when he initiates the conversation, that means he
1. Is ready to converse
2. Has given the matter some thought
When i want his attention, i do the same thing. I tell him “Hon, 5 mins” (of course it doesn’t have to be done in 5 mins.)
For ghosting… that’s a difficult one. There are some people who causes you stress. Stress is bad for our health (excuses excuses)… does being civil count as not really ghosting someone? What if we just delayed replying?
With presenticism, I have a tendency to forget about things once I set it aside. I normally set aside stuff once they’re DONE. So if i set it aside for a moment, i might forget. ALTHOUGH my husband has made several points by saying, had i delayed doing/sayung some stuff first, things might not have escalated. Damage control may not even be necessary. It’s a work in progress. It took time for me to run/function this way but I hope I will improve in time
I am most guilty of phubbing, which I think is the result of me multi-tasking in order to attend to all of the demands on me. Since I am the only fairly mobile and active one in my family, I’m the cook, the driver, the house help, the everything else. To relax, I engage in phubbing. I deliberately do this to take a break from the responsibilities. The problem is, it’s not enough to relax me and in the meantime, I am just disconnected to my mom. In turn, my mom has been turning critical and nagging, which only makes me want to tune out more! I think I should use technology more to keep the balance. We watch K-Dramas using my phone now, so at least we have something that relaxes us both.
I still have trouble focusing during prayer because there are all these things to do in my head, but it helps to set aside a schedule for prayer.
I announced to my social media contacts that I shall be going on this online retreat and would thus be unavailable for a few days. I think this helped me make that commitment to focus on Holy Week. After Holy Week, I think I will slowly reduce my time on social media.
I did not really give myself time to relax and just hang out before, but I am deliberate about it now. I’ve enrolled in a gym so I would have time to myself and focus on my health. I’ve deliberately reached out and made new acquaintances and friends who share my interests. I go on a date with myself from time to time and play with pets, just to disconnect from the daily tasks.
What I’ve realized is it is important to fill myself, so I would gave something to give to others. It is also important to be alone from time to time, so I could be available to others.
I hear you and I feel the same way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
This is my first experience of online spiritual exercises I really appreciated these three days online retreat. Thank you so much.
Thoughts on Jesus asking Peter if he loves Him. Jesus asked Peter 3 times if Peter loves Him. And every time, When Peter said yes, Jesus always told him to tend and feed his sheep. I believe Jesus was not only showing Peter forgiveness but also telling him to not just say the words but also act upon his words. I felt like He was indirectly telling Peter, “Do not just say you love Me but show your love by tending to my herd.”. And in many ways, we are like Peter. We pray in the confines of our home, we follow the doctrines set by the church, but we fail to spread the good news.
Disconnect to reconnect. During this Lenten Season, I removed my FB and Instagram account, for important matters, I message my family and friends via personal message. I found it more connecting to person rather than unnecessary browsing, commenting, and likes in social media accounts. It is more peaceful and reconnect personally to my loved ones. Moreover, instead of browsing into social media accounts, I read books immerse in SG city library, appreciate arts, visit churches, witness people moves in this highways of life, walk in nature and do SLR camera photography, yes indeed it improves my creativity and brings me sense of awe and wonder in this gift of real life. My disconnection to unnecessary social media browsing reconnects me to get to fullness of life and quality prayer. Finding God in all things. Life is a joyful journey with Christ.
I have been ghosted and I have ghosted. I have been phubbed but also phubbed. I need to stop it. Oftentimes, I ghost because it’s the easy way out of a bad relationship… I cannot blame those who did it to me when I had harmed relationships with my tempestuousness, moodiness, arrogance. Who can blame them?
‘Reserving’ time for a particular person or event works for me. When I say “Yes” for a lunch date, I am set to give this person or these group of people an hour or two of lunchtime. If I am attending a graduation (which I recently did 🙂 ) I will be present to the entire event for the time that was indicated on the invitation. If it’s a 4-hour event, then I am there 100% of the 4 full hours, just because I said “Yes” to it.
I discovered last year that my short temper is from my overuse of social media and the internet. I was so used to instant results that I began to be more controlling of people so I can get the results I need the way I want it. I also found it hard it read text that requires 5 minutes or longer, which during my undergraduate years spanned to 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. When the boss arrives and requires things to be accomplished, I ditch my to do list for the day for that one request.
When I became conscious of this, I began to disconnect from my devices and move them far from me. At work, I make it a point to take hourly 5-10 minute breaks to interact with people or take a short walk. I also had the guts to decline unjustifiably immediate work deadlines from the boss citing the immediacy and necessity of my to do list (thanks to a planner) for the day.
I guess if I didn’t notice that my short temper was affecting the people I love, I’d probably be the same toxic person that I was. I am still a work in progress but this step, however small, will go a long way.
Having a clear attention span right now is so difficult. there are so many things that demand our attention these days and not getting to them right away gives us so much stress and anxiety. I too have fallen trap to it one too many times. Nowadays, I have to be deliberate with the energy and attention I am putting on things. I meditate to slow my mind down and not get carried away with the “gotta dos,” winding down at night before going to sleep. Having a time off digital gadgets to read etc resets my attention a lot.
I have difficulty praying because I so used to multi-tasking and my attention being diverted to something else like my phone and my laptop. To partly make up for this, whenever I go for a walk or drive, I use this time to mentally pray the rosary. But there is much I need to do to spend more time in prayer and communication with our Lord.
I can say that I’m guilty and a victim as well of ghosting. I too am guilty of phubbing. My attention span has shrinked and this I believe has made me struggle in my prayer life… every time I have my phone nearby as I pray, I suddenly resort to phubbing while I pray (is that even possible?!). For this, my prayer life has declined.
I haven’t thought of a concrete solution to improve my attention… so that my prayer life will improve as well.
Our attention spans are shrinking over the years because we’ve prided ourselves to become multitaskers. Technology has made possible to be present in multiple chat windows at one time, consequently dividing our attention and focus on the priority or priorities at hand. Extending our “bandwidth” could leave us little to depleted energy for our loved ones and the people that matter, that’s why we become irritable and impatient towards them. I pray to become more intentional and mindful in my use of social media so that I could develop
the power of focus on more important matters in my life.
If I can not be attentive, I can not pray. I have to remind myself about it always.
I try to pray the rosary in my darkened room nightly but my eyes and mind sometimes wander. So I close my eyes, focus and try to really mean what I say with each bead, each Our Father/Hail Mary/Glory Be.
I’m happy to learn a new word, PHUBBING. Now, I can tell my spouse, “Hey, you’re phubbing me again! And again…” 😀
I believe I phubb Jesus too. Oh dear…
I am guilty of half listening when my loved ones share their concerns of their day especially when I am watching TV. I am also guilty of excessively using my smartphone especially to play games. I will try my best to listen more.
I have always been guilty of being inattentive because my mind keeps on drawing me near towards something else. Like I have to study, but suddenly my mind thinks of doing the grocery or buying a new pen. Or I have to finish working on a presentation, but suddenly cutting my nails seems more interesting.
I also tend to use my phone a lot. Because I live alone, I tend to be solo most of the time, and I couldn’t stand not having anyone to interact with when I’m at home. I realise that I could have made myself much better by reading books and truly reflecting on knowledge passed on by others, but I tend to be swayed with the loneliness I feel.
Right now, I’m still trying my best to lessen my dependency on my phone. And I hope the Lord can guide me through.
I’m guilty of not being attentive because i am preoccupied with so many things…problems at work, home, etc. I feel like my mind doesn’t rest and is working 24/7 and I can’t help it. Even when i’m praying the rosary or attending mass, my mind just wanders off.
I am very guilty of this “presentism”. I once has stellar focus, but now I can’t even read a complete article without getting bored halfway through it. This also applies when I’m praying – my mind tends to wander off for some time before I realize I’m not praying anymore. I’m trying to be as attentive as I can, little by little, in different aspects of my life, so that I can be more mindful and present in the things I do and the people I’m with.
Learn from the wisdom of the past
Think diligently of the future
Act in the present
I have permanently disconnected my cable TV and local channels and uninstalled facebook from my cp. Most “recent”, seemingly “interesting and “urgent” come from my cellphone. So I put it on silent mode and away from me when it is my prayer time. It is still hard to not mind my phone while praying. But I know I just need to keep doing it until I have weaned myself from checking my phone all the time.