Consult Monk?

I saw this interesting article about college students giving up their digital devices for a month to live like ascetic monks  in a course called Living Deliberately: Monks, Saints, and the Contemplative Life.”. They give up access to their smartphones, refrain from speaking (except in emergencies) and engage in kindness projects.

It reminds me of the mindfulness retreat for our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class a few years ago. We were not to talk to each other. Those who know me can imagine how difficult this was for the geezer.


I’m pretty sure I could do without my smartphone for a while. I use it mainly as a phone and hardly ever, if you can believe that. Occasionally, I check one or two apps to guide my choices for medications for patients. I look at the step counter a few times a week to see how hard I’m working getting around the hospital as a psychiatric consultant. I walk fast and often get impatient when behind people who creep along while thumbing through their cellphones. In fact, when I fully retire, I’m considering going back to the flip phone.

I gave up Facebook and LinkedIn months ago and I’m considering closing my Twitter account as well. I barely look at it.

I know one thing I can do without–pagers. It’s really hard not to talk when you carry a pager. I wonder if it would be acceptable to text page?




Author: Jim Amos

Dr. James J. Amos is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the UI Carver College of Medicine at The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Amos received a B. S. degree in Distributed Studies (Zoology, Chemistry, and Microbiology) in 1985 from Iowa State University and an M.D. from The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in 1992. He completed his psychiatry residency, including a year as Chief Resident, in 1996 at the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa. He has co-edited a practical book about consultation psychiatry with Dr. Robert G. Robinson entitled Psychosomatic Medicine: An Introduction to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. As a clinician educator, among Dr. Amos’s most treasured achievements is the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

2 thoughts on “Consult Monk?”

  1. I finally gave up my pager, but not by choice.

    The display went out and they could not find me another one.

    Always a conversation piece as in “Is that really a pager, doc? You are old school.”

    The end of an era Jim.

    Before that I used my SmartPhone as a walkie-talkie to call my wife.


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