I’m a hopeless romantic.
There! I said it!
I dream of having a life in which the hustle and bustle of modern life is brought to a screeching halt, in favor of a simpler, quieter, slower lifestyle. So, whenever there is a discussion about computers, technology, phones, or other tech-related subjects, I easily move into my grumpy mode. I am not a fan of technology, and try to use it as sparingly as possible.
And I’m writing this on a computer! (Okay…so I’m not a consistent hopeless romantic.)
Back in my monk days, I was taught that everything is useful, if used in moderation. From pens and paper to books and computers, I was encouraged to discover the meaning of moderation and how it translated into daily life with anything and everything. This approach startles me out of my grumpy mode to shake me out of a false idealism, and engage everything around me with moderation and wisdom.
I firmly believe that technology has lessons for us with regard to the spiritual path, if only we stop, attentively observe, and uncover those nuggets of wisdom. Below are a few of the lessons I have gleaned from the “screen world.”
- The world – the universe – is HUGE! Yes, this is a “no-duh” thing to say, but technology has really made this a tangible reality. The sheer amount of information, data and people we can access and influence is truly incredible. Nearly anything can be understood or studied in depth, with very little time or effort.
The spiritual value of this is sheer awareness; we are part of an immense reality that we are barely conscious of. If we allow our conscious awareness to expand through mindfulness and meditation, we can begin to see how the immense complexity of life knits itself together into a profound simplicity.
2. We are capable of miracles, once we focus and set our mind to it. I was watching a TV show that first aired when I was a kid, and realized that everyone on the show had corded phones and no privacy. What a difference a few years made! Now you can talk, text, email, you-name-it, from anywhere.
And all of this was possible because of people who dedicated their mental, physical and spiritual energies toward solving problems, and helping the human community become more informed and connected. If you sit and think about it, these devices we take for granted are truly the stuff of miracles.
Our own lives are also capable of miracles. Every time we decide to serve the needs of others; when we choose to change our career path because we desire lives of meaning and value; when we finally leave a toxic friendship or close relationship, in favor of life-giving interactions, we are making a miracle happen.
3. Comparison kills. Social media is a wonderful way to stay connected to others, and it also contains a potential trap in the mind of the user. One can compare oneself to others, noting weaknesses and shortcomings in themselves, or in the person they are focusing on at the time. The result is either a much lower self-esteem, or an elevated, exalted ego trip.
Regardless of the direction, the ego becomes the primary focus. Rather than focusing on letting our own heartsong be a guiding force our life, we suddenly become slaves to public opinion and popular trends.
Rather than spend endless hours in the comparison game (and yes, it does add up to hours!), we can choose to use social media as a tool of connection rather than comparison, and let our heartsong be the driving fire in our lives.
4. Have quiet spaces, mystery places and eyes for living beings. The technology we have today is wonderful, but it does have its limits. There is no substitute for silence; not just physical silence, but visual and mental silence as well. Making time to simply be quiet and alone, unable to be found through the phone or computer, can help us reconnect with our core values, beliefs and attitudes that tend to fall by the wayside in the din of modern life. We can become fully present to ourselves.
Make time for other people, too. When we choose to mute or turn off the phone, decide not to multitask on email while we’re on the phone or talking to someone in front of us, we are making a decision to be fully present to others. This sheer presence is deeper than any words, and lasts forever.
5. Tech is a tool, not a life. I can’t tell you how many stories I hear from people who have either lost their phone, or had their phone go berserk, only to discover that they go crazy without the tech with them. They literally go through withdrawal symptoms!
If you want to lose the “tech DT’s”, choose to look at all of your tech as tools. They are essentially tools for your self-expression and connection; not internal organs. Make time every day to simply fast from any technology. Write a letter. Go for a run. Do some yoga. Meditate. Be proactive and take charge of your life, rather than be a slave to checking emails and texts every time the phone dings, squawks or plays your favorite music.
You have a life. Live it to the fullest!
Don Marlette the “Metro Monk” is a medium, coach and teacher on the No Limits Life Staff. You can Learn more about Don, his services and more at http://www.nolimitslife.guru