I'm in a love-hate relationship. I love and respect technology and the super-fast evolution of a communication rich culture where there is nothing you can't find on Google search, from how to peel a mango to the name of the actor who played Riff in the movie version of West Side Story. With smart phones and computers, information is at our fingertips, literally, and we can interact with high school friends, family members, and friends in any part of the world.
But the access to all of this available communication comes at a cost. We are expected to be connected and to respond via text, email, of Facebook post to our employers and friends 24/7. As long as our phones or computers are powered on so are we. This fascinating connectivity has created an unbalance in our culture where there is less and less stillness and a lack of outer and inner silence. With wireless connections, the very space around us is bombarded with bits of constant communication.
The Internet is a wonderful tool for connection, but it was never meant to replace human contact or touch. At a recent concert, I observed a row of five people seated a couple of rows in front of me. We were waiting for the show to start and all of them were on their smart phones instead of talking with each other. We can observe similar scenes at restaurants, movie theaters, schools, and even in our own homes.
This lack of empty space sometimes results in being hyper-connected but devoid of necessary substance, like eating a cardboard apple instead of its fleshy and juicy counterpart in front of us.
As social animals, our brains hunger for face-to-face interactions with others, our bodies thirst for human touch, and our souls crave depth of connection. Our spirit requires connection with others as well as with ourselves, which is challenging to accomplish when there is no space or stillness.
So how do we balance and navigate the wonders of technological connectivity with the social needs of our brains and the spiritual needs of our soul?
CALL TO ACTION
1. This week, challenge yourself to take a 24-hour technology fast. As much as possible, disconnect from anything with an on/off button: television, computers, phones, Ipads, Nanos, ITouch, etc.
2. Seek to connect with yourself first. Sit with the stillness of your soul and listen to the whispers of your heart. Meditate, smile, feel, cry, laugh, breathe, and visit with yourself as with an old and dear friend whom you haven't seen in a long time. Allow yourself to enjoy and relish your own company and to feel connected to this present moment.
3. Then, seek to connect with others face-to-face. Re-acquaint yourself with your loved ones over a cup of coffee, or bring out the board games; nothing compares to heartfelt human interaction and loving connection.
4. From now on, commit to people over technology. Use technology to connect with others when that is your only alternative. If there is someone in front of you, put the gizmo down and begin by asking, "How are you?"
5. For inspiration, check out this video from Thailand:
|Cool Thai ad - Disconnect to connect with Eng sub|
© Frankie Waldo Perez, MindGym, LLC