We all have been reading quite a few articles currently on the damage the digital world is doing to us, how we should unplug and how we are drifting apart as a society.
My first experience on going off technology was when last year I went for my 10-day silent meditation course called Vipassana
At Vipassana, one is supposed to submit their phones, laptops on the very first day and not supposed to even take a paper and a pen.
The next few days were uneasy but since we used to do a lot of meditation there, I quickly adjusted to the setup and started enjoying being close to nature and rediscovering myself.
The actual unplugging happened when I consciously decided to go off facebook, twitter and put my notifications off on WhatsApp.
I quickly realised how lonely I was feeling with this disconnect. I had no idea what my family and friends were up to or what was happening in my surroundings. My mind at times would play the old trick Ummm, wonder what time is it? Just check your phone”!!
We all have that yearning to stay eternally connected and the moment we are not connected there is a lot of unrest amongst us. None of our digital equipment’ breathe or have a pulse still we end up giving more time and value to them rather than the people sitting close to us.
I still was convinced with myself that it was a wrong decision on going off digital as I was feeling so low and lonely and clueless until something really wonderful happened.
I got a call from one of my most unexpected facebook friend who called to check on to me if I was okay! As she realised I was missing from the social media.
Even after hanging up the phone I still kept feeling so wonderful about how she took the time to call and check on me.
Gradually I realised things were changing, The fact was I was rediscovering myself and my interests, started doing things which I had always wanted to do but due to lack of time was ignoring and the level of distraction was so low NOW, I was working more efficiently because phone was not in my hands anymore and my total focus was on the work I was doing.
This unplugging helped me learn how to live in the present with the people who were near me, helped me restore the balance in my life, and helped me celebrate the power of true connection and not the digital connections.
Unplugging from the online world is important for our wellness, it’s not possible every time to take up a retreat or a silent meditation but it’s always in our hands to leave the phone behind and go for a long walk, enjoy the nature.
We need to understand that Life at its best is happening right in front of us, we need to appreciate what is happening now, this moment will never come back, these conversations are authentic and unfiltered nothing is photoshopped.But if we are too busy staring down at our screens, we’re going to miss the beauty of this moment.
Life is still about touch, eye contact, feelings, flesh, blood, we need to feel all of it than the lifeless screens. The most valuable thing we can give to our loved ones, our friends is our own presence.
Roshi Joan Halifax made this beautiful observation: Though social networking can bring us closer together, nothing can replace warm hand-to-warm-hand contact.
Many of us post reading this are going to say “Oh I am not addicted to social media, I give enough time to my family and friends”. If that is so let’s do this addiction test because addiction can only be understood when the object is taken away.
Try to keep your electronic gadgets away on every weekend and see how you feel about it? What changes you see in your life?
- All I want to convey is be mindful of your reasons for connecting to technology.
- Get the most important things done and let go of the rest.
- Power down for one time of every day.
- Make a plan for phone and computer free time so that you can get the most out of it.
- Don’t take technology to bed: It’s not your partner, so don’t treat it like one.
The Internet is an important part of our life and most of us do business with it. I understand that there are situations where we need to connect with home or work.
For me, in no manner, it is going away. That is why once in a while getting OFF it makes sense to me.
Right now am trying to build a digital-free practice at home for which the work is still in progress 😉
As you wean yourself off electronics, amplify the time and enjoy the results. Switching Off will only help Switching On the real connections.
Like now I try to relax more with a walk in the park, Sit over coffee and talk, watch sunsets, bond with nature, eat and enjoy food and wine 😉 and just connect with life the old fashioned way! Cheers to tech detoxing!
And you my friend just Look Up!