We live in a world where technology surrounds us constantly. Push notifications, email alerts, and messages bombard our phones. As I have been getting more serious about my practice I found my phone becoming more of a problem. Smartphones offer us tremendous convenience and can be extremely useful in some situations. I ask you though… Do you over use your phone? Smartphones make it easy for us to plugin to the net and unplug from reality, no matter where we are. Recently I found myself struggling when it came to living in the moment. I think it is because there is this need to feel busy. Posting status updates, checking out what friends are up to, seeing if there are any new emails from work. One of my teachers Lama Marut has a mantra for this, Get Unbusy.
As I thought about it I asked myself do I really need to be this connected. I reflected on the days when a phone was just a phone. I remember a specific moment very clearly, it was a summer afternoon and I was waiting for a ride. There was no texting, there was no Facebook, there was no Twitter, and there was no Instagram to share. Instead I simply hung out on a park bench watching a bumblebee collect nectar well making small talk with the occasional stranger. Things just seemed simpler.
I wondered if it was possible to get back to this mindset. To do this I am creating a challenge for myself. For the next week I have uninstalled Facebook and Twitter from my phone, removed all extraneous app and games, disabled all email accounts, and turned off notifications for text messages. As I write this I am on my second day and I am already noticing little positive changes. It’s difficult and I still find myself reaching for my phone at times, but with nothing on it to “check” I quickly return it to my pocket. I am sharing this with you all because I think it is important to be aware of how connected we are with the technology we have. Does it prevent us from enjoying the world around us? Does it keep us from living in the moment? What do you think? Try removing Facebook, Twitter, or simply disabling their notifications for an hour or 24 and let us know how it goes in the comments.