Internet
The economic crisis of 2008 had a devastating impact upon many practitioners of the healing arts. Once thriving practices began to dry up. The economy has been gradually making its way back, but many yoga and martial arts instructors and all kinds of other presenters are telling me that they’re finding it more difficult to get people to show up. A large percentage of those who do come to classes don’t seem to be quite as present. Many only show up a time or two and then disappear. People are also more likely to jump from one thing to another without ever sticking with anything for long enough to derive any real benefit.

People today have greater difficulty sticking with anything because their attention span has shortened. Many have become so desensitized as a result of having disconnected from their feelings and physical bodies. Their lack of groundedness makes them more prone to becoming easily distracted. Their scatteredness prevents them from doing the work that is necessary to facilitate healing.

Maintaining a successful practice was much easier before people began to spend so much time online. I built a practice through occasional radio interviews, workshops and word of mouth referral. I feel like I’m having to work four times harder to get through to people and keep them on track now. I find myself expending a great deal of additional time and energy connecting the dots for people who don’t seem to be capable of doing so on their own.

People often tell me of the powerful healing experiences they have in my classes and individual sessions. But people nowadays are so saturated. What concerns me is that I’m seeing lots of people who are deeply wounded, scattered, lost and confused. Many have serious psychological and physiological health issues that need to be addressed. The disconnect from their feelings and physical bodies leaves them further removed from the underlying source of their issues. They become distracted so easily and that makes it difficult to hold their attention long enough to effect healing.

Our use of the internet is training our brains to process information very quickly but without sustained attention. The problem is that our brains cannot efficiently handle such large volumes of information. Minds that are overloaded become distracted very easily. Our distractedness is making it harder for our brains to consolidate what we’re learning and experiencing so that we can retain pertinent information. Many of us are finding it more difficult to concentrate even when we’re away from our computers and smart phones. Brains that cannot hold onto relevant information or readily access that which has already been stored tend to become very forgetful.

I just assumed that I needed to be going to where people are spending time in order to reach them. I signed up for a number of internet marketing courses. I started creating Facebook pages and developing websites. Spending so much additional time online only scattered my focus. It also took lots of time away from the things I really need to be doing such as working on my writing. I would often stay up till one or two in the morning, but then I would end up feeling exhausted the next day.

I’ve spent years training with a traditional American Indian doctor and Master from China in the Internal Martial Arts. I need to be doing hours of intensive practice on a daily basis in order to continue to develop my body and mind. The time I spent on the internet was taking lots of time away from my practice. And in many instances I wasn’t anywhere near as effective because I was so tired from staying up the night before. After a while I began to realize that spending so much time online just wasn’t working for me.

Features and benefits: What the internet is actually doing for us

Internet has become one of the primary conduits for information flowing through our sensory channels. Before the internet researchers published their findings in journals that were not always easy to obtain. The internet has given us the ability to access to vast amounts of information that would not otherwise be readily available. The internet makes it easy for us to share information with individuals who have similar interests. The down side of all this is that traditional modes of research involve rigorous vetting to other researchers, who evaluate the information. This is called ‘peer review,’ meaning that you can’t just publish any old thing and pass it off as valid research. It’s a system of checks and balances. Nowadays anyone can post anything on the internet and that makes it difficult to determine if the content being offered if it’s accurate or not.

The internet is also making it much easier for us to stay connected with friends, family members and colleagues at a distance. Letters and other forms of communication used to take days, weeks and even months to reach the recipient. We can now send messages back and forth in a matter of seconds.

Broadcast media is largely controlled by various corporate and governmental interests which gives them the unfair advantage of shaping public opinion by determining what information we do and do not receive. The internet has given us access to a much broader range of information pertaining to what’s really happening in our world. It has helped to level the playing field by making it easier for individuals and organizations to efficiently disseminate information to large numbers of people. The internet and social media in particular has been a valuable tool that has helped to bring down despotic regimes and expose and prosecute human rights abuses and war crimes.

The time we’re spending online

Access to the internet wasn’t so readily available when we first started bringing computers into our homes. We used to have to log on from our desktop in order to go online and wait for what seemed like an eternity for web pages to load because the dial up connection was so unbearably slow.

The amount of time we’re spending online has increased considerably as the technology has continued to advance. The majority of people with internet access are spending at least a couple hours a day online. Some of us are spending half of our waking hours staring at the screens of our televisions, computer monitors and smartphones. In many instances we’re doing all of the above simultaneously. But time spent online is time we’re not being fully engaged with our friends and families, other people we encounter along the way and the world around us.

The loss of communal space

I was so excited at the time I moved to New York City thinking that I would be meeting and interacting with people from every country on the planet. I truly longed for some kind of meaningful connection, but often found it very difficult to connect with people. I ended up spending inordinate amounts of time online to compensate for my lack of connectedness.

One of the things I like most about the times I spend abroad is that I encounter so many different kinds of people and experiences. I usually have to go to a cyber café to go online in India and Sri Lanka. I check in once a day on the days I have access to a cyber café to read and respond to email and keep up with what’s happening in the rest of the world. But I find myself spending much less time online because I’m so much more engaged with the people and the world around me.

It wasn’t that long ago when those of us living in the United States were more engaged with the people in our immediate proximity. Cafes and parks were looked upon as communal spaces where people came together and interacted with one another. Nowadays being approached or engaged by someone unfamiliar is perceived by many to be some form of intrusion.

Children used to spend so much of their free time outdoors where they made new friends while riding bikes, climbing trees and playing games such as hide and seek. Kids today are much more inclined to sit at home watching television, playing computer games and surfing the net. Many don’t go out or have as many friends to engage with or opportunities for fun as their parents had when they were young. One cannot help but wonder what will become of these children as they grow into adulthood.

We’re losing our sense of community as we become more interested in what’s happening on the screens of our smartphones and computers than what’s taking place in our immediate proximity. We can go to any café or coffee shop and find that nearly everyone is glued to the screens of their computer and smartphone as they drink their coffee. Rather than connect with one another, we’re spending our time communicating with people at a distance through our mobile devices. Many of us are so preoccupied with our connections to people in our networks that we’ve lost all sense of curiosity and wonderment of the world around us.

We’re becoming more insecure in our relationships and anxious about intimacy and that’s making us less willing to put ourselves out there and take a chance. We feel lonely and experience a painful longing for intimacy and yet we’re using technology to create a buffer between ourselves and others. We hide behind the screens of our computers and smartphones because we fear the risk and disappointment that comes with being vulnerable to one another. We then stay plugged into our network to lessen our painful sense of aloneness.

It used to be fairly common for men and women who were interested in getting to know someone they found themselves attracted to to smile, make eye contact and engage in conversation. We have become so much more fearful and mistrusting of one another, thanks in part to our socially irresponsible media that sensationalizes every act of violence in order to boost its ratings. Fears held within constrict our body and mind in such a way that it prevent us from showing up as fully functional adults. Consequently, we’re less likely to smile, make eye contact and engage with one another.

Many people are feeling terribly lonely and finding it increasingly more difficult to form any kind of meaningful connection. We turn to online matchmaking sites such as mismatch.com in our attempts to find the love and companionship we truly need and desire. One of the sad things about our reliance upon online dating sites it that it’s not encouraging us to develop the intuitive ability that would enable us to get a sense of where people are coming from. It’s also preventing us from developing many of the interpersonal skills that are necessary to develop healthy and loving relationships. Our fears, social inhibitions and reliance upon matchmaking sites are also preventing us from engaging with people in our immediate proximity. They may be stopping us from talking with that one person who could very well be the best match we would ever find in our entire lives.

No longer present to one another

Texting, emailing, instant messaging, tweeting and spending time on Facebook are taking us further away from things that would help us to feel close. We’re spending so much time connecting to people in our networks and yet we’re no longer present to the world around us. We’re constantly glancing down at our cell phones and our conversations are routinely interrupted by incoming calls and text messages. That’s making it difficult for us to know if we’re really holding a person’s attention. These continual interruptions are compromising the quality of intimacy.

Everywhere we turn we see examples of people who are physically close but mentally elsewhere. Busy parents are less involved with their children because they’re so preoccupied by what’s taking place on the screen of their smartphone. Mothers of newborns sometimes admit to keeping up with their friend’s Facebook status updates on their iPhones while nursing. Many parents text and check email while pushing baby strollers or pushing their children on a swing. Parents and children often text during meals. Teens and adults text other people while out on a date. Now we’re even hearing of couples who text and e-mail each other while sitting on the couch or lying in bed.

The illusion of connection

Our world is changing rapidly. We now live in a digital culture of immediacy and constant technological stimulus. Our phones, tablets and laptops have become the medium that enable us to superficially satisfy the primal need in all of us who desire to feel connected to others at all times. But the technologies that were supposed to bring us together are actually putting more distance between us. Our connectivity is disrupting our attachments to the things that have always nourished and sustained us. We may enjoy the continual sense of connection and yet we fail to realize that it’s a big part of the reason that we rarely have time for each other.

Connectivity is giving many of us more what we think we want. We may assume that what we want is to always be in touch and to never be alone. Social media enables us to instantly gain the attention of many people, but in the process we’re losing the depth and quality that comes with truly bonding with another individual. We talk about how many friends we have on Facebook and yet many of us have fewer real and lasting friendships than ever before. We’ve become so immersed in our online connections that we have no one in the here and now that we can turn to and confide in.

Attempting to fill the empty void

Many of us are starving for connection with other human beings. The Internet provides us with an endless array of distractions while indulging our cravings for attention and stimulation. We’re being conditioned by all of these little rewards of social and intellectual nourishment provided by Facebook and other social media sites the way the Russian physiologist Pavlov conditioned his dogs to salivate every time he rang a bell. The attention and validation that we receive whenever someone retweets our tweets and likes, shares or comments on our Facebook posts are the little bread crumbs that keep us coming back for more.

Spending so much time online is desensitizing us to the inner void. Our hunger to connect with other human beings compels us to keep checking our email, twitter feeds and Facebook status updates. We text, instant message and go on to Facebook because it helps us to feel less alone. Even when people are not really here with us we still have their pictures. We feel comforted by their texts, emails and responses to our status update because it gives us a false sense of being together. The more we try to feed this emptiness the hungrier we become.

Spending time online may help to alleviate the painful sense of aloneness that many of us experience. The problem with this approach is that spending time behind of the screens of our computers is contributing to our growing sense of isolation by putting more barriers between ourselves and others.

Texting vs. Talking

Talking on a land line without interruption used to be the primary mode of communication when we were not able to speak face to face. The nice thing about talking on the phone or face to face is that it’s easier to have the full attention of the person we’re speaking with. We’re so much busier now and that can make it considerably more difficult to get someone’s attention.

People tend to communicate in ways that fit their comfort level. Many feel that a phone call is asking too much and perceive it as an intrusion. They don’t want make the commitment to being in a conversation because it demands presence and attention they don’t want to give. In essence, what they are saying is “I’m not comfortable being directly engaged. It’s too much for me to be fully present with you.” Our unwillingness to show up fully present is indicative of a serious interpersonal deficit.

It can be very difficult to get people to pick up the phone these days. Many are avoiding face-to-face encounters and phone calls and only “speak” via text or email. People tell me that texting and email gives them a greater sense of control over their time and the nature of their interactions. Scaling down the intensity of human contact helps them to manage their social insecurities.

One of the most frustrating things about e-mails is that they have a tendency to go back and forth without providing clarity or resolution. Misunderstandings are frequent and feelings can easily get hurt. The bigger the misunderstanding a greater the number of e-mails we send in our attempt clarify matters. All this emailing back and forth takes a lot of additional time and energy and creates tremendous amounts of unnecessary stress and complication. It’s so much simpler and easier to talk over the phone. The advantage of communicating by telephone is that all parties are more likely to be present. The message intended to be communicated can be more easily understood. Feelings can be expressed and questions can be answered right then and there. That can save us from a lot of unnecessary headaches and frustrations.

Texting is extremely limited as a means of communication, because it is about as far removed as one can be while communicating with another person. Texting is not at all conducive to giving careful consideration to or gaining a deep understanding of complex issues or involved matters. It doesn’t provide a good medium for conveying the many nuances of a complicated situation.

Texting provides an easy out for people who are not comfortable with their own or other people’s feelings. Texting allows them to maintain a reassuring distance by not allowing anyone to get too close. It also gives them the opportunity to edit their responses. Those who are not comfortable with the spontaneous nature of conversation have more time to think about what they’re saying. They don’t have to worry about saying too much or showing feeling they’re not comfortable with.

We feel less bound to the other person when we text and that makes it easier for us to ignore or blow them off. We’re so far removed from the people we’re communicating with that we don’t feel the pain we’re causing when we hurt someone. That accounts for the fact that many of us have become so incredibly flaky.

A place to hide

Many of us long for intimacy and yet we feel anxious about allowing other people to get too close because it brings up all kinds of feelings and issues we haven’t wanted to deal with. Emailing, instant messaging and texting makes it easy for those of us who are not willing to show up fully present to hide from the feelings of others and our own emotions.

We’re paying a high price for cutting off from our feelings, avoiding relevant issues and failing to show up fully present. The many things we’re doing to avoid or disconnect are taking us that much further away from the things that would help us to feel close. Our lack of direct engagement is preventing us from learning to manage and express our feelings. It’s also preventing us from developing many of the basic interpersonal skills needed to successfully relate to other human beings.

We’re cheating ourselves of the opportunity to see, feel and hear the many signals that we have relied upon for centuries to understand one another. We’re missing out on eye contact, facial expression and body language. We cannot hear the tone of a person’s voice or pick up on the subtle nuances of feeling that would give us a clear sense of what the other person is trying to say. That’s making it so much more difficult for us to understand the true meaning of the message being communicated. We often cannot tell if the person we’re trying to communicate with is joking or serious. We’re also losing the sense of spontaneity that comes with the unplanned interaction that takes place as we engage in conversation.

Too busy for our own good

We’re working more hours than ever before. We turn to technology to help us manage the demands of our present day lives, but the same technology that we have come to depend upon is consuming huge amounts of our time and energy. Many of us no longer have time for relationships and so we rely on technology to help us stay connected to people in our network.

The technologies that were devised to help us become more efficient are also speeding up the pace of our lives. We’re spending more time and doing more things online as the technology continues to advance. The increasing demands created by our new technologies are contributing to our growing sense of overwhelm. We try to do things online because we’re so busy, but then we end up spending a lot more time with our technology and less time with each other.

We have fewer opportunities to engage with people face to face and that’s causing us to feel more insecure, isolated and lonely. We try to compensate by attempting to form and maintain attachments to other people through our digital portals. But that’s leaving us further and further removed from the experience of direct engagement with one another.

Rewiring our mental circuitry

Our use of the internet is changing our intellectual habits. It is literally rewiring our mental circuitry by encouraging hurried and distracted thinking and superficial learning. Skimming of content has become the predominant mode of gathering information. The average internet user spends about twenty to thirty-five seconds looking at a web page before moving on to the next.

Many have argued that the combination of text, sounds, images and video create a sensory rich environment provided by the internet enhances the learning experience. But the constant distractions are taking up so much of the bandwidth of our working memory. The resulting division of our attention impairs our capacity to learn. Constant distractions make it more difficult for us to comprehend complex issues, draw inferences, establish relationships between concepts or make use of prior knowledge.

Many of us have stopped reading books. And we no longer have the patience for in depth essays. Writers, online magazines and other forms of net publications are changing their format to accommodate our shortened attention span. Long thought provoking pieces have been replaced by brief summaries or snippets of information. Our inability to focus on a given subject for any significant period of time is limiting our capacity to give careful consideration to matters.

Neural Plasticity

Whatever we learn or experience over the course of our lives has the capacity to modify our brain. Neural plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reprogram itself and adapt to new circumstance, environments and ways of doing things. Old neural connections break down and atrophy when we fail to engage them. Our brains develop newer and stronger circuits with physical and mental practice. The mental workout that takes place as we continue to learn and accumulate knowledge facilitates greater levels of intellectual development.

Continuing use of the internet is modifying the structure and function of our brains. The neural circuits devoted to scanning and multitasking are becoming stronger while those associated with critical analysis, concentration, reflective thought and intuition are weakening. That’s diminishing our capacity for critical thinking, imagination, creativity and reflection.

The many streams of jumbled information flowing through our sensory channels in the form of text, images, audio and video coming from different sources of media are exceeding the limits our brain’s processing capacity. Our brains are forced to devote more and more attention to distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information. Our ability to learn suffers because the resources required to filter out all of the extraneous noise is leaving us with less of the attention or cognitive resources needed to develop an in depth understanding of a subject or concept. And that’s interfering with our mind’s capacity to process and store relevant information.

Working memory

The working memory is the aspect of our conscious mind that is comprised of those things that we are conscious of at any given moment. One of the primary functions of our working memory is to gather information. The contents of our long-term memory reside outside of our conscious awareness. Our subconscious serves as a personal storehouse of knowledge and provides a filing system for the information acquired through the working memory so that it can be retrieved when needed. The brain helps us to remember by transferring information stored in our long term memory back into working memory.

The brain can only accommodate a limited amount of information at any given time. Going beyond this capacity overwhelms the brain and that impairs its ability to transfer information from our working memory into our long term memory. Many of us are being inundated with far more information than our brains can possible handle and that’s placing a tremendous strain upon our working memory.

Brains that are overwhelmed have greater difficulty making useful connections with the information already stored in the long term memory. The jumble of information flooding our senses diverts resources from our higher reasoning facilities. That impedes the consolidation of useful information needed to facilitate the development of useful schemas which are the working models that enable us to make sense of the world around us by helping us to understand how things work.

Competing for our attention

There are so many things competing for our attention whenever we go online. Oversized headlines and graphic images are designed to jump out at us, grab our attention and pull us in. Pop-up ads intrude upon our screens. Our computers and smartphones notify us of every new text, email, blog post, news or stock update, weather alert and friend who comes online with all kinds of audio and visual cues. The constant shifting of attention can be very mentally taxing because our brains have to keep reorienting themselves.

Office workers often stop what they’re doing to read and respond to incoming e-mail messages. Time spent reading and responding to email accounts for a huge loss of productivity. Many students’ academic performance began to suffer when colleges and universities began to allow students to type their lecture notes after laptop computers became readily available because they were spending so much of their class time shopping, downloading music, texting, checking email, watching videos or keeping up with their friend’s status updates on Facebook. The average American teen is sending and receiving thousands of text messages a month. And many are leaving their cell phones and computers on next to their beds as they sleep and are woken up at all hours of the night by incoming messages.

The many things that distract us whenever we go online often take us away from the information we were initially seeking. We end up losing inordinate amounts of time watching viral videos and reading up on the details of the latest wars, crimes committed, natural disasters, political infighting, celebrity gossip and our friend’s status updates. We’re so mentally fatigued by the clutter flooding our sensory channels. And in many instances we’re also physically exhausted because of the extra time we spend staying up when our bodies are in need of rest. Consequently we have less available resources to attend to those issues that seriously need to be addressed.

Constant interruptions weaken our concentration while leaving us feeling more tense and anxious. The short-circuiting of our conscious and subconscious thought processes impedes our ability to think deeply and creatively. These disruptions interfere with the subconscious mind’s ability to synthesize information and then to bring it into our conscious awareness when needed. That’s making it all the more difficult for us to comprehend and retain information, to get a clear sense of the issues at hand, to formulate goals and to maintain the degree of focused attention needed to address relevant issues.

We need to be able to focus our attention in order to retain information. Strong mental concentration combined with repetition helps us to form meaningful associations. The single-minded concentration experienced while reading a book, listening attentively to a lecture or practicing a discipline such as yoga or the martial arts facilitates a steady flow of information into the subconscious mind from our working memory. Having a singular focus facilitates the process of comprehension and makes it easier for us to retain more of what we’re learning. Our subconscious can then incorporate new information in such a way that it augments existing models.

The loss of solitude

The net is always with us now that we’re able to take our laptops and smartphones wherever we go. Our computers, smartphones and tablets have become our doorway to the universe. There are always more articles to read, friends to talk to and status updates to catch up on.

That doesn’t leave us much time to be alone with ourselves. Finding time for our selves would mean actually turning off our phones and computers. The prospect of unplugging has become ever more challenging as we depend upon our computers and smartphones to help us navigate the social and psychological terrain.

Many of us are now so dependent upon our devices to help us manage that we feel a sense of disorientation when we leave our screens. We’ve become inseparable from our smartphones feeling as though something were terribly wrong when we’re not in touch. We’re only going to become more heavily reliant upon technology, new media and social networks as our technology continues to advance. And that means we’ll be expecting more from our technology and less from each other.

We’re losing our sense of inner calm along with our ability to live fully in the moment. Many of us can no longer handle stillness. We feel compelled to fill our every waking moment with some form of distraction. We preoccupy ourselves by monitoring a never ending stream real time updates in the form of Facebook notifications, Twitter feeds, news alerts and email. Our constant state of connectedness is leaving us very little time for self-reflection. We all need time to gather or collect information. We also need time for contemplation. That cannot possibly happen when we’re always plugged into our network.

What we’re losing

Few of us ever stop to consider what we’re losing since we’ve become so plugged into our purpose driven media. We’ve become so detached from our feelings and physical bodies are paying less attention to those around us. We’re losing interest in other people along with our capacity for empathy. That’s making it harder for us to put ourselves in the place of others to try to understand their feelings and considerations.

Many are not old enough to remember what it was like before we became so plugged in. Younger generations that have been born into to the age of technology, don’t have the ability to know what life was like without it. They have no point of comparison that would enable them to recognize how pathological our dependence has become. Those of us who grew up beforehand still have some sense of an inner self apart from technology that enables us to recognize the impact that technology is having upon us.

The pace of life was slower before we started spending so much time online. We had more time for each other and we tended to be more present in our interactions. We also had more time to read, meditate, prepare healthy meals, sleep and to do any number of other things we need to be doing to better care for ourselves. Many of us long for the sense of stillness and quietude that has seemingly been lost.

Enslaved by the technology that was initially designed to serve us
It has become nearly impossible for us to live without the use of the technology in our present day and age. The Internet has become so integral to our work and social lives that we couldn’t possibly escape from it even if we wanted to. We depend on the net to learn about what’s happening in our world, to check the weather report, to get an education or find a job. We use the internet to shop and pay bills, schedule appointments, send online greetings and book flights and hotel rooms.

Many of us are now living our lives on the screen of our computers and smartphones. We’re becoming slaves to the technology that was initially designed to serve us. Our challenge in using the internet is to find a way to live with the seductive technology and not have it take over us. We need to become fully honest by asking ourselves if the technology we have become so invested in is truly serving our purposes.

Staying on track

We’re bombarded by all kinds of flashing signs, elaborate displays and sales clerks spraying cologne or perfume on us and samples to taste anytime we walk into a shopping mall or supermarket. We can easily find ourselves getting caught up in these distractions and end up buying things we don’t need that we had absolutely no intention of purchasing.

The internet is designed in a very similar way to distract us from what we’re truly searching for. Our internal state of being becomes very cluttered as we continue to collect more details of the latest disaster, celebrity news and other garbage being thrown at us while we’re glued to the net. Our brains are just not capable of processing the massive amounts of information flowing through our sensory channels.

Our life spans are very short. Keeping up with all the websites that we spend time on consumes inordinate amounts of our time. There are only twenty-four hours in a day. But we find ourselves spending ten minutes here and another five there and before we know it we have lost hours to the many distractions that have captured our attention. That’s leaving us less time to actually live our lives. We need to be disciplined in our use of the internet so that we can go in to get what we want without getting caught up in the innumerable distractions placed before us.

Taking time to tune in

Those of us who are not firmly grounded in our bodies can easily become caught up in the collective consciousness of the society in which we live. It causes me a great deal of concern to see how we are becoming less present to ourselves, other people and the world around us as we become more and more dependent upon technology.

We were taught from an early age to disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies. Spending excessive amounts of time on line is only exacerbating our state of disconnect. Many of us have become so desensitized and that’s preventing us from recognizing the changes taking place within our own bodies and minds as we continue to spend more and more time online.

The sensory overload resulting from our media addiction is distracting us from relevant issues that need to be addressed. It’s also causing us to lose touch with ourselves. Our state of disconnect is causing us to operate at a very superficial level of consciousness. And that’s making it considerably more difficult for us to form or maintain any kind of healthy attachments.

I’ve become more cognizant of the negative impact that my own reliance upon technology is having upon me. I’m thankful that I have practices to work with and other healing resources such as the vision quest to do a “reset” on my body and mind and get me back on track. People who are not so fortunate are paying the price as they become more disconnected from their feelings and physical bodies, other people and the world in which they live.

We all need downtime to reconnect with our feelings and physical bodies. Taking time to slow down and become fully present by breathing softly and deeply while focusing our attention on our feelings and sensations will help us to reconnect with the authentic core that resides deep within.

Showing up fully present

Smart phones, tablets, computers and the internet can all be highly addictive. We need to be exceptionally mindful in our use of the seductive modern technology lest we lose ourselves in the process.

Many of us are checking out of the present moment whenever we go online. Our lives are nothing more than a dissociative existence when we hide behind the screens of our computers and smart phones. We’re actually throwing ourselves into reverse when we hide, avoid and tune out and that is stunting our emotional development.

We cannot upload love, download time or Google all of our life’s answers. It’s important for us to keep in mind that the connections we share with the people who truly matter to us are one of the most important aspects of our lives. It’s through our feelings that we develop the capacity to bond and form healthy attachments and get a clear sense of our purpose and direction in life.

We all have a purpose for being here in this world. We must actually live our lives to realize our true purpose. That can only happen when we put down our devices and make a conscientious effort on a daily basis to live a fully embodied life. That means showing up, paying attention and participating.

Learning to show up fully present as an active participant in life is one of the most important things we can do in terms of our healing and personal growth. Being present with our feelings and physical bodies and in our interactions with others is not always easy, but it is one of the most important things we can possibly do to heal and grow individually and in our relationships with others.

Bibliography

Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Norton. 2011

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other. Basic Books. 2011

©Copyright 2013 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

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