I just read something that made me stop in my tracks.
Have you heard of the ‘digital leash’?
It’s a term that some stressed workers are now using to describe the way they feel being tethered to their work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I read that – it instantly struck a chord with me.
I can’t even eat a sandwich without scrolling through my iphone and this behaviour is getting worse. I can’t even take my eyes of my screen long enough to walk across a busy street. I must have my eyes on my screen at all times. Of course, on my lunch break I reply to work emails, of course I check the company’s twitter feed at 9pm just to see if anyone likes the tweets we shared.
“The 24/7 economy has permeated our lifestyles, where work can intrude everywhere and anywhere. Many workers are described as being perpetually attached to their work via a digital ‘leash’ – pagers, mobile phones, palm devices and laptops. These factors impact upon adults and children alike.” (Thomas, 2003)
That was written TEN YEARS AGO
When I first got an iphone in 2010 – I didn’t think I was aware how much it would change communication and culture. I will tell you this right now and I will use a swear word so get ready.
New Digital Media is Ruining Our Fucking Minds
It really is. I love media, I love being connected, I love multitasking, I love watching TV while being on my PC and iphone at the same time. Even the few short words I have managed to get down here have been interrupted in flow because of all the times I had to stop to check my outlook, my yahoo, my fave news site and to chat to my neighbour. My mind is like swiss cheese.
And I’ll bet yours is too – maybe not as bad as mine
So now we are going to talk about how to fix it.
It is essential to be able to cultivate your ability to concentrate. It is impossible to spiritually progress until one can focus and control their mind somewhat. The mind is a tricky thing – it wanders here and there. It is naturally like this but can be trained to focus. Focus is practised. You can get better. Once you gain the skill – you have to maintain it – it does not remain with you – you must cultivate it like a garden.
So many people do not like meditation. It’s like going to the gym – it has benefits but is not always fun. The benefits of running on a treadmill are fun (good body, better lungs, fitter) but the mechanics of running are not always pleasant (hot, sweaty, tired and sore legs!). It is not acceptable to say that I am not good at exercising therefore I do not do it. It must be done, it is essential to life.
So – do I meditate?
Not nearly enough. So I’m not having a go at you. One thing I have done several times is a course of vipassana. This should be free where you are – do not pay for this course. Spiritual learning should not come at a monetary cost if you can avoid it. It should be freely given and shared. But that’s only my opinion.
When you go to vipassana – you mediate for about 11 hours a day. You do this for 10 days in a row and it is a great way for someone to gain the mental skills that they need to progress. If you cannot concentrate – you will not get anywhere. Sometimes we get spiritual help and we don’t even know because we are not paying attention.
I mean – what the hell are we even here for? It might be worth asking yourself the question if you haven’t yet. Honestly – any clues to these big questions always come in the quietest of moments.