[COLUMN] Part III: Mindfulness as a survival skill

Part 2 of 2 (Continued from last week…)

I plead the case for mindfulness for everyone at all times and in all places.

Do you feel incomplete, naked, inept and insecure when you are not tethered electronically to your cellphone or your computer? Do you feel less of a person? Take heart. You are not alone.

The advances in communication technology have created a world where we can send and receive information at breakneck speed. The thoughts, the images of anyone, from kings to paupers, from the most profound to the most profane, from the wisest to the most foolish, from the most beautiful to the most horrific, once formed, can be transmitted to billions of people around the electronically wired community.

Just like the common cold and the dreadful Covid19 pandemic that had the world on a stranglehold, thoughts and images “go viral…”  The power of a message or image online is now measured by the number of retweets, hits and views it gets.

Many are choosing to live in virtual reality rather than in the real world believing they can safely hide behind a cloak of anonymity. Disabuse yourself of the idea. No one remains anonymous for long. No one in the internet is sacrosanct. Everyone is fair game.

The pandemic forced billions to work from home, earth’s inhabitants are becoming more and more sucked into a virtual world for work and more and more into the real world of in-your-face home life. Many are getting used to this new lifestyle where the borders of home life and work life are fused.

One can work in her pajamas and slippers, talking to clients and earn a living while the casserole is simmering in the slow cooker and the baby is in the playpen absorbed listening and watching Simple Songs on youtube.

The human work force had to adapt and once again, for the most part when presence in the work place is not mandatory, the home has become the center of life in the modern world. Throw in the advantage of cancelling the dreadful commute.

Yay! An upside to having to deal with Covid? A silver lining?  Maybe so….The post pandemic story is still evolving.

The Holy Spirit uses every tool at His disposal to renew the face of the earth.

The upside of staying put at home or any one place for longer periods of times may work in favor of mindfulness and sharpening our senses of our immediate environment.

Thoughts and images go around fast just like the weather patterns that change and swirl around the globe. And just like the weather, our cultural world is being shaped by our collective thoughts within the structure and framework of the technologically wired environment we live in today.

Do we then damn technology because of the potent power it wields over us? Certainly NOT! It would be a big mistake to blame technology for our present woes.  Just like fire and electricity and practically all of man’s tools and inventions through the ages, technology is a double-edged sword. It can enhance human life or it can destroy just as well.

The fault, dear tech user, is not in our stars but in OURSELVES. It is how we define our relationship to technology and use it in our daily lives.

We can be the boss of it.  Or if we lose control, we can let ourselves be obsessed by technology and all its bells and whistles. It can wreak havoc on our souls, our persona and ultimately our lives if we use it as a tool to enable a hubristic tendency among many people today who think the world revolves around them and who then count their worthiness with the number of likes they get from their posts.

How do we know if technology has us wrapped around its little digits? It is easy enough to self-diagnose this condition.

Observe if you cross streets and railroad tracks with your phones tethered to your ears unmindful of the coming truck or train. Note if you like taking selfies even in dangerous places, elike the edge of a cliff, just to be able to post a photo or video on Instagram.  See if you become unhinged because you forgot or lost your phone. Note if your instinct for risk assessment or the ability to sense danger has become dull.

If so, break the habit pronto If not, we, as a specie and you as an individual will disappear just like the dodo bird who has become so stupid that it has foolishly lost its instinct to sense danger and veer away from it.

When we are no longer mindful of our present conditions and depend on technology overly much to do the thinking for us, then we are truly in deep trouble.

People have become so preoccupied and distracted by the mind boggling possibilities presented by multitasking that is engendered by a tech-enhanced way of life, that they tend to forget what is important and what truly matters.

How badly can it get? There are horror stories of mindless idiocy. Countless car accidents borne of texting while driving, are a testament to the tragic loss of mindfulness and by extension, common sense, among us earthlings. Thankfully, Bluetooth technology stepped up to the plate and we can make and receive calls in our vehicles safely.

Witness the number of news items about overly busy working parents, juggling balls of parenthood and a career and who forget that they have babies strapped in car seats in the back of their cars leaving them to die in the heat of the sun. It is a sad commentary that while we have all the technological aids at our disposal to make our lives better, we fail to use them appropriately.

How do we detox? Try going tech free at designated times or for long stretches of time without having to check your phone or your computer for messages that you feel compelled to respond to ASAP. As I have said in another article championing the cause of living mindfully in the moment, “Log off and enjoy your hot chocolate.”

Unless your work involves saving lives, taking a vacation from technology may prove to offer a higher quality of life.  Eventually, as we learn to synch and balance our lives with our tech tool, it will be an obedient dog serving us as its master.

Think of the perks. We get to appreciate the present moment and appreciate and deeply love the people we are with right then and there. We get to “Carpe Diem” and experience JOY in real time. We get to open our eyes and our hearts to the beauty and infinite majesty of just breathing and knowing LIFE IS GOOD – so good you can feel it in your bones.

Best of all, we get to reserve the eminent right to remain ESSENTIALLY HUMAN.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya writes for Asian Journal Publications,  Inc. Her opinions are her own. To send comments, e-mail  [email protected].


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