Some time ago, I removed myself from all forms of social media. In one fell swoop, Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In disappeared from my life. I thought I would miss them. Truth is: I don’t.
With the passage of time, my curiosity expanded and led me into my most recent experiment: freeing myself from unlimited consumption of all the delights of the internet. A step in that direction was to remove wireless access from my home. You know what I mean: that little black box that allows me to imbibe – 24/7 – in an endless stream of news, podcasts, puppies, documentaries, movies, music, political commentary, etc, etc, etc. Gone! A strange sensation as I come to recognize and accept that consumption now has boundaries around it. There are now limitations around my ‘click fever’ as I become more discerning about what I invest my mind in consuming. (Sidebar: Like my body digests the physical food I put into it, my mind ‘digests’ the ‘thought food’ I put into it! The miracle of the device of Being human is that ‘digestion’ happens at every level of our expression… so many of which we are unaware.) How many cat or baby videos does one person need in her life?? Do I really need to listen to yet another purported Enlightened One speak to the decline of humanity, around the globe? I get it: we need to think differently. And that is not going to happen by ensuring that we continue to fill our minds with the same thoughts – only now, faster and more densely.
The first thing I have noticed is that the ringing in my ears has stopped. The modem is gone – I am unplugged from the matrix. There is a stillness I had long forgotten as possible. I now remember what ‘empty’ feels like. I consider this evidence that we do not need to be able to ‘see’ something in order for it to be shaping our moments. After only a week, I am clear that I will not have wireless internet service in my home, again. Leaves me wondering about all that Elana Freeland shares about 5G….
Without this endless capacity for access to its menu, I am noticing that I have become – have had to become! – more discerning about the internet offerings for my mind. Although I continue to have access to data on my phone (quickly and easily turned off with the ‘press’ of a button) , it is a significantly smaller portal and runs the risk (notice how I put that – still a little edgy) of exhausting itself very quickly. Now, before I engage, I ask myself: do I really need to do this? Is this going to improve my mind… my reality… my day? Will I grow, in some way, from ingesting this information? Can I make a difference with this information? Will my moment become more joyous, more creative, more awakened if I were to allow this to stream into my consciousness? Will this collapse my potential or allow it to unfurl? Interestingly, I am discovering that to these and other questions, the answer most frequently is a resounding “No!”.
I have come to think of unlimited data as the drive-through for quick and easy access to junk food for the mind. Yes, I also eat my veggies (i.e. thoughtful, compelling and life-altering explorations through conversations and documentaries on the many things that seek to provoke us into ourselves, in some way)… like having a side-salad with a Big Mac, a mountain of fries and a soda followed by a trip to the Dairy Queen for dessert and topped off with Starbucks for a mocha chino something-or-other. Minimal nutrition to offset the humongous assault on the body’s ability to process its functional reality.
Choices. The ones we know we are making and the ones made for us, long ago and by forces far greater than our own, that linger and continue to shape our potential outside of our own conscious awareness. Those choices have become invisible to us… have become so habituated that we have long forgotten the moment the seeds of these habits took root and became our lives.
An important thing to pay attention to: it is not the habituation of a behaviour that will take us to our knees… it is the habituation to a process that we no longer notice – a process that has now become transparent to any act of choosing – that keeps those behaviours alive and active in our reality. A behaviour is something that I or anyone else can see. A process is quite a different beast… and far more dangerous to our willingness and ability to live an authentic and meaningful life.
Now, moving into Week 2 of this mindful, intentional act of conscious awareness of who I am being, I am mindful of a greater sense of letting go. The tierany of the immediate is waning and I am still wondering: what might rise up to fill the fecund emptiness that I have allowed, in which it might flourish? There is greater stillness… and silence… in my day – spaces within which I might engage differently or choose to not engage, at all. I am rediscovering the richness of simply sitting… in the power of my own thoughts… knowing there is nothing for me to do but embrace what it is to Be. That, and naps, too!
Where shall all this lead? I have not a clue. I am however, noticing that time is slowing. In moments, I capture the edges of my own uniqueness; those aspects of my Being that allow me to be separate and without the need for collective. Am I alone when I am the only one in the room? Am I alone when I am the only one in my thoughts? Am I alone when the only thoughts I entertain are those that emerge from my own Being? I think not. Knowing that I am connected to that beyond the physical… to that which lives and thrives at higher orders of thinking… is an invitation to discovery of a very different kind.
Stay tuned! I’ll let you know how it goes. And should you choose a data diet for yourself, let me know how it goes.