27 Dec Our Phone
In my last Tantra Workshop during the lunch break (just an hour), I had asked all my students to remind Silent, to withdraw and to not use their phones at all. After the break, during the sharing, one of my young students said: To not use my phone was very difficult. My phone is like an extension of my body, a part of my self,,, I feel like I’m missing something without my phone.
This made me think a lot about the “use” that we are giving to our phones. I have been observing myself and others of this lately a lot. And, Yes, our phones have become a very important part of who we are, of how we present ourselves into the world and how we see the world around us. Today we give more importance to answering texts than we do during our dinner with a friend. Yes, many times we don’t know how to just be with the others. We feel uncomfortable during the silence in a conversation and we look to our phones. We get bored during the meetings, and we check how many likes our photo is getting so far….
We are denying our full Attention to the Present activity, to our partners, children and friends, and to our selves!
At any moment we allow ourselves to go away from the present feelings and to go into our phones. Any situation is ok to check our device… a working meeting, a party, a wedding, a yoga class… even during a funeral we can see people getting on their phones nowadays. And all that is normal, is ok. It is all ready weird to be in a public place without your phone.
But, why does this is matter?
It matters because this fact changes completely the way that we are relating with each other and, even more important, with ourselves.
We are loosing the habit of maintaining eye contact with the people that keep crossing our paths daily. Many times we are not used to looking into the eyes of our partners or kids. We are getting used to being alone in the company of others. Getting used to being with each other, but also somewhere else.
We are getting used to hiding a part of ourselves from each other, and just showing whatever we want to share with the others whenever is convenient for us. Keeping a great control of what others can see, think or feel about us.
We are keeping control over what to see or feel about the others around us too. We can stop, cut or delete a conversation (or a friend!) just with a click. Keeping control over the distance within each of our relationships… Not too far, not too close,,, just right for me now.
But that distance we are creating with each other is not allowing us to be authentic and real. It is not allowing us to trust, to trust in showing who we really are. We are trying to be perfect on the outside and we are trying for others to be perfect for us. Whenever we want it, We get to edit it, we get to retouch it, and we get to delete it whenever we want to.
We need to remember that relationships are our best opportunity in life to learn about ourselves. My teacher Prem Baba use to say “If life is a school, relationships are a University.”
Our university to learn about Connection. But sometimes relationships get uncomfortable to be in; and we just avoid the conflict.
In this way we are loosing one of our best tools to deepen our relationships: Conversations face to face. Conversations with Presence. Not even to mention “The” relationship with ourselves. It is getting weaker and weaker. We don’t give time to our minds just to be in silence. Even just a minute per day! In this way we are loosing our great capacity of self reflection.
One more consequence of all this technology is the great feeling of loneliness around. More and more people are feeling depressed and alone, and it gets more and more difficult to break the shell and open up again to real people. It is scary to sit down with a friend and say, “I’m feeling like shit.”
Now more and more jobs are going to be performed by robots. All ready we are “going shopping ‘ from our homes. This is very comfortable, but doesn’t allow us to relate with random people in the shopping center as we use to do, for example. We don’t get to deal with the crazy lady,,, but either with the nice one.
Instead of going to the doctor we are checking the opinion of Google about our “problem”, we are using a phone app to workout or to learn to meditate, and we are meeting our dates with “Tinder” base on a few photos that have probably been retouched.
We are expecting more and more from technology and less from each other. It is becoming more difficult to show our vulnerability to each other. We are choosing a phone app or a robot to share our fears, but we are pretending something else is in front of each other. Many times we are not even allowing ourselves to feel the fears at all, and we prefer to watch a series in our Netflix. To not feel the pain or the loneliness of our hearts, We are choosing no to feels
We are paying a big price for this. We are carrying a heavy and big Mask around our lives, that doesn’t allow us to be authentic and real. We are loosing Intimacy with others and with ourselves. We are creating the illusion that we are better if we have more followers, that our opinion is more relevant is more people hit “Like.”
I know I’m opening a big discussion that can take pages and pages of pros and cons. Different ways and consequences for every fact that I’m exposing here today.
I want to be cleat that I’m not suggesting to turn away from our devices. Please, don’t miss understand me. I would just like us to reconsider how we are using them. I would like to suggest to teach ourselves and our children the importance of showing our vulnerabilities in front of each other. I’m asking you today to remember the power of Eye Contact, and use it. I’m suggesting to make time to be alone with nothing to do, and to learn to use Silence as our own daily reset bottom. I’m suggesting to create space to think and to talk without the intrusion of a phone beat. I’m suggesting to remember that our phone is not our best friend, but just a tool to make our life easier.
By Angela Perez