Amazing, isn’t it, how we can go through life mindlessly and miss the good stuff? It’s more challenging than ever now, to stay present to what’s really going on, when our tech tools are seducing us 24/7. Consider how often you commune with your smartphone. Are there any limits? It’s right there with you, whatever you’re doing, right? Naked in bed, anyone? Try as we might to take breaks from connectivity, our ticket to all things distracting is never far. Transcending technology isn’t easy, that’s for sure.
The pervasive pull away from live action life smacked me around again last night. My Silicon Valley exec dinner date was unavoidably stuck on 2 back-to-back work calls while we were out at The Plant, a local organic café. Strangely, I had forgotten my iphone in the car, parked nearby. Having just browsed a chapter in my book, called Immediate State, I was in the perfect frame of mind not to mind. Left alone, I took my own advice and immersed in what was going on right in front of me, in that moment.
I noticed the red dyed sunflowers that lined the bar in glass jars, one by one. So cool. I discreetly observed diners and created mini-sketches of their personalities and conversations in my imagination. I admired the round, modern light fixtures that dangled above the bartender’s head as she poured watermelon cocktails into small V-shaped glasses. It was every bit as fun to immerse in the present moment as I promise in the book.
Here’s where it gets real. After about 20 minutes of full-on presence, I took the short walk to the car to retrieve my cell phone. Why? The next dinner reservation had to be made. I warn against this kind of behavior in IS: Your Authentic Spirituality Unleashed. We can’t afford to eclipse the current moment by planning future ones, I point out. “Have you ever dined somewhere new, only to spend the conversation planning where you’ll eat out next?” (p. 42). Yet, instant gratification was just an irresistible touch screen away. My OpenTable App won me away from now again.
We have to engage with technology and often. The point isn’t to live a monastic life. It’s just to notice real life as it’s happening. What goes on beyond the laptop, the ipad and the smartphone is a lot more dynamic. Then again, if it weren’t for those, you wouldn’t be reading this.
Life is amazing. Enjoy the moment, tech toys within reach.