This quote from Frank Zappa, could be paraphrased as so many sources of input, so much pressure to ‘do’.
The other day, sitting in Regents Park before the start of an MMM session, I was tweeting a photo and all of a sudden the screen of my iPhone went blue then black. I pressed the home button. No response.
“The Battery was nearly fully charged, can’t be that”, I thought to myself. Pressed the ‘off’ button. No response. Couldn’t slide the screen, push it anywhere or induce any signs of life. Just a black unresponsive screen that wouldn’t talk to me.
What to do? Call my daughter – she’s good at this kind of thing. Oh.. can’t. Google the nearest Apple store … hmmm, can’t do that either. Check the time to see if I can get down to Regent’s St … nope, phone not working. Suddenly flooded with the number of things I couldn’t do, like take a photo, record a voice memo, check the news, search the meaning of a word, fill the void with music, I realise how many things I’d got used to having at my finger tips in the form of this one little rectangular object.
Then I sat back and enjoyed the park, trusted my inner clock, and realised it was actually really pleasant to be free of the urge to push buttons, check stuff, message or email people, keep up with the minutiae of daily life.
The onslaught of technology, and options it presents us with, is actually having a damaging effect on us, turning us into digital addicts. It’s making our sense of time contract, when actually most of the stuff we do is unnecessary.
Our attention span is increasingly fragmented, damaging our ability to focus. We bombard ourselves with information and factoids, as we skip from website to website, following the next interesting thing that pulls our attention, feeling like we’re missing something if we don’t.
We are used to getting data and information almost instantly and as a consequence are becoming surface thinkers, skimming rather that digging deeper, reflecting and thinking for ourselves.
Take time out from the digital world. Chose to put aside all your digital devices for a day. Open up to the present moment and what it brings you. Re-ignite a hobby. Do nothing. Take a break. Look at something deeply. Your brain will thank you for it, the quality of your day to day life will improve, and your sense of time will expand.
The next Digital Detox Day is on Saturday 19th July and, as well as developing mindfulness skills, we’ll be looking at “clutter”, all the unnecessary stuff that clogs up your life, and how to deal with it. Here’s a link!
PS Emergency phone resuscitation: hold down the ‘home’ button and the ‘off’ button simultaneously – it’s like forcing quit on your laptop. Many thanks to the lady in the Apple store for restoring life to my apparently dead iPhone after my 24 hours of digital detox (which, by the way, was fabulous)