Well gee, no surprise last week to hear Australian media reporting that the top reason for GP visits in this country is now Depression and anxiety, replacing coughs, colds and back-pain as the most common reasons for people to consult their doctor. I`ve long wondered whether excessive smartphone usage would eventually tip people into a funk and lead to malaise and poor mental and spiritual health. As the old adage goes, with the gift comes the curse and smartphones are probably no exception.
A central tenet of mindfulness and spiritual well-being is being present. Buddhists, Taoists, yogis, the ancient and indigenous cultures and all the great and wise spiritual teachers universally extol the benefits of staying present to the now moment. They emphasize that this simple practice of mindfulness – conscious awareness – underpins the robustness of our spiritual and mental health yet when I see people all around me buried in their tiny screens they seem anything but present.
Reflexively checking your smartphone is just more distraction and diversion. Each time you check your messages, your newsfeed, your Apps you are no longer in stillness, no longer in a space of neutrality and peacefulness, no longer in a state of BEING. The compulsion to pursue data of any kind keeps you divorced from presence which in turn leads to a feeling of being ungrounded. Anything that actively separates you from the present moment could be described as an energy leak. Any activity, noise or mind-state that you unconsciously use as a buffer from existential angst represents a split away from the flow of the now moment and causes life-force energy or prana to seep out from the lower Chakras while mental over-stimulation can close or cloud the beautiful Third Eye Chakra.
Spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle says the greatest addiction of mankind is the human mind and compulsive thinking. According to Tolle all humans are addicts to their unconscious, excessive, superfluous thinking which then defines their identity. It could well be argued that smartphones enable this addiction because data overload stimulates excessive thought activity so there is no ability and no space to access deeper moments.
I`ve heard it said that social media is to blame for the widespread angst in society today because it feeds the syndrome of Compare And Despair. Maybe that`s true but I can`t help feeling that it is the action of gazing intently into that little five inch screen that is way more damaging. Each time you peer into your smartphone you`re being pulled into a state of sensory contraction, contracting your field and closing you down because you are no longer available to the here and now. The Phone People (those constantly immersed in their screens especially while walking or when sitting in a restaurant or cafe) appear to be in a compressed state of consciousness and quite separate from the physical world. They seem to be in a state of lack because clearly this moment is not enough for them. Ironically they seem detached, incomplete and somehow impoverished because they`re missing all the detail, the richness, the minutiae and all the creative potential of the real, material world in this very moment.
When you are present you`re able to access the frequencies of the Sixth Dimension and the magic of synchronicity and grace. You gain a sense of the strand of interconnectedness that links us all, and the matrix of connection and benevolent support of the Higher realms. When you are fully present and available to the here and now you`re able to deeply appreciate the perfection of this moment. Conversely, excessive smartphone usage is like a trapping mechanism that keeps the Phone People separate from Universal connective flow and the sense of spiritual connection.
It`s a healthy choice to limit your time on your smartphone. Seriously, do you really need to be that available, that connected? And does the prevalence of social media and the Apps represent real connection or is it all delusion? It feels to me like we` ve been sold a great big digital illusion of faux-connection.
Take the smartphone challenge and leave the thing at home today. Can you do it? Can you leave home without your phone? Reclaim your time, assert your boundaries and feel the liberation.
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