Smart Phone, Dumb Mind (Part 1)

(Illustration by Peter Oumanski for TIME)

With a distraction device barely ever out of our hands, our thoughts caught in the “net” and spiraling down a never-ending scroll-hole, have we stopped to realise how the workings of our minds have suffered as a result? Do we not understand that being so externally connected is damaging the relationship we have with our inner selves? In turn, how can we connect to God, if first, we are not even connected to ourselves?

During the day, we fall into a sleep-like state in front of our phones, letting images and words be drip-fed into our minds. No longer is our consciousness in the driving seat but we are being commanded by notifications instead. Even when it hasn’t made a noise, we touch our phone constantly just to see how it’s doing, like checking in on our little “baby”. It accompanies us everywhere (even to the bathroom!) and never leaves our side. It tucks us into bed at night, and is the first thing we reach for in the morning.

Why?

Because our minds are hungry and require input. We are “Thinking Machines”, and like Pac-Man, thoughts are food for the mind. I have found myself reaching for the phone after a tiring day, wanting to lose myself, to not think. Just like being in front of the TV, or mellowing with a glass of red wine, I would feel my mind zonk out. As if I wanted to numb the thinking part of me. By replacing our internal dialogue with an external one – reading, listening or watching youtube videos – I realised we haven’t really stopped thinking but instead we are essentially thinking other people’s thoughts and replacing our own inner voice with theirs. We are just filling our mind with a whole load of external noise and instead of uploading our own thoughts, we are downloading the thoughts of others. Not only are smart phones distraction devices, but they have also become our “thinking” devices.

Staring down this bottomless pit of never-ending information where “free will” is given full reign, our minds have become addicted to this “junk food” diet, craving this constant stream of information and stimulation. It is brain candy and we are standing in a virtual candy store. As a result, our minds are becoming obese, sluggish and lazy. No longer do we exercise ourselves with our own wholesome healthy deep thoughts like a hamster on a wheel. Instead our hamster is a big slob lying down on an escalator. Taking the easy way out. Our own thoughts have become a bit of a chore and we are dumbing down our minds.

Nowadays, we just think the “superficial hum-drum bare minimum” way of thinking to keep each day afloat – like food shopping, cooking, taking care of our kids, work tasks, paying bills, our plans for the next day or weekend. Going through the motions of life. With our thoughts being so close to the surface like this and our minds being externally connected to this world, what has happened to our internal world? Where are our deep philosophical and spiritual thoughts? After all, this is what sets mankind apart. The fact that we are thinkers, ponderers, questioners, explorers, inventors. Inventions didn’t magically appear, they came from ideas which were produced from deep thinking and questioning. Imagine if Leonardo da Vinci had a smart phone. There is an inner kingdom to be explored within, but thanks to our smart phone generation, we are gravely neglecting it. We now view boredom as a forbidden territory, although, once-upon-a-time-not-so-long-ago, it was this boredom that forced us as children to let our imaginations run wild.

I once read a Facebook post where the writer was desperate as his phone was about to die on his long train journey. I wrote a response “What about having a think? It’s far more enjoyable”. Remove the constant entertainment and distraction. Boredom is the gateway to our inner kingdom. Thinking is not a chore! It’s the key to getting to know ourselves. Thinking is talking to yourself, bouncing ideas in-wards and fishing for never-ending inspiration. We have forgotten the joy of deep thinking and how to unlock the unlimited possibility and thought process we hold within ourselves. To ignore it is to ignore ourselves and it stunts our inner growth and spiritual identity. There’s a beautiful buzz from swimming in your pool of pondering thoughts and diving deep down into your consciousness. Answers rise up from the bottom like air bubbles and ideas continually jump up to be caught like fish.

Put the phone away.

Sit down.

Think.

Don’t you want to hear what you have to say?

How are we to ever connect with our Creator, when we are so very disconnected from ourselves.

……………………………….

How I kicked my Smart Phone Habit:  2nd part: “Dumb Phone, Smart Mind
……………………………….

 

You’d might also like to read:

Inception: My ponderings on Dreams and Sleep 

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