It’s not as easy finding inner peace these days. A big thanks goes out to our smart devices! Computers make wonderful servants, but wretched masters. We are now surrounded by them, including desktops, laptops, tablets and watches.
They are so versatile that they do the work of a dozen other household items, such as typewriter, newspaper, book, radio, record player and TV. Whereas before, you had to turn off your TV to go to sleep and avoid irritating your neighbors, you now can go 24x7x365, complete with wireless earphones, such as Beats by Dre. At least you have to take off your smart watch to recharge it, but for how long will that still be required?
This goes completely against our biorhythms, and the energy of the program can be dark, or highly negative if we are not careful. We used to hear blaring ads on radio and commercials on TV until we developed remote control. Now, we can easily get sucked in by tempting webinars pitching all kinds of private courses that can run for two hours and all but take your wallet out of your purse or pocket!
We are constantly reminded of the latest news on our iPhone, which we can access with the press of a thumb. Because we have more choice in the matter than before, we can delude ourselves into supposing that we are still in control. The various apps are now so compelling that we can find ourselves getting endlessly sucked in without realizing it.
We even take our devices with us to work and home with us to bed. So we can access the same messages as we awaken by the smart alarm until we retire back in bed with bleary eyes. It is intimidating to switch them off or put them to sleep, as a loved one might call us and suddenly need our help.
If you are crazy about computers, you might have a laptop in your bedroom, a tablet under the lamp and your smart watch recharging within easy reach. It never stops! Getting a life is an alluring phantom that we never seem to grasp.
Why not befriend your devices by mastering them, making them work for you in the background? Use Siri more. You no longer have to type everything. What a cumbersome way to talk! Switch onto soothing channels on Pandora, such as Liquid Mind. Go to YouTube and watch beautiful meditation videos with exotic Zen landscapes or Tibetan bells lulling you to sleep. You can even find holographic sound that can put you into deep states of meditation with your earphones on.
To paraphrase Jesus Christ, “Man (woman) was not made for computers, computers were made for Man (woman).” Jesus went on in the Gospel of John to suggest that out of your belly, or innermost being, shall flow rivers of living water. Many modern masters, such as Maharishi and Sri Ramakrishna, compare us to waves of the ocean. All you need do is dive deep within, below the surface, to find complete and utter calm.
All of our spiritual traditions assume the ability to go within. The giant cathedrals in Europe were designed for largely illiterate congregations to be caught up in divine majesty, reflected in gorgeous stained glass windows, much like a spectacular light show. You could then kneel down, close your eyes and listen to exquisite Gregorian chant, or a choir accompanied by a huge pipe organ in the elevated language of Latin.
Until the last hundred years or so, forests and wilderness areas were widely available throughout the earth. They have a wonderful relaxing effect when you step into them, presenting a chorus of birds chirping and chattering, including the hoots of the nighttime owl (my friends).
Even in the face of deforestation and soil erosion, we can find urban parks in most cities where we can begin to get into synch with creation. It is remarkable, for example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, to drive down near the water, and drive up the hills in counties like Marin to find a magical world, such as the matchless shrine of Muir Woods, with its thousand-year-old redwood trees.
You can retreat into an urban park with your device in your pocket, only in sleep mode. You can instruct your iPhone to only let urgent calls through. You can arrive at a decision to only check the news once a day, and only look at your email (and other social platforms) once a day on the weekend.
You can go to an Apple Store and seek advice at the Genius Bar on how to make your computers and devices your best friend, rather than your worst enemy. Apple Inc. is one of the few technology companies in the world that was conceived in humanistic terms. The Macintosh was consciously designed by the early 1980’s team to be a computer “even your mother could use.” They have since implemented environmental controls in their devices, including optimizing energy usage. They have special interfaces for the visually impaired.
Apple has also opened up the gateway to play and creativity. Use it to your advantage… to relax…for example. The latest iPads are designed to be used with the Apple Pencil that can let you draw with multicolored Zen brush strokes.
Along with Apple’s own iLife suite, they now are incorporating new software from both Microsoft and Adobe with which you draw on, as well as talk to, the iPad. You also have the option of using an ultrathin snap-on keyboard when you need to type…even though their onscreen keyword can work wonders in most cases.
The final hurdle in finding inner peace in the face of increasing numbers of smart devices is arriving at your own decision to consciously tune into the present moment, to enjoy what is happening right in front of you, more than listening to music, reading books or playing video.
Vipassana meditation is extremely popular today, encouraging people to walk and act consciously. Feel free to play this great video with guided vipassana meditation: “watching the process of thinking rather than getting involved with the content of thoughts”:
When you are outside, running errands or involved in any other daily routine you can break it by saying silently (or out loud), “Now I am lifting my fork. Now I am putting the food into my mouth. Now I am chewing my food. Now I am gazing at the people surrounding me in Starbucks.” While this might seem imbecilic, many of us are so out of touch with the way it used to be as little children that this can help us find immediate peace.
Finally, simply breathing deeply, alternating your nostril when you are sitting down, or using bellows breath when you are cross-legged in yoga, will definitely cut down your mental chatter. You need take as few as four deep breaths at a time to do the trick, to come home to whom you truly are.
Master your ‘outer brain’ by not allowing it to take over and shadow your inner world. This should be your first step in the inner peace searching process.