Above is a short clip of an interview with John Mcafee (of Mcafee Security fame). His words have never been truer.
I’ve touched upon this before. Presence. Honoring the person you choose to be with.
But I haven’t spoken about our own slavery. This is something I think about daily, not only in my own observations of those around me, but also my observations of myself. The almost irresistible pull to log on and scroll and scroll…
We build our own prisons.
Prisons of the mind. Prisons of our decisions. Prisons of our habits. Prisons of our jobs. Prisons of our bodies. Prisons of our social circle.
We are responsible for who and what we surround ourselves with.
The allure of a 5 inch screen vs. the infinite vastness and depth of looking around us. It honestly blows my mind. What is the draw to something so small? Is it that we can search and “find” whatever it is that comes to mind? A quick escape into an illusion that totally ignores the potential and possibility of our real life surroundings. “But this scene is so familiar”. “There’s nothing to look at”. “I’m bored”.
Then it’s likely you lack resourcefulness. It’s likely that you’re robbing yourself of ingenuity and curiosity. Of creation. Of imagination.
A big component of mindfulness is observing the moment and exploring the senses. What does the air smell like? What are the colors present in the settings around me? How do they compliment, reflect or contrast each other? How does the wind feel on my skin? Are there people present? Who are these people – how do they move and interact with one another and the environment?
I could watch people all day. Matter of fact sometimes I do just that. How wonderful it is that we are all so different. Each person carries themselves differently – how they walk , how they speak, their mannerisms, their postures, their facial expressions. What a rich environment – observing human behavior.
We miss out on this as we crank our necks downwards to stare at a little screen, oftentimes acquiescing little dopamine hits as we post, like, and so on in hopes that someone on the other side of a screen somewhere else will love us.
The thing is, that this “love” is fleeting. It’s here and it’s gone. We need more. Then more. Where is the risk? Donde esta la vulnerability? How raw can I even be typing this right now?
You know what is an even more powerful medium?
Speaking with someone face to face. Feeling their energy. Hearing my voice crackle as I stumble in my words. Hearing the emphasis and tonality I put into my message when the flow begins and I’m speaking from my soul and being.
These are things you cannot mimic with bold, italics and underlines. Sure, it’s possible to get an overall point across, but how deeply can you penetrate without the rawness of an actual human being?
Perhaps one sitting across from you right now at dinner, whom you choose to intermittently ignore each moment a vibration or ding arises on the device you choose to keep on the table.
Side note: this something I’ve learned to see as a red flag in any relationship – romantic, friendship, business. If we have decided to share a meal, something I consider sacred, “breaking bread,” and you choose to leave your phone on the table, I take notice. I notice that we’re doing each other a disservice. It’s apparent I’m not worth your time, energy and focus. And you may not be worth my words. The device is a distraction from me to you and you to me. It’s a barrier. Are we not here together, now?
The past few years, and even the past few months have been a major learning experience of who I decide to spend my time with and dedicate energy to. Some I’ve cut out completely while others I’ve cut down to periodic meetings/hangouts.
Our time is valuable and forever fleeting. We’re never promised more time, or guaranteed anything of the sort. It’s more rare than anything we can imagine, and no amount of wealth can buy more. I need to honor this moment the best I can with true intentions and true presence.
If we’ve ever been together and I’ve been aloof in Internet Land, please forgive me. That’s not the signal I wanted or intended to send.
So I’m learning. This learning never ends. I’ve wasted a lot of time – both my own and others as well. Something we’ll never get back. For that, I’m sorry.
I demand better of myself each moment that comes and passes. I truly believe that we are here to serve each other independently and interdependently. This is different, larger than sending a “like” your way. This is about connection and understanding. I wish I could describe the importance and power of this, but that would undermine it’s utility.
So next time you’re with someone, anyone, give them you. Watch that echo inward, deep into the fibers of your being and at the same time back into the ripples of the cosmos.