Watching an advert recently, I marvelled at the young woman walking in a beautiful, seaside setting, her attention riveted on her tablet screen, oblivious to the world around her. I was particularly struck by how this was supposed to be an ad promoting such devotion to the digital. It seems that our attachment to screens, social media, the internet has come at a price and that price is being able to appreciate what’s happening right here right now. Apparently we instinctively check our mobile phones every six minutes throughout the day, on average. What effect does this constant distraction and lack of digital discipline have on us?
The impact of technology has brought with it a significant revival in interest in mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness and meditation promote a focus and attention to the here and now, to the breath, that is as opposite to that state of restless online anxiety as is possible to feel. Mindfulness can be seen as an enquiry for objectivity, to regain some control over the demands technology makes of us: a powerful tool in creating an invaluable bit of space and perspective.
So maybe the next time you find yourself caught up in a fruitless search for digital stimulation and satisfaction, perhaps mindfulness is worth a thought. It’s emphasis on exploring the sensory experience of being alive, rather than the superficial sensations of being online, may help you to understand what it is you are truly seeking.