Overload

Less input, more stillness

<Time for what seems to be an annual reminder…>

Incoming

We see it all around us: news, alerts, and various other forms of information. It hits us from every angle: getting to us through print, digital, and audio means.

It’s not enough that we face general streams of content flooding our senses. We’ve personalised it, too. We receive customised feeds and notifications on our computers (when we’re working), and phones at pretty much all times (since they’re always with us…always on).

Social media statuses and stories have made everyone a broadcaster. The power is in everyone’s hands. They want to put a message across. Sell something. Share something. Sometimes uplifting. Sometimes informative, or otherwise beneficial. Very often, just amusing…entertaining. And, commonly, pure crap – hoaxes and sensationalised false information trying to elicit a reaction.

Outgoing

Next, we come to what we put out. Our posts and statuses. Our shares and stories.

We crave attention from strangers and physically distant individuals. Every Like…every comment…every reaction…releases something in us. A hit. A temporary high. Short-lived gratification.

We were recognised. We were seen. We were acknowledged. We were praised … commended.

At times, we are challenged. Then starts the argumentation cycle. Sometimes necessary. Sometimes constructive. But often, far from useful.

Chit chat

Even more direct is our personal communication with others. Messages back and forth, at all times of the day and night. We lose focus at work. We damage relationships at home. We ignore those who are physically present with us. We don’t give them the attention they deserve.

What’s more exciting – or a higher priority, at least – is the outside world: those in our boundary-less virtual space.

Disease

It’s hard to stop. And it’s hard to see this for what it is: an addiction. A craving – a compulsion – that none of us asked for, yet it crept into us as we went along with the modern world’s frantic evolution of communication technology.

We see the older generations as backwards. Not with the times. Struggling to operate a BlackBerry, or some other dated relic from the technological dark ages just ten years ago. They’re not constantly communicating. They’re out of the loop.

But they are the wise ones. Who says we need to ‘move with the times’?

The human brain, and heart, was not made for such rampant amounts of input and communication. The deluge that faces us each and every day is unnatural. Unhealthy.

But that’s life. Modern life. Urban life. Probably even rural life – because technology and communication touches all, save a few.

Time out

We connect to everyone and everything else. Constantly. But how often do we connect with the One Who made us? How often can we separate from the world and just be in deep, contemplative solitude with our Creator?

Depending on our faith or lifestyle, we have our daily rituals – prayers, meditations, affirmations, or other practices – in varying amounts. But in those moments, can we really filter out all the noise?

Do the thoughts, sounds, and visions from all we soaked in…all we take in second by second…do they keep playing in our heads even when we superficially disconnect from them?

Can we blank it all out? Can we fully honour those short periods that are supposed to be a sacred space?

Can we truly achieve moments of stillness? And if so, do we get enough of them?

If not, it’s time to truly disconnect and take an honest look at what’s become of us. We probably cannot – and should not – completely discard technology. But we can at least temper our usage so that we can break free of this toxic addiction and come back to a healthy balance – where technology enhances our lives, instead of dominating them.

It’s not an easy task, but it’s necessary in today’s world.

Beware the overload.

You deserve far better.


Though this is a repost (details below), this year, I’ve added a phone wallpaper – which I put together to remind myself of the need to disconnect. Feel free to download, use, and share whichever version works for you:

LessInput_wallpaper_v2            LessInput_wallpaper_v1


(And here’s something interesting on the topic, along with another important reminder about the importance of regulating our inputs.)


This piece appears in my book – Let it Flow – which is available electronically via Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books, Apple Books, Kobo, and more. A print edition is available in South Africa via direct order.

If you’d like to see more, click the image below for a comprehensive sample:

NL_header

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