Two couples sit on the couch next to me at my new favourite cafe overlooking rice paddies. They’re busy, they’re hashtagging.
“Babe should I post this? It’s two monkeys. I’m gonna hashtag #hairy hashtag #scary hashtag #brothers”
What do you think? It’s funny eh?”
She agrees, not looking up from her iPhone, but makes suggestions on one of the hashtags while clicking on all the couples photos on her Instagram feed.
Meanwhile stalker Featherstone over here is typing furiously on my nearly battery-less phone. Granted I used the battery talking to friends at home on FaceTime, but I’m no better. The minute I sit down at a cafe, my phone is out to say gidday.
Have I heard from BGC? What is he doing, I wonder. He’s being the usher at a friend’s wedding in NZ so he’s too busy looking good in a suit to entertain me. Normally I’d be texting him by now.
So I sit and stalk the couple immersed in their social media based conversations.
Our phones are changing our brains, our conversations, our relationships, and worst of all our experiences.
Very few people stand and look at a beautiful view anymore.
Rare is it to find a view where there’s not a selfie stick in the way of the view, in fact.
Which means that very few people get to experience awe, or even joy on as regular basis as we could.
Our phones are the perfect medium by which to start experiencing the world only on the level of form – the level of mind – while completely missing our sensory/ emotional experience.
And then we wonder why we’re all so bored with life even despite being more affluent than any generation before us.
I believe that the advent of the smartphone is to blame for so many of us feeling so numb, so lost, and so unfulfilled.
In fact I’m pretty sure it’s why my Bloody Good Life courses are so popular. We’re losing our sense of self to our Facebook Insta Snap Chat selves, we’re feeling numb and looking for better answers.
Of course we can’t feel anything anymore, when our minds gain the kind of momentum required to be constantly flicking between mental to do lists and notification checking, there’s very little room left for us to experience reality. All we hear is a rapid, ever changing dialogue in our head. Which tends towards negativity. And all we feel is an undercurrent of meh.
This is why learning mindfulness is now more imperative than ever.
If you want to feel joy. If you want to re-find your sense of self. If you want to have the sense that you know who you are and where you’re going.
Mindfulness is about relearning these other two languages that we speak but have forgotten in the face of the digital age of sprinty-mind.
We have to relearn the languages of internal sensation (emotions, pain, muscular senses, proprioception, exteroception and interoception, our gut instincts) and external perception (our 5 senses – touch, taste, smell, sound and sight.)
If we really tune into the many languages we speak we’d never be bored and we’d never be dissatisfied or discontent.