We’re devoted to our gadgets – that vast array of contraptions to which our gaze is firmly directed.
It is a material technology of bewildering complexity and enchantment through which we evolve our social networks, satisfy our need for diversion and concoct our financial alchemy.
We spend hours and days and weeks without end on these shimmering marvels and meanwhile our inner world, repository of the subjective, the mysterious and the hidden, lies neglected; its voice a muffled whisper beneath the machine drone.
It’s easy to see why we prefer these modern toys. After all, our internal worlds are a complex mix of clamoring thoughts and strong emotions amplified by a default operating system of anxiety and dread. In contrast, our gadgets are relatively straightforward and neurosis free. They also have nice, flashy lights, obey our commands (usually) and get things done quickly.
However, in our frantic rush to board the Techno Nirvana Express, we are abandoning the intuitive, concealed possibilities of our interior landscapes and, in the process, hindering access to true creativity, wisdom and meaning.
As we lose sight of our inner good judgment to the allure of the glittering exterior, it becomes increasingly difficult to navigate change, loss and uncertainty when they inevitably occur. In a world becoming wilder by the minute it is imperative we reclaim a technology of the spirit.
WHAT IS A TECHNOLOGY OF THE SPIRIT?
This technology is as old as it is profound and you may be familiar with many of its exponents including Lao Tzu, the Buddha, Jesus and Confucius. Others who explored the mind’s inner dimensions were the shamans and healers of ancient cultures through their ritual use of visionary plants and by tribal people via rhythmic dancing and drumming. Mystics and yogis used meditation, physical exercises and breath work to explore inner realms.
In the course of these ventures, many spiritual teachers also accessed altered states of consciousness quite different to the rational, logical awareness of everyday life. This shift in focus allowed hitherto unseen insights and wisdom to be brought to conscious awareness.
We’ve travelled far from our interior and we need to return gently. Our more lucid ancestors have left us plenty of instruction and you may like to explore their teaching over time. For the moment, start simply – and there’s nothing simpler than your breath.
WORKING WITH “WHAT IS”.
In the spirit of working with what is (aka reality) rather than fighting it, you can do it right here and right now with whatever gadget you’re holding. The breath is the gateway to inner dimensions and this is because the breath is the truest, most dependable thing we have. It is the bridge between the outer and inner worlds and when we focus on its movement in our bodies we immediately step out of the thinking mind to something deeper: our inner world.
So, by all means send that email, text your friends and enjoy surfing the internet. As long as you remember, every now and then, to come back to your breath. Simply notice your breathing, Nothing more and nothing less. Be aware of your inhale and your exhale. This brings you right back to the present moment, quells anxiety and brings stillness to the mind. If this sounds too simple, that’s because it is.
Reclaiming your inner world can be done one breath at a time and, in the words of Buddha, “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”
You won’t find that on an iPhone app.