Unplug, Pause, Listen

Staying connected – that’s what it’s all about today, isn’t it? We’re plugged in, keeping in touch, updating, informing, getting informed…….we are obsessed with staying connected.

We have our smartphones practically attached to our bodies which we check and fiddle with incessantly. We have hundreds and thousands of ‘friends’ on Facebook and spend our waking hours liking status updates and photographs and sharing links. We ‘chat’ with people we have never met and give opinions on any and every topic. We ring, tweet, skype, email, text, instant message, post on walls and add each other to circles. We are tagged and notified constantly.

Yes, it would seem that we are eternally connected and even fearful of being out of touch.

Amazing technological advancements made in the past few decades have certainly made our lives better and easier in many ways, but it has also turned our lives into a kind of blur. We live in times where we seemingly just can’t stop talking; where we just can’t stop, period. We are in perpetual fast-forward mode.

The invasion of technology is so all-pervasive that we have lost our solitude or even the thought of solitude. We are completely addicted to the surround sound noise that we no longer have time for that precious ‘silence’ where we can draw a breath and collect our thoughts.

In his book The End of Absence, Michael Harris talks about how modern technology and constant connection has taken certain kinds of absence from our lives, ‘absences’ which have fundamental value in human lives. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. There's no true ‘free time’ when you carry a smartphone. Today's rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your own thoughts.

He also notes that ours is the only generation in history to experience life both with and without the Internet. Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet.

There can be no argument that we have benefited immensely from all the technological advancements. But for all that we’ve gained there’s much that we have also lost.

As our world spins faster and faster and the din gets only louder, solitude and quiet times have become more essential than ever because it is only in such moments that we get the chance to regain perspective; to restore body, mind and soul. It allows us to get back into the driving seat of our own lives, rather than being driven by forces from without.

Activity is the buzz word of the modern world and we indeed live in hyperactive times, but all beings need to rest and heal to bring out the best. When we take time to pause and listen we find ourselves and what is deep and true in our hearts.

Unplug and make time for quiet moments for ‘God whispers and the world is loud’.