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Sunday, May 22, 2016

The threat of inconvenience



Welcome to the modern industrialized age! Are you enjoying your stay?
Are you partaking in the technological advancements that has made our lives so much more easier and stress free? Are you in awe with how easy we have it compared to the generations before us?

If you aren't in awe, what is the deal?
We can conveniently tap a few buttons the computers we keep in our pockets and request a ride or even a delivery. We can command someone to pick up some organic milk without knowing who the person is or who and what it took to milk the cow.

What if our precious app or device isn't working correctly?
We get frustrated.
We have wired ourselves for short fuses and we haven't really noticed it.
We get mad at inanimate objects and forget the promising virtue of patience.
We have been promised instant gratification and now we expect that. We expect these technological advancements to be at our service all the time with little to no flaws. To quote Freddie Mercury, " We want it all and we want it NOW!"

We gravitate to places that have accessible WiFi. We want to always be connected ( at least in any way that prevents us from being alone from our thoughts ). We want to always be ready for something to happen or to change courses at the flick of a wrist. We have outsourced our memories and cognition to external devices. We all closer to being more like cyborgs than humans. Some would say we have already reached that point, I agree.

We absorb content as if it were water and have it pass through us as if it was a ghost.
We want the easy to digest, to the point, attention grabbing, manipulative content that perpetuates our continuous relationship with the "feed". 

There it is inviting you... at the tip of your fingers.
Those seasons of that one show on Netflix  allows you to become comfortably nostalgic on your tempting couch. 
That painting you wanted to finish....can certainly wait (?)

What happens when the power goes out and we lose that digital connectedness that permeates our lives? 

Some of us might panic. When we fall into a routine of material and technological dependency, we move farther from the principles and authenticity of our true being. The mind wants us to be busy. Our phones and our screened devices certainly do a great job of removing us from the present moment and allows us to escape into a world of dopamine rushes and echo chambers. This might be one of the best times to be alive to access things that our ancestors could never had dreamed of. Does that make us better off? Does that connect us to the human race and elevate our collective consciousness? These questions are important to consider in determining the utility and ubiquity of technology today.

In this age of convenience, the threat of "inconvenience" becomes daunting and disorienting.
Are all these conveniences make us feel more dependent on the technologies we use?
Do we feel empty or agitated when we lose access or are stripped away from our devices?

 -------When you are in public and forget your phone in the car, do you panic?

We are familiar with the anxiety of losing things of great importance. It feels even worse when our " technical appendage" is not within arms reach. We feel that "need" for it. We feel that withdrawal. The mind panics and wants to go back to being gratified and stimulated. We can learn from this. Listen to what it is saying without resisting. We can use that moment of withdrawal and panic to reconnect with the present. Reconnect with our breath. Reconnect with the stillness inside of us that does not care about posting where we are at that very moment. 

Where is the spontaneity and the ability to create creative action from the unplanned and the unseen?
Do we need a backup plan? Do we need to be prepared? Have we become too comfortable?


Humans gravitate towards comfort. This comfort often has us fall into habits and behaviors that we tend to overlook. We want the instantaneous pleasure and the escape from compulsive thought and anxiety. The mere thought of our cars or phones breaking down could throw us in a tail spin. These unseen circumstances are not happening to us, they are happening for us. The things we see as inconveniencing us are more opportunities than hindrances. These instances force us to be creative, more present and aware of what is important to us. When we disconnect from our devices, we can truly reconnect with ourselves and the relationships to others.

Instead of becoming Amish, we can see how technology impacts our lives. In what way does it affect our goals and priorities? In what way does it make us dependent? In what ways does it distract us from our most important relationships?

Conveniently Inconvenient

We can become conveniently inconvenient, where we can go out of our way and step out of our routines. This doesn't mean inconveniencing others. This means consciously inconveniencing your self to reprogram how you react to certain circumstances.

Craving fast food? Normally, you might find yourself going after work after a long day because you expelled most of your glycogen in your brain for the day. Statistically, people make worse decisions towards the end of the day. Instead of going to get fast food without really "thinking" about it, you can make a conscious effort to do the opposite of what you normally. Go out of your way ( within a reasonable distance ) and find a grocery store. Go inside and improvise. Some of the best things arise from the elasticity of the mind and willingness to flow with the moment and what the situation presents to you.

Embrace the broken mug as an opportunity to shift your perspective. Take that broken ceramic piece and put it in a garden or next to an uncanny object. Take the rest of the broken mug  and fill it with soil. Plant a flower or a vegetable. Or take that broken mug and put a candle in it. Have the wax drip down the crevice and onto the shelf. Normally, you would have gotten mad or sad at the broken mug, but you made the conscious choice this time to do something creative!

Let us reprogram our brain and make it a habit.
If we stop being aware,
We will still be chasing the rabbit. 

Out of all of this madness,
We may go off our tracks,
But in the midst of this storm.
There is the opportunity and amazing potential.


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