Take a technology break to nourish your soul

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Spirituality is about connection: with oneself, with spirit and with a community. Technology often gives the illusion of true connection. While online conversations involve the regular exchange of words, photos and snapshots of individual lives, the filter of technology can be a poor substitute for offline relationships. Anecdotal evidence shows that regular online users do not feel uplifted by their experience; it can increase their fluctuations in mood and damage personal self-esteem. Many continue to feel emotionally drained, physically exhausted and spiritually empty, even after sustained periods of engagement with online friends, family, co-workers and community groups.

“Unplugging” is a colloquial term for breaking away from smartphones, emails, social networks and all other “advanced” platforms that offer quick, unsatisfying interaction with the human community. Taking time out, when planned and executed appropriately, can enhance an overall feeling of spiritual engagement. Physical health, emotional well-being, and intuitive growth can all result.

Engage with silence

Silence is a complex term. Few places on earth are completely silent; but by removing the online distractions and unnecessary offline media such as television, music and even the written word, one can reengage with the sounds of the earth. Connection with nature is achieved by simple acts, like going for a walk in a green space, sitting next to natural water or gardening in the backyard.

Spiritual practitioners often encourage engagement that goes one step further, to the realm of stillness. This reduces physical and mental stress. It is also the gateway to a deep connection with spirit, through formal practices such as meditation, prayer and the recitation of spiritual mantras. Stillness offers a “time-out” away from the concerns, worries and to-do lists of day-to-day life, so one can reinforce the inherent value of being human and appreciate the blessings of existence.

Experience body movement

Technology is designed for ease of use, which often results in a lack of physical movement; but the body is designed for mobility. Taking steps away from the computer or tablet towards mindful physical activity can help the body achieve its potential. Options such as yoga or tai chi classes that encourage positive energy flow through the body increase health and vitality. They also have a spiritual component that encourages practitioners to look within and appreciate the present moment.

Know your neighbor

Prayer is a fulfilling solitary activity, but it is also one of the best ways to become spiritually engaged with other members of the human race. An offline faith community can provide a sincere connection many people seek. The engagement can be as simple as having coffee with another person who is spiritually inclined or attending worship services.

While private reflection is an important component of stillness, a further benefit of unplugging is developing deeper relationships with other people by looking at them in the eyes and returning their smiles.

Spiritual practitioner Julie Haber, M.Div. says that as a result of pervasive technology, “[M]ost of us don’t take the time to turn our attention inward and think about what we really need.” In order to progress in a meaningful way through life, therefore, it may be necessary to shut down the devices and contemplate what one really needs to grow and evolve.

 

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