We all take daily steps and actions in our lives; many of us do not realize where our consistent steps are actually leading us.
With the fast-pace of the modern world, going within and slowing down often seems counterintuitive, counterproductive, and “down-right wrong”, and yet for most of us, it is the very thing needed.
In this age of digital devices, our nervous systems are flooded with constant streams of information from texts, emails, calls, social media feeds, online communication and notifications of various sorts. In addition, there is the expectation of being instantly accessible from anywhere the world. All of this information and expectation places an immense pressure, namely stress, on our system- mind, body, and emotions. Over time, our bodies and nervous system can only handle so much before it begins to break down from all of the pressure.
With the constant connection to our gadgets and devices, we aid to the growing disconnection with our spirit. Many of us have numbed and lost the inner connection with ourselves, our bodies and with the rhythm of life. In my many years of study and working with people, I consistently find that people are longing for that “the inner connection,” the desire to know the Self. They often try to get the external pieces of their life to show up in a particular way in an attempt to feel that connection with themselves, only to come up disappointed or disconnected. Yet we must go within to find the very thing we seek. So how do we bridge the gap of moving with the fast pace of the world and honoring our needs of going within?
My mentor shares that even though we cannot make the modern world slow down, it is essential that we develop skills and practices to thrive in these times.
Here are just a few simple yet powerful actions we can take to thrive in this digital age:
- Mindfulness: Using Technology as a Tool
We begin practicing to use technology as a tool versus having the tool itself use us. Technology, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. It is all about how we wield it. For many how they wield technology is from a space of unconscious reaction. First, the opportunity is to become aware and without judgment, have an honest reflection with yourself: What are my habits and tendencies when I use technology? Do I use it before bed? First thing in the morning? Where are my mind and my emotions when I am about to engage my device? What was I feeling right before I picked up my phone? By briefly checking in on your habits and tendencies, you are engaging more of a conscious connection with yourself versus running purely on autopilot. This awareness can be a wake up call helping shift from running our life on autopilot alone.
- “Technology-Free” Time
Since technology does not take a break, we have to be the ones who provide our mind and nervous system with a rest. One such rest is giving yourself five minutes of technology-free time five times each day. Use that time to pause, put down electronics and you can take that time to breathe, connect with yourself or others. For others, they ensure phones are nowhere near their bedsides and where they sleep. There are many ways to set boundaries with electronics. The key is to pick something and move forward with it. Notice the difference taking periodic breaks from technology creates.
- Breath of Fresh Air: Walking in Nature
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir In the demands of the modern era, it is becoming imperative to find calm in the midst of the storm. Our breath is a wonderful regulator for our mind and nervous system. Together our breath paired with intentional movement (such as walking, Breathwalk) can aid in connection, centeredness and vitality. When we walk in nature it helps restore our natural biorhythms. Being present with nature can serve as a helpful reset for our minds and nervous system. While walking outside breathe deeply and fully for 10-20 minutes increasing your oxygen levels and inviting yourself to be present in the moment.
In the upcoming Mindful Walking course, we will explore specific mindfulness walking practices for clarity, focus, vitality and for building our connection with ourselves. We will utilize specific techniques from Breathwalk created by Yogi Bhajan and Gurucharan Singh Khalsa to attain these intended effects. I invite you to come, recharge, and revitalize yourself.
If we do not take the time to stop, pause and connect, then we will already know the outcome of our day; it will be predictable. By making even one small mindful change consistently over time, it can become a conscious routine, which if repeated, will become a lifestyle.