It is vital to set boundaries between you and the virtual world, points out JAYA ROW, making a case for quality offline time as well
Technology is incredible. It has conferred huge benefits in every aspect of life. During the current Covid-19 crisis it has enabled us to work from home, connect with people across the world, and even party from home! The digital world has taken over our lives.
However, being able to unplug and have some time away from the screen has its advantages. It energises you and keeps you more in touch with the real world. Digital detox is time spent away from e-devices — away from smartphones, television, computers, tablets and social media sites, for example. It is a way to focus on real-life social interactions without distractions.
Why do we need to do a digital detox? Technology and the urge to be connected all the time is stressful. Electronic devices are known to disrupt sleep. Yet, people spend an hour or more on social media in bed, instead of going to sleep. Constant connectivity affects work-life balance. Social comparison makes you more discontented than you already are.
You think others have a better, more exciting life when you see posts on Facebook and Instagram. Driven by FOMO, ‘fear of missing out’, you are hooked to your devices all your waking hours. Digital time takes away from healthy interactions with family.
Taking some time away from the digital world does not mean total separation from devices. It is setting boundaries and making sure they benefit you, rather than harm you. Limit your device usage especially during meal times, while working, when you are with friends or family, and before you go to sleep. Turning off notifications and keeping the phone on silent or airplane mode helps.
Use the time that is freed from e-pursuits, constructively. Include a daily slot for exercise, indoors as well as outdoors. Substitute your time on the phone with reading a book at bedtime as this relaxes and induces sleep. Listen to music rather than watch something. Spend time with yourself, away from people and gadgets. Cultivate a hobby like cooking, singing, or painting.
The crucial point is — are you a slave to e-devices or are you in command over them? Shift mastery from the object to yourself. This is done with the use of the intellect. The intellect should be the boss of your personality, not the whims and fancies of your mind or the cravings of your senses.
Develop the intellect. The intellect can help us triumph over the inner world as well as the external. Invest in self-improvement, self-development and self-enrichment. It will pay rich dividends. Remove internal roadblocks that stand in the way of your growth. Some people have temper tantrums, others are lazy, and still others are indisciplined. Address these issues. Everyone is obsessed with their selves. Thought of self is the single most devastating obstacle in everyone’s life. We are using technology to further sink in it. Expand your mind to include the well-being of others as well. Step out of your comfort zone to help alleviate the suffering of the less privileged.
Find your passion. Is it music, business, sport? Pursue it with enthusiasm, perseverance and devotion. Shift your focus from profiteering to offering, from grabbing to giving. Espouse a cause beyond your selfish, self-centred interests. You will wake up every morning with creative ideas. You will work with energy and dynamism, and prosperity will be showered on you.
Listen to uplifting music. Shake off negative feelings and the emotional baggage that weighs you down. Examine your state of mind. Are you irritable, hateful, quick to pounce on people for the slightest mistake? This is a sign of an imbalance within. Substitute this with positive feelings. You will feel lighter and happier.
Be aware of all that has been bestowed on you, the privileges you are privy to. Be grateful for them. Say a big Thank You to that unseen, unknown Power that has given you so much. Abundance or deprivation is a state of mind and has no connection with your material assets. You could be among the richest people in the world and still feel deprived. On the other hand, a content person, even if living in a slum may feel totally blessed.
The world and all that it offers is transient, temporary, comes and goes. Seek the permanent in and through the passing phenomena. Only then will you be truly secure. And you will enjoy the world. You will be in the world, yet independent of it.
Thus, when you have a mission in life, you have no time for devices. You use them for your benefit, not your downfall. With internal enrichment and the benefits of technology, you become an incredibly successful person. You are in balance and happy. And you grow to your potential. ■
Join the weekly webinars on Bhagwad Gita by Jaya Row every Saturday 6.30 - 7.30 pm. Register at www.vedantavision.org/gita