Living inside the distraction economy
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Silence is golden.
And yet, we trade off distraction.
When was the last time you sat in silence?
Most people would be horrified at the thought of being with their thoughts.
But, living in the moment and understanding who you are, and your true purpose isn’t going to materialise if you don’t carefully listen to what is happening inside and out.
I’m convinced that we have come to a position where people would rather immerse themselves in a flurry of banal activity and noise than they would to listen to their soul. Often, they know something isn’t right but rather than confront it, it’s easier to succumb to a slew of distractions – work, shopping, networking and social media.
People who know me will understand that, at times, I appear introverted (not really so odd for someone who regularly speaks to a large group?). This isn’t because I’m shy but rather I’m trying to hear what’s really going on. If I don’t tune out I find myself entering into a stream of consciousness speak which makes me feel as if I’ve lost control.
I suppose my point is that the more you ingest the less likely it is that you discover who you are.
Just think about the last time you went on holiday or enjoyed a long weekend and the sense of inner peace you experienced. If nothing else, you come back with that sense of being grounded and at one with yourself. And yet we never think we can recreate that experience outside that scenario.
But what if you could?
The thing is if you want to find serenity, joy and happiness you need to unwind some of your schedule and tune out from all the distraction.
I know, as a father of three children, how hard it is to say no. But nowadays I don’t suffer with the same guilt complex when I tell my children I can’t do something with them. I work hard too, and if I don’t give myself space to rebalance my life with a long walk, a cycle ride or space to think, I know that it will affect my relationship with them.
Even if you can’t afford the time every week to take a couple of hours away from the ranch to find peace and stillness, it’s still worth making a space in your day to sit in quiet contemplation. Don’t be afraid to turn off all your distraction-inducing-gadgets and find the time and place to appreciate life.
I know I keep making the point but you don’t know how long you have. I learned the hard way that no matter how fit and active you are, you never know what’s round the corner.
My message is simple: awaken the genius within. That doesn’t just mean awakening your income producing talents or your creative genius. It means opening your mind to a more spiritual way of living.