The first noble truth cuts right to the core: life is suffering. While the next three explain the journey to acceptance and freedom, returning to accepting the first step is almost hard-coded into our DNA.
Sadly, our immediate evolution (tracked though the pursuit and dependence on technology) hasn’t made this any easier – we all rely, and are almost chained to – our smartphones, and the services they deliver.
Sure, the strongest among us are able to moderate our consumption, but since there’s near total social acceptance of phone use, we are all armed with devices that allow us to not only escape the world around us, but escape ourselves, and our discomfort – and that only makes it easier to scroll endlessly when everyone around you is doing the same, similar to mass disobedience, although it’s mass acceptance.
There are plenty of apps that help you monitor your usage, and the inclusion of parental tools to control and limit our children’s consumption are but a glaring product of how alluring and addictive these devices can be. Using these tools to control time spent on “unhealthy” activities and apps are one thing for those of us too young to know any better, but actually teaching our children (and our selves!) moderation leads to far healthier individuals.
Over half a year ago I removed myself from nearly every social media platform. I maintain a basic Facebook account (where I’ve unfollowed every single person – Sorry Mom) and keep solely to administrate a few business pages. The biggest struggle was the habit of using and browsing instant gratification apps – Instagram, Twitter, etc. Even now, I still occasionally find myself wanting to share a personal triumph, or depend on the world for sympathy when I’m suffering.
Yet ownership of these ups and downs leads to the next stage – indifference. These feelings come and go, in and out, like the breath, and are as dependable as such. Savoring them in the moment, equally, allows us to see the joy in despair, and the underlying sadness below the elation
If any part of this post has struck a chord within you, and you’re eager to start uninstalling apps, canceling accounts, or smashing your phone.. don’t.
Take it slow, try installing some new apps.. Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer. All of these have free content, trial sessions, and guided meditations. Ways to stay plugged in, but to unplug, unwind. They’ll teach you how to take a break from yourself, your habits, and eventually, you’ll learn how to sit with your discomfort, and even find some comfort there.