A couple of nights ago, I was in the middle of a meditation session when my iPhone alerted me to yet another email.
I had forgotten to silence my notifications.
I immediately transformed from a clear-minded master of Zen to a technology junkie in withdrawal.
Instead of being still, I spent the next 20 minutes obsessing about who may have emailed me, what they might have said and how the world could be ending because I was not available to answer at that exact moment.
Sometimes it seems like technology is our spiritual enemy, distracting us from what is truly important and overloading our thoughts with information and eerily customized ads for a new-and-improved sweat-wicking yoga mat.
We have all experienced moments where we’ve wanted to shatter our laptop or cell phone and bury the pieces deep in the yard, where they will never again interrupt our otherwise peaceful lives. But, in the end, does constantly being connected to the internet really harm us? Or do we simply need to be more thoughtful about how and when we interact with our connected devices?
According to a recent study by HighSpeedInternet.com, Internet connectivity actually has a notably positive effect on happiness levels. They cross-referenced data from the Gallup Healthways Well Being Index with US census numbers on the percentage of a state’s residents who access the Internet from their homes and they found an interesting correlation—analysts concluded that nearly 40 percent of the happiness index score for any given state can be estimated by knowing the Internet access percentage of that state.
Can your happiness really be estimated by what state you live in and whether or not you have Internet access?
Countless studies have confirmed that being connected with others via the Internet is a key factor in happiness and life satisfaction, though not necessarily a determining factor.
It seems that while it is valuable to nurture our online connections, it is at least equally important to make time to unplug, unwind and find our higher selves.
It is up to your judgment whether you choose to ignore or embrace the challenges that accompany our always-advancing technological world. Perhaps the balance lies in actively finding ways to incorporate enlightened technology into our search for mindfulness.
For me it is, thankfully, as simple as reminding myself to turn my mobile on silent before I start my meditations.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Jamie Khoo/Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Marcelo Graciolli/Flickr Creative Commons