Our current obsession with instant communication 24/7 has unhealthy consequences. We can never relax. We behave as if addicted to our cell phones. We cannot even be with someone in person without constantly checking for incoming messages from someone who is not.
I recently became aware that many young people literally sleep with their phones, afraid they will miss a text/tweet/email. I would not be surprised if brain scanning via SPECT or functional MRI reveal activation of pleasure centers not unlike what occurs after a mind-altering addictive drug. Perhaps dopamine or other neurotransmitters are released as we increasingly feed our need to stay in touch.
If someone of my generation can feel upset when we leave home without our cell, I can only image how a generation raised on them feel under similar circumstances.
But problems are already arising. Attention to particular tasks is limited. They are continuously being interrupted by the distracting pull to check for messages. A sense of tension and anxiety must arise. Serenity dissolves under the constant secretion of adrenaline and stress cortisol. Multitasking is a true illusion. The mind becomes a ping pong ball and never at peace.
Is there possibly a solution on the horizon? A feel the answer is to seek to step out of the raging torrent of cyber technology. You don't have to seek to connect every moment of the day. Put your phone down. Do something else. Go back to it at intervals. There are no emergencies, no messages from friends or foes which cannot stand to develop some patience. We have created our own hell by demanding immediate responses from others and doing so ourselves.
Perhaps meditation offers hope. Although an ancient spiritual tool it has proven scientific healing abilities. It is an official time out. We sit and purposely do nothing. We are in a state of being rather than doing. We breathe into the solitude we so desperately seek. The world will wait for us to finish and in that state our minds are free. We can observe our breath, witness thoughts and feelings but not be attached to them.
We know that when our meditation is over we will join the torrential flow of our lives. We will miss nothing. But perhaps we will regain something more important–a place of serenity, of sanity.