The Biggest Mistake You Commit With Your Smartphone
The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps," muses American scholar Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is because man is disunited with himself." This is a sentiment echoed by Pangea, a concept that fuels its drive to create transformational experiences for people to develop a sense of wholeness through authentic connection with the self and the world.
It is increasingly becoming a challenge to foster this deep connection as a plethora of elements involved in daily modern life are continuously misused, particularly the technology of the internet and social media. On its own, technology is not deterministic. It can be a force for good or bad. However, with mindless interaction and obsessive-compulsive habits, it has turned into a trap for many that drains awareness, productivity, and a sense of self and community.
There is indeed big room for improvement. Yoga teacher Amanda Wilkins advocates a better relationship between people and technology and suggests scheduled digital detoxes to ground the self and fully experience life.
"People are missing out on human connection by being on their phone and on the internet all the time,” she explains. “We all experience the same sorrows and joys of life and we need unity in community to remember our true nature. To be fully present with yourself first sans devices brings a sense of wholeness. Then, to share in that presence with another being creates magic and brings us back to unity consciousness."
She further states that continuous misuse leads to a deep disconnection from the human experience. People forget that everything and everyone is connected and thus "We risk falling into the illusion of separation."
To add to the divide, there is also the matter of unhealthy mental patterns that mindless use of technology breeds. Amanda finds that the more people are addicted to technology, the more distracted and anxious they become.
And this is not a hard observation to make. In the streets, how many times do you bump into a person mindlessly tapping away on her or his phone? How many hours pass by as you check all your social media accounts? How many problems could you have solved, or more productive things could you have done if you were not on the internet completely checked-out and looking at the highlights of the lives of other people, sometimes succumbing and forgetting that all of that is not real?
There has got to be a better way to interact with these devices. Amanda shares her ideas and encourages everyone to develop healthier habits involving technology. "A healthy relationship with anything in the external world has boundaries. I think if we hold ourselves accountable to using tech to help and connect to each other then there can be massive benefits to this aspect of reality. Self-discipline in a loving way is an incredible tool to create a better relationship with our technology."
As a yoga teacher, Amanda's day is filled with offline activities that helps her stay present and indulge in things that lead towards growth. She recounts, "My typical day consists of an Ayurvedic-inspired morning routine, breath work, meditation, and Sanskrit chanting practice, as well as reading and journaling. Depending on the day, I teach various public and private yoga classes all around San Diego. I also offer Reiki energy healing sessions, sound healings, cacao ceremonies and bi-weekly Kirtans. Creating through the moving meditation of yoga and the magic of mantra music is a massive part of my daily life."
But no one is immune to technology. It is integral to modern life, so when it is time to be on her phone, Amanda makes a point of keeping her habits in check. "Personally, during my morning and evening routine, I am not on my phone for the first hour after waking and the last hour or two before bed. This creates better sleep patterns, more space for spiritual practice, and a healthy relationship with technology. To encourage this, I put my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ or airplane mode during these times, as well as leaving my phone in the living space while I sleep and turning off the phone completely." These are habits that will definitely benefit everyone who chooses to use technology rather than be used by it.
Amanda certainly knows her technology and its proper place in her life. After all, she had both hands immersed in the world of technology when she previously worked for Apple before becoming a yoga teacher. "I moved into a creative role once working with Apple and deeply enjoyed sharing my knowledge training others. My time with Apple was extremely fulfilling - I connected with amazing individuals. The diversity celebrated in the company brings me great joy. Apple also enabled my transfer to move across the country from Boston, Massachusetts when I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of living in California post-university."
But she says she never particularly dreamt of working in the tech industry and instead simply wanted to help others. This desire to send ripples of positivity into the world made shifting to a career in yoga come naturally. "I took my first yoga class at the age of 12, feeling intuitively called to attend - I fell in love instantly and in high school committed to a daily practice. I taught informally throughout college as my desire to share the practice naturally blossomed. As my passion for yoga as a lifestyle transformed my own life, I knew it was time to dive deeper into the teachings so that I could share these timeless practices."
Amanda adds that yoga gives her joy and a sense of purpose, something that is hard to obtain when you are filling your life with random things from the internet. She says, “My vision is to light up the world with love through the teachings of yoga and the magic of mantra music. And with that love, I wish for all beings to remember their true essence nature of absolute divinity in perfect wholeness."
This circles back to the concept of awareness, to the importance of being mindful and living in the moment. When used thoughtfully, technology is a powerful tool for self-improvement; but mindlessly, it is an insidious agent for harmful disconnect and isolation that does not help anyone grow or self-actualize.
Wholeness and unity are elemental to a good life. It can only come when people are present and conscious of what they do and are not trapped in a make-believe world inside a glass box. The cost of technology addiction is high: you are missing out on life.
Learn more about Amanda and her work here or send her a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are ready to reset your life and create a healthier relationship with technology, discover this holistic retreat with digital detox in magical Bali.