We are living in a time that offers us countless ways of escaping reality. And while clicking on headlines on the internet might not be as taboo or destructive as an opium habit, it is still a form of distraction that steals us away from our real lives and eats away at time we could be spending with ourselves, our loved ones, and the natural world.
Spend Less Time Online
I am not writing this article as some catchy ironic gimmick. I do appreciate hearing that people have read something on this blog that has inspired them. But I honestly wish that more people would spend less time online and inhabit their true lives once again. So to share that message I’m taking time from my own real life to to remind all those that come across this message to wake up and rejoin reality. So now, without further ado, here are four reasons you shouldn’t read articles online:
#1. You will not improve your life, your health, your intellect, or your happiness by clicking on internet links. You will not get a healthy, strong body by reading bite-sized articles on fitness and nutrition, nor will you live up to your potential by reading a self-improvement blog. Real changes in your life only happen in the three dimensional world.
#2. You are not likely to learn anything of value. Many internet articles are weak efforts at capturing your attention long enough so that you can be exposed to advertising. They state the obvious (the next reason is an example of this), regurgitate information that others have already shared, and create content out of hardly any substance. Odds are that the “news” is full of information that is just going to add clutter to your mind and expose you to horrible things that you could have avoided exposure to. If you hadn’t read it, most likely it would have had absolutely no affect on your life, but because you read it, the content is now affecting your thoughts. Yes, there is suffering in the world, but you aren’t doing anything to improve our situation as human beings by browsing the internet.
#3. You are going to die. You are most likely completely aware of this, but it’s still good to remind yourself of this fact fairly often. Knowing that we have a limited amount of time can help us chose to spend it wisely. Every minute you spend on the internet is a minute you didn’t live your real life. You’ve hit the pause button but the clock is still counting down. You aren’t dead yet so get up and get back on the field.
#4. You could be doing something better. Free yourself from the screen and do something that inspires you. Drink a cup of coffee or tea and try not to think about anything that is not physically present at that very moment, no reading, no planning, no remembering . . . just the sensation of the cup in your hands, the taste of your drink, the view in your field of vision, the feeling of inhabiting your own body. What does it feel like to just sit by yourself? Is there loneliness? Anxiety? Fear? Was the time spent online a distraction from something uncomfortable to face, or is it relaxing or even blissful to just sit and observe? Follow the white rabbit and explore what it is like to just be you, unplugged.
Or go for a walk and see what you can notice. At dusk in the summertime there are dozens of huge dragonflies racing just over people’s heads in town, yet most people are completely unaware of them as they walk down the street. Or write a letter to someone you’d like to stay in touch with. Letter writing is becoming a lost art, yet the process of deciding what is worth sharing, and taking the time to write the story by hand, gives us a chance to consider what is most meaningful in our lives and to share that in a private, personal way. The options are endless, but even the simplest activity can pull you back into the real world we inhabit.
As we gaze at our devices, many of which are marked with a symbol of fruit, is this another story unfolding of humans falling from grace? Are we exposing ourselves to “knowledge” that we would be better off without? And by plugging ourselves in to the virtual world we are missing Eden all around us . . . the landscape outside our doors, the wind in the trees, the way the colors change at twilight.