I have had a smart phone for about a year now, and not having a smart phone was something that I very much took pride in. I was disgusted by my friends that would take a look at their phones in the midst of conversation because of a silence. I hated how people were glued to their screens, and addiction became an epidemic. I saw people looking down everywhere, and it seemed like they took out their phones to check for a notification every 5 seconds. It was disgusting, and now. . . I have a smartphone.
And just like the people I despised, I found myself having the urge to look at my phone whenever there was an awkward silence, whenever I was going to go to the restroom, and whenever I was going to do anything by myself and I was going to have some alone time. The connection that the smartphone brings had taken away my ability to be with myself and my thoughts. And the real punchline is that the connection the smartphone brings in not connection at all. There is no intimacy when it comes to smartphones.
And so, to reverse the adverse effect that the smartphone had on me, here are a couple of things that I have decided to do.
- If I am going to meet my friends somewhere by car, once I get to the location, I leave my phone in my car. For those who are freaking out about an emergency, it never happens, and when it does, it can still wait. And if it can’t, the people will find a way to reach you by contacting your friends. Trust me, this happens all the time. People are very innovative.
The whole purpose of making these restrictions is to strengthen the muscle that allows one to be by themselves. Meditation is the very act of being one with oneself.
- If I am going to meet friends, but I will not have a car, bag, or anything to put my phone in, then I will put it in my pocket, or at least faced-down and far away from me.
- If I really do not trust myself, I just give it to my friend, and tell me to give it back after everything is over.
These are just rudimentary steps I take, and I would advise all of you to take some of the steps I have mentioned, while working on your own steps. You need time away from the screen.
It’s that simple.