Wisdom 2.0, or Stress 2.0?
How do we live mindfully, purposefully, and wisely in a 2.0 age? no matter how great the technology becomes, no matter how many people we can communicate with around the globe, no matter how many followers we have on twitter or friends on Facebook, what truly matters most is the quality of attention and the quality of presence we practice when we’re communicating.
our culture is becoming increasingly connected, yet there’s a danger we are becoming overwhelmed, distracted, rushed, and hurried. in such a world, children and young people will typically get less attention from their parents, less attention from adults, because adults are constantly distracted.
This will only increase as we move further and further into this technological age if we don’t seek inner qualities we know are important for any culture to survive – compassion, awareness, wisdom. our external technologies will certainly continue to advance. What’s uncertain is whether our inner technologies of consciousness will grow along with them. We need to make sure we connect to that place inside us of ease and focus, the creative mind.
For years, the big question of our era was: How do I live constantly connected? but i believe we are moving through that experience now and trying to ask a new question: What does it mean to incorporate a sense of presence, awareness, and wisdom within this new media era of connected- ness that engages us all?
This search for balance between the external and the internal is where the conversation is moving. it’s a conversation the culture needs to have. A great myth is technology can make us happy, and the newest technology will make us happier. but basic happiness comes from inner exploration, inner development. if we begin to forget that – forget the importance of solitude, contemplation, stillness – then we’ll live increasingly “disconnectedly connected,” where we are connected to technology but totally disconnected from our own heart. the person who is connected all the time through technology, but has no consciousness, no love and no creativity, will miss the potential and wisdom of life.
To me, living wisely and mindfully involves a kind of remembering – remembering who we really are, remembering the value of each moment as we live it, tapping into an intelligence that is available every moment and which is inherent in every individual on the planet.
There are ways of getting access to this. Think of the first hour you are awake in the morning and the last hour before sleep. How should we spend those two hours? First thing in the morning, and last thing at night, are we jumping online and filling our minds with more and more information, or is there a more contemplative way to begin and end the day?
At night, for instance, there are ways to un- plug before we turn to sleep. listening to music, or prayer, or reading a book that has meaning can help the mind and body make the transition. Consider turning off the lights and then lighting a candle. Darkness comes gradually each night with the setting sun. Perhaps it ought to come gradually for our bodies and minds too.
We may trust that such practices will have impact on our days at work, making us more productive, so that our focus is better, our emails a little clearer. the goal is to bring a new sense of presence into our interactions. A clear, focused mind is essential to any creative endeavor.
There are signs that business cultures and individuals are moving in this direction of consciousness. many are applying techniques and tools – breathing exercises, for instance – that can help people become aware of body sensation and the state of their own thoughts. People are yearning for something that works.
For most of us, there is little question that we will live modern – 2.0 – lives. We will use cell phones, email, and engage on social networks. the real question is, What kind of 2.0 life will we live – stress 2.0 or Wisdom 2.0? Will we let our devices rule us, habitually answering our cell phone any time it rings, or will we live wisely, focusing on the quality of attention we bring to each moment?
It’s not that we need to create consciousness but that we remember and come back to that place of awareness – and live from that place in the world, trusting that things will unfold the right way as we bring the quality of attention to our days, our work, ourselves.
Soren Gordhamer is founder and host of the annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference in Silicon Valley, CA. The conference gathers leaders from various fields to discern how to live with greater wisdom in a technology-rich era.
(www.wisdom2summit.com). He is author of Wisdom 2.0: Ancient secrets for the creative and constantly connected (Harper- One, 2009).