Technologically connected, mentally disconnected

Our phones are nowadays so advanced that just by pressing a few buttons, we can connect with people in remote parts of the world. Yet surveys show that nowadays people are lonelier than ever before. What’s wrong?

Our inner tool for connecting with others — our mind — has become impaired; it has become hyper-distracted. 

The mind is naturally restless, as the Bhagavad-gita (06.34) states. Technology fuels this restlessness of the mind by giving us access to countless sources of information and titillation. Such exposure makes our mind overstimulated and overwhelmed. It keeps searching for some quick gratification and becomes habituated to rapidly jumping from one stimulus to another in the search for something gratifying. 

No wonder we end up distracted and distractible. While talking with someone next to us, our mind gets distracted by phone calls. When we are talking on the phone, our mind gets distracted by messages. And when we are surfing through our messages, our mind treats the people around us as a distraction. Thus, we end up treating the things we are distracted from as the things we are distracted by. 

To connect properly with others, we need to calm our mind. Among various ways to calm our mind, the most potent are spiritual practices such as meditation. When we practice meditation by trying to focus it on spiritual reality, we soon become acutely aware of how distracted and distracting our mind is. If we keep practicing meditation, we gradually develop the inner awareness to regulate and refocus our distracted mind. Meditation sharpens and strengthens our inner reflexes, enabling us to better manage our mind. While meditation is meant to connect us with the ultimate reality, it can as a fringe benefit help us connect better with those around us. 

One-sentence summary:

Technology improves our outer means to connect with others, spirituality improves our inner means to connect with others. 

Think it over:

  • Despite being connected technologically, why are we lonelier?
  • How does technology aggravate our mind’s distractedness?
  • How can we improve our inner tool for connecting with others?


06.34: The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.


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