give your mind a break in this plugged in, hyper-connected world
Sacred spaces give us a portal into the “Before.” I can say that I am a “digital immigrant,” which means that I grew up before the World Wide Web, smart phones and social media. Although we had our video games and some folks had home computers (including me as a young teen), we were not “connected” like we are these days. It sounds odd but I remember a “Before.” However, as time goes on younger generations will not know of the “Before.”
To put it into perspective, there have always been cars during my lifetime. So, I can’t imagine riding in a horse-drawn wagon for days to go a hundred miles. I think many Millennials who have grown up as “digital natives” might think of unplugging from technology the same way I think of riding a horse to visit a friend instead of driving. Why would anyone want to do that?
The younger generation might not see the benefit, nor the need to disconnect from technology. However, I think it’s critical to unplug in creating sacred spaces.
Why unplug to create a sacred space?
From an evolutionary standpoint, we are all digital immigrants. For most of our existence as sapiens:
- All social interaction too place face-to-face
- We lived in small groups of less than 150 people
- We ate NO processed foods
- We were not sedentary given that we were hunters and gatherers
- We generally slept at night, when we were tired, and awoke when our bodies and brains were rested
- We spent ALL of our time in nature — we were very much a part of it
- Life was relatively quiet most of the time — no earbuds with music playing, no digital noises, no traffic, airplanes, and so on. The only sounds we heard were from nature and each other
Connection to others and ourselves
We need periods of quiet to connect with other people as we have historically.
Studies show that technology can hinder our ability to empathize with others. Empathy is crucial to the development of strong social connections, which largely determine our happiness. An estimated 70 percent of our happiness is reliant on our social relationships. Hence, the stronger our social connections, the happier we typically are.
To create a sacred space, we must unplug from technology to focus on and develop greater levels of empathy. This in itself, will allow us to connect better with others when we enter sacred spaces.
Moreover, we need quiet time to develop a coherent sense of self, ponder and reflect. A stable sense of self will also help us interact with other effectively.
Attention and productivity
When we unplug in our sacred spaces, we give ourselves the chance to reflect and practice mindfulness. We no longer have the distraction of push notifications, tweets or texts. Practicing focused attention will make it easier to adopt it into our daily lives. In doing so, we can pay attention to what matters most in life: deep connections.