The Year Of Living Dangerously?
I think now, more than ever is the time to redefine what it means to live dangerously. When you hear the word "living dangerously" what comes to mind? being on the road with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with no helmet and the wind blowing your hair? Going on bungee jumping and being an adrenaline junky? To most people those might be the pictures that come to mind.
But there is one way of living very dangerously that not many people have thought of, and that is living in a constant state of disconnect for the people around us, living in a bubble. That is dangerous for one thing, it makes you blind to dangers that lie ahead, as you are in a constant state of denial. Also, if a lot of us live in a bubble together, it can lead to the tragic victory of a misogynistic candidate.
Had we not lived in a bubble, I am sure such catastrophe could have been avoided. Living in a bubble can have huge negative impact in your life and the life of others. It can have a negative impact towards the people you love.
Unfortunately, now more than ever, it is really easy to get trapped inside a bubble. We are in a constant state of distraction. We get distracted with our jobs, with our smart phones, and what not. We literally do not have time to connect to anyone nowadays.
Ever see some tragic news on tv and then just turn it off like nothing has happened and just go through your life normally? That is also included as living in a bubble. If we see a criminal case our subconscious goes "oh that will not happen to me." I really hope it does not happen to you, but if/when it does, you will experience reality like you have never experience before your bubble burst.
I do not mean any ill will to anyone reading this, but when reality bites the bubble burst. Part of the problem of human being's evolution is that we have created this barrier around us. We brought the agricultural age, and then the industrial age, and this all have made us loose touch with reality. All of us comfortably sheltered, we do not have to fight for territories. We do not have to fight for food. Unlike, animals, we can sleep knowing that a predator won't sneak up on us and make us their prey. Or can it?
Animals however, cannot afford to loose touch with reality. If it needs to find food and literally survive the wild it needs to be very aware. an entitled monkey with a smartphone will not last that long in a jungle.
I don't mean to get political but America is going to have Trump for president, And that is not a reality show. That is reality. Whatever crazy decisions he makes will have an impact on everyone, so do not get too comfortable. I really urge everyone to wake up and do not forget and just "get on with life.."
Here is a little something I have noticed about myself. I used to be able to feel more. I am hereby admitting that I am one of those people who lives inside a bubble, Always busy with my work and when I am not there, I am constantly staring at my smartphone browsing Facebook. I admit I am THAT guy. And You have no idea how guilty I feel when I lift my head to see the clock and see that one hour has passed. I sigh and say to myself "What the hell have you done!"
I got my first smartphone around 2008, it was a blackberry. I swear to god it changed my life. and then few years later I got my first android smartphone, and that was when I unconsciously said "good bye, reality, I will live inside my phone if you need me."
At first I thought it was a great source of knowledge. I used to read articles upon articles, and being someone who is an avid reader I find this to be a boon from God. However, as time went by I felt..dull? It was just so much information. Information overload. Also, I started to just compulsively grab my phone to google about something I have in my mind, only to forget what I was I wanted to browse! There was just no room for curiosity.
What this all led to was my being numb. Too much of a good thing makes you numb it also makes you dumb. There is just nothing to excite you. Need something entertainment? just open the Youtube app and voila! Thanks to this, I slowly but steadily became more withdrawn. I would prefer to just stay put and be with my smartphone. Not knowing how the people around my were feeling.
It is so easy to avoid hardships in life by just staring at your phone. Why go through all the hassles of life's ups and downs and hardships when you can just stare at your phone where nothing bad ever happens?
Smartphone is like an escape from the harsh reality.
Sometimes though I used to contemplate, like I am doing now, that I used to be able to feel more things. Excitement at seeing something new, connection to someone. There was a time when I used to love meeting people, yet here I am with a wife who loves me and an adorable daughter, and when they are with me I moan. What on earth is wrong with me!
I guess I used to feel all the excitement and happiness with life's joyful moments because I used to also really immerse myself when life gives me lemons. I would not escape it. I would feel it and live it. I guess it is sort of a yin and yang thing. You cannot have one without the other. If you want to really marvel is life's bounty you need to also accept life's hardships and hard times.
I have noticed that I am giving life my bare minimum and put some real time and attention to the world that is inside my smartphone. It is not good. This is just equal to addiction. It is addiction. I guess I am an addict. So to stop this and to get my life back in control I have made a routine that does not involve a smartphone, or at least involve it to bare minimum, which is using it only when I actually need it, and nothing more.
I need to be more conscious of what I do. They say an empty mind is a devil's workshop. This could not be more true. The urge to grab that solid black rectangle and put it inches away from my face is very strong when I have nothing to do. Especially during a slow work day.
So now whenever I find myself doing nothing, I simply, well, do nothing. I am not going to fidget around with my smartphone. Just sit and wait. Be in the present moment. possibly meditate. Anything pertaining to sticking with reality.
So far it has been going well, but I know it is just the beginning. There will be challenges I am sure. Anytime I find myself browsing aimlessly and watching mind numbeing cat videos and prank videos on youtube, I straight away put my phone down.
I am also starting a walking routine. so especially on a slow work day, which happens a lot nowadays, I would do out and take a stroll and get some fresh air for around 15 to 20 minutes. I feel more refreshed.
What Makes A Good Life?
I have recently watched a fascinating TED Talk where the speaker tells us about this fascinating study Harvard conducted. What makes it so fascinating is that this study has been going on for 75 years. So for the past 75 years this group of Harvard researchers have followed a number of subjects from when they were young till now when are have already in their 90s. The purpose of this long term study was to find out what makes a good life.
To have a study continue unabated for 75 years is a rarity. The researchers who conducted the study have lived and died and the baton was passed to their successors for 75 years. The speaker is currently the 3rd head of this research.
What they ultimately found out was what led to a good life was having great relationships. Having connection and healthy relationship with family and friends. having lots of friends alone does not help, the quality of the relation is more important than the quantity.
And if we live in a bubble then chances are we are not living a good, happy and healthy life. As it hinders us from connecting with people. I will let the Head of research do the rest of the talking below. Enjoy!
suraj punjabi (author) from jakarta on December 01, 2016:
Thank you for the kind words, Bill and Venkatachari. I hope I can do that and be disciplined and hope tht I don't fall back to my old habits. It is hard, but then again, that is life.
Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on November 23, 2016:
A nice wake-up call. It is better late than never. People should realize all these fantasies and weird habits as unhealthy and dangerous to their lives. Spend whatever time you can with nature and in real, lovely relationships.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 23, 2016:
Beautiful reflections, my friend, and oh so true! Let's raise a toast to living a conscious existence and living it to the fullest.