Walking back to the office with the first coffee of the morning I notice a young girl standing at the bus-stop.
She stood there, intensely reading from a hand-held tablet computer with small bug-like earphones connected to her phone’s mpeg player. She never raised her head to look at who was passing by, to listen to the bustle of the street, see the occasional bird flying over, or just admire the blueness of the sky. I see this more and more when I’m downtown walking around.
What struck me most was her complete obliviousness to her surroundings. And in observing her, I wonder what gets missed in my life when I choose to tune out? What gets lost when I choose to cut mySelf off from my surroundings? And, how by doing this, am I cutting myself off from mySelf?
If you hold even the smallest notion that we, as individual humans, are connected with a larger energetic field or are parts of the system we call our environment then artificially cutting ourselves off from it seems counterproductive. I think it goes much further.
After all, everything that I am came from this Earth. I am a child of this planet, made of material which has been recycled again and again and again, for more than five billion years. Some might point to the uniqueness of every individual on the planet, and I would agree with them, I am a unique individual. And yet, we are all connected through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the birth we undergo, and the death that awaits us.
And on a quantum level, I am no different from you or the air, the water, the food, my birth and death. In the end we, individual humans, are simply energy – our own little bubbles of reality as Stephen Hawking would say — self-created in a form that allows interaction and communication with everything else that is “Me.”
Whether you believe that or not, what is important is that this perspective allows me to view my world differently, through a different perceptual filter. And when I do I come to a conclusion that I am more than just my flesh and bones, and in fact, I am connected to everything around me. In fact, I am everything around me.
If I cut myself off from the environment around me — from the sensory experiences that make up my day — that would take me away from mySelf. And when I do that it puts me into my Intellect, which can be a very useful place to be, but off times are huge amounts of confusing and un-useful self-conversation. It takes me out of the intelligence that this very Moment can offer. It tunes me out from the Present, the chance to breathe deeply into myself, and sit in my own awareness.
And just to note, I don’t think the young girl was doing anything wrong. She was doing what was most useful for her in that moment. My hope for her was she was doing it with all the intention and attention living in the present offers. Her gift to me (my gift to mySelf) was to create doubt and questions that allow me to bring my attention and intention more directly into my awareness.