The Disconnected Age

During a bored moment, I sat staring ahead absorbed in my mind-thoughts. I think I was somewhere in the future, possibly in a made-up event, or was it in a memory? I can’t quite remember because it was so insignificant and useless that the moment I ‘came-to’ it evaporated. The moment I ‘came to’ or more appropriately; became conscious of myself, I realised I had been staring at some green leaves in a tree outside the window. It then struck me in the same instant that the leaves were still gorgeously green for October, and had not yet begun to brown and shed as rapidly as they usually did in their autumnal way.

How many people notice things like that, and how often? Some do, but in todays society the number of individuals consciously connected to their surroundings does not seem very high to me. I have noticed my own ‘connected’ switch gradually dimming over the years and it’s causing me to question why.

The answer came to me a few days ago, when I witnessed the tail end of a nasty bike/car accident. I heard the impact up ahead and didn’t even bother to instantly look up, so lost in my daydream was I. When I eventually glanced up seconds later I observed a car screeching to a halt, and a motorbike settling into the side of it, almost smashed in half. On the other side of the car lay the injured motorcyclist being aided by another motorcyclist amidst a crowd of concerned onlookers. What answered my question was a passing lorry driver; very obviously aware of the accident in front of his path but not internally aware, because he was chatting on his mobile phone and still attempting to squeeze through, revving aggressively at the stopped cars in front of him that were going the opposite direction. The lorry driver began a string of filthy expletives and insults and eventually managed to get his way via verbal and physical intimidation, causing the cars to reverse and the crowd to temporarily disperse.

It dawned on me this lorry driver saw the accident as a mere obstacle. He did not SEE the partially conscious motorcyclist or the anxious and guilt ridden car driver. He did not SEE anything because he was engulfed by his unconsciousness. His mobile phone conversation was more important, his ego and his anger were controlling him.

This is the disconnected age of screens and technology, and of having to ‘get somewhere’ and ‘ find something’.
How useful is the knowledge that the leaves are green I hear you ask? It’s not, but the leaves are actually really THERE and have been noticed, and if I am internally aware of them then that means I am actually HERE, connected, ready to focus on what needs focusing on. However if I am wasting my brain cells away on events, made up or past, my responses will be slower, my surroundings will be dimmed and I will be living in my junk filled head; not really HERE.

Eckhart Tolle states in his book ‘The Power of Now‘ that many expressions of creativity today are devoid of beauty and inner essence. His explanation for this is that people are not free from their minds ‘So they are never in touch with that place within where true creativity and beauty arise. The mind left to itself creates monstrosities… look at our urban landscape and industrial wastelands. No civilisation has ever produced so much ugliness.’
I agree wholeheartedly. I often stare up at old, artistic, beautiful structures and ask ‘why don’t they make things like this anymore?’
‘They’ is all of us. What happened to my creative writing, painting, piano playing, dancing, drawing, poetry?…everything that involved a focused and present awareness and a process of inner self-development. For all of us it got lost in the past, in the future, in social networking, in celebrity culture, in fast food and ‘convenience’, in too many choices and no decisions, in text messaging, in apps, in ‘reality’ TV, in drug addiction and alcoholism, in buy now pay later consumerism…I could go on.

It’s easy to drown in melancholy at the situation and to see it as a hopeless tragedy, but for me the key to breaking out of unconsciousness and back into beauty and connectedness, is awareness of it. Beginning a step at a time, a moment at a time and NEVER giving up or giving in. Not many of us can cut every single conscious-numbing thing out of our lives, but what’s important is knowing they are external, temporary things, and to be fully conscious of this so we can continuously re-focus.
So I will go down the list of my ‘lost’ creativity, which is in fact still there but merely covered in cobwebs, and I will add a sprinkle of beauty and focus into my days, a moment at a time, and watch it blossom.

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