The New Beginnings "philosopher in residence" shared an arresting article last month highlighting the dangers of constant connection and the absence of silence, contemplation, and meaningful contact in our lives. In his lengthy treatise, the author argues we have replaced personal interaction with the artificial stimulus of the virtual world - and we are doing so at our own peril.
If we are being honest, most of us would confess to recognizing ourselves at various points in his story. We may not have allowed our tech addiction to land us in the hospital, but who hasn't reached reflexively for a phone in a moment of silence - whether to stave off the discomfort of sitting alone with our feelings, distract ourselves from an unpleasant reality, or attempt to escape boredom.
But when we remove silence from our lives we enter dangerous territory. Without quiet, we cannot really hear. When we nod and smile our way through one conversation while simultaneously typing a response to another person into our device, we are not multitasking - we are ensuring minimal value in both interactions. And when we are alone, constant virtual connection deprives us of the chance to hear the still small voice within that longs to guide us safely down our path.
As we turn the corner toward the holiday season, we will be presented with countless opportunities to choose between connection and distraction: family gatherings, office parties, celebrations with friends. You will have the power to decide whether to be present and open to what others have to say or tune them out. Whether you will listen to the white noise of constant stimulus or allow yourself to hear - and follow - your heart.
What might you hear if you chose to be still?