Have you ever logged onto the internet feeling energized and optimistic, only to stumble away from the screen much later, feeling kind of bleary and dim, or even a little depressed?
Ugh. I certainly have.
What is that?
Is it the content or the volume of what I’m reading? Am I getting zapped by radiation from the screen? Or maybe it’s the whole like/dislike, friend/follower thing that gets to me sometimes.
Not sure. Could be all of the above.
However, I do have a theory that says it may also have something to do with the subtle material element of ether (akasha).
Stay with me here.
As weird as it may sound, there are mystic yogis who can submerge themselves in the Ganges River in the Himalayas and then surface minutes later in a city hundreds of miles away. Plenty of sane people have witnessed this at the Kumbh Mela in India.
You can file this bit o’ magic under siddhi (aka: mystic perfections, or “eggs,” as described in last week’s post).
I mention this only because these remarkable yogis travel through the ether via their highly developed minds, and then their gross physical form follows. I think that’s what we do when we surf the internet —and, to some degree, even when we read a book— but, in my case anyway, the gross physical body stays slumped in a chair.
The mind is in one place, and the body is in another.
That’s why it often feels so disorienting when the mind finally gets out of the ether (internet) and back into the body, so to speak.
Conversely, this may also be why yoga provides us such a sense of wholeness: the mind and body are connected via the medium of prana, or breath, or, to an even greater degree for some, by mantra.
So how do we stay connected to ourselves while using the internet?
For me, the trick is to be conscious of my purpose beforehand and to stay as grounded as possible during.
The following is a list of my top 7 ways to keep the bleariness at bay:
1. Set your intention before you start.
This can be aided by taking a conscious breath, by uttering a word or phrase or by the tiny ritual of your own invention. Make yourself some tea. Do a grounding pose.
2. Give yourself a time limit in which to accomplish your purpose.
When you’ve run out of time, you’re done.
3. Make sure that your environment is well lit and that your screen isn’t too bright.
I discovered this recently. Now I dim my screen down just a little from its brightest setting. Helps a lot.
4. Remain connected to the other material elements.
Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, Mind, Intelligence and Ego: these are the material elements as ranked by density (bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ…Gita 7.4).
So, if you don’t want to lose your mind completely to the ether, keep a connection with the denser elements. Breathe deeply (air). Get some sun or have a snack (fire). Wash your face (water). Take a walk or sit outside (earth). You get the idea.
I think it helps to bust out into song from time to time, whether you’re on the internet or not, don’t you?
6. Observe a complete digital sabbatical at least once a week.
I go into Amish mode once a week (except I use electricity and a car. And also a phone. Whatever.). For no particular reason, it’s usually on Sunday. Sometimes I add another day, depending on how much fun I’m having quilting —metaphorically speaking, that is.
7. Spend more time with carbon-based life forms.
There are people who know you and love you and accept you in all of your messed-up glory. Look into their eyes often.
Your turn. How do you stay fresh on the ‘net?
More cool stuff about ether as it relates to the other elements here.
Kumbh Mela Photo courtesy of: http://www.HinduDharmaForum.com. Thank you!