I love the internet. I really truly do.
At it's finest, [ http://www ] is an Oracle of sorts -- the great democratizer of information.
With just a wi-fi signal and a click of a button, we’re granted access to counsel from the world’s greatest thinkers, on any topic you can conceive of.
Do you want to learn about the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric?
How to stain wood shelves? The translation from French to Estonian?
The internet has you covered.
Once made available only through academia, higher learning is now essentially free.
It’s a connector of cultures, disaster relief, and social movements -- all in real time.
Expansion. Generosity. Access to knowledge for all.
That's a beautiful thing.
It’s also a potential Vortex of sticky vicious gossip sites. And vitriolic hate-trolls. And hours of clicking through social media in a way that can make our lives feel inferior, status-dependent and small.
Click-haze. Shame-spiral. The underbelly of the Oracle.
Which is precisely what I love about the internet: everything belongs here and there's a sense of gazing back at our own minds. Both our wisdom qualities and our neurotic qualities are reflected here.
In the same way that the ocean is filled with extraordinary creatures, and ALSO a giant plastic flotilla, the internet is home to our human genius and also our collective cultural detritus. The Web serves as a mirror -- our personal and societal consciousness made manifest.
*File under: 'Things that will never deteriorate':
Plastic bottles. Our digital footprint.
It’s in this same vein that I’m fascinated to see what our 'collective' mind makes viral. If the internet is a mirror of sorts, then memes serve as a cultural temperature check, a reflection of what strikes a societal chord, and one of my very favorites to date has been Congresswoman Maxine Waters reclaiming her time.
:: Pithy Recap ::
A member of the current administration was dodging a question at a hearing Rep. Waters was presiding over, and rather than allow this gentleman to ramble (and run out the clock), she masterfully cut through his nonsense with a chorus of “Reclaiming My Time”.
Recommendation rating for watching this clip in full: 100%
The internet rejoiced at her declaration in and ran with it in the form of viral memes, and I clapped as it made laps around the web.
Because: Fierce (Self) Compassion in action.
It read as a recognition of how valuable our time actually is.
A recognition that our time is a precious resource — that which we exchange for earning money, and building relationships, and the other more instantly recognized resources that we rely on.
It’s the finite, irreplaceable and invisible field that our entire lives swim inside.
All to say that if someone is wasting, or “killing” our time, it can feel like an egregious insult, aggressive even.
“Reclaiming My Time” was a line that was drawn in the sand that stands for protecting our life force and I was delighted when it caught fire in our collective conscious (aka: the internet).
In the same way, our meditation practice can be seen as a reclamation of another precious and non-renewable resource: our attention.
Which, as the Oracle / Vortex that we all know and love becomes more omnipresent in our lives, seems like a line in the sand worth drawing.
Now that information is so cheap that it's free, we've entered the age of the Attention Economy: meaning that there are a lot of dollars being thrown at capturing our clicks and our likes.
Where our attention goes, our interest goes.
Where our interest goes our desire goes.
Where our desire goes, our money goes.
It all begins with our attention.
I swear, I couldn't make this up-- it's economic model of our digital age.
Which makes me wonder:
What if we treated our attention like the valuable currency and precious resource that actually it is?
Each time we locate our bodies in space and commit to our breath or contemplation, we're implicitly stating that our attention is worth strengthening, guarding, and wielding in a way that wakes us up, brings us home.
We're making a quiet declaration that this field of time we all swim in is worth experiencing fully.
And that it's our attention that gives us access.
Or, as the kids would say in internet lingo:
This practice is giving me life and I'm here for it.