Being Mindful with Machines


“In order for us to be the masters and not servants of technology, we must be confident in our ability to make choices that reflect our most important values.”

A computer is an electronic machine. I am using one right now to create this article. However, as a spiritual person, I want to learn to become more mindful when on my smartphone or electronic device.

Recently, I spent two weeks in Thailand. While there, I observed countless people looking down at their smartphones. Addiction to machines is a worldwide phenomenon.

The good news is that more people are practicing mindfulness meditation. Approximately 275 million people meditate around the world. So, how can we take our mindfulness practice to our smartphones and other devices?

First, we must know that the universe is mental. Even the Seven Hermetic Principles state that “The All is mind.” Humans are mental-based creatures. Therefore, we must protect human thought, imagination, and memory. There is a real danger when computers mimic human mental capacities.

“So, we see that our experience is not of what’s actually happening, but rather of the world of thought,” author Stephen Levine said. “Most of our experience is a dream-reflection in mind.”

Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. For example, people must mindfully decide how much time they want to spend on their electronic devices. Also, for parents, setting boundaries for children when using computers is crucial.

Even after only one hour of screen time daily, children and teens may have less curiosity, lower self-control, less emotional stability, and a more remarkable inability to finish tasks, report psychologist Jean Twenge and professor W. Keith Campbell.

being mindful of machines

Also, children and teens need help discerning when to get off their smartphones or electronic devices. Even adults have difficulty managing their screen time. Therefore, parents must set rules and limits for technology.

According to the latest available data, the average person in the US spends 7 hours and 4 minutes per day on screens connected to the internet. Therefore, the average person spends over 40% of their waking hours on an internet-connected screen.

Technology is addictive, and algorithms customize browsing, making it even more challenging to set limits. However, we can apply mindfulness to the technology we use daily.

Here are seven ways we can be mindful with machines:

  1. 1. Start tracking your screen time. It’s easy to be on your smartphone for several hours. Make a note of when you start on your smartphone or electronic device, and give yourself a time limit. You can even set a timer on your device.
  2. Eliminate all non-human notifications. Turn off all notifications except text messages and phone calls. Put your smartphone on “Do Not Disturb” when you are working.
  3. Unplug from your smartphone at least an hour before bedtime. Also, keep your smartphone out of your bedroom for distraction-free sleep.
  4. Try unplugging one day per week. When the human mind is free to contemplate, new ideas spring up, and the mind has a chance to relax. Remember, you are pure creativity – a gift of your birth.
  5. Notice how your body feels when you are on your electronic device. Be aware if you have back pain, eye strain, or shallow breathing. Make sure to take breaks. Spend time in nature. Research shows that walking in nature can decrease stress and regulate emotions.
  6. Be aware of your emotions when browsing on your electronic device. Ask yourself how you feel when reading, seeing, or listening to content on the computer.
  7. Consider your intentions. Before you open the app, consider your purpose.

We must train our minds – if we live in a world of thought. Computers entertain the ego and distract the mind. Therefore, computers do not lead humans to higher consciousness. Only mindfulness meditation and the path of yoga can bring concentration and enlightenment to human beings.

We only have this one precious life right now. So, what do we want to focus on? How do we want to spend our time? How can we use our lives to help people and the planet?

As spiritual beings, we must care about how computers transform our lives. Mindfulness meditation can help us create a reality with love, truth, and knowledge. Just one mindful thought combined with the heart can change the world.


Enjoy reading this article? Read more from Gina M. Gafford

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