Thinking about Satya this week (Satya or Sathya is a Sanskrit word that loosely translates into English as “truth” or “correct”) , also got me thinking about technology and ‘truth’ telling in an age where conversation is not always face to face. How easy is it to tell the ‘truth’ without ever having to make eye contact ? Somehow I feel that I can be more truthful in a text or email or on facebook. There is a safety behind it, because there is often a moment of reflection for me before I write something. I can stop and think before saying something.
Judith Hanson says, ” In most ways, the practice of Satya is about restraint: about slowing down, filtering, carefully considering our words so that when we choose them, they are in harmony with the first yama, ahimsa (non violence).”
This process of truth telling has been a battle my whole life, I grew up in family that hiding things were a way to protect myself, and truth telling was often the safest route to go to avoid volatile confrontations.
I often feel that I unleash things by sending them out in the universe through social networking, ridiculous, but true.
So how does Satya work in a an age of technology ?
I have 2 phones. I have my iphone, which is unsuccessfully my personal ‘phone’, but has become instead, my emoji text machine, camera, entertainment center and music hub. I have a blackberry for work. Since it seems that I am always misplacing one in my home (despite trying to keep them in my purse), it is good that I have 2 phones, purely for the sake of finding the other. I am constantly doing the 2 phone check in my purse, on my person, and before I leave an establishment,car,plane, train, or bobsled.
My phones have become extra limbs. I can’t go anywhere without them, I can’t turn them off, I am frantic when I can’t find one. It’s feels like a sickness and I need to have them removed.
Yoga practice is the only place I separate myself from my phones and I may still be thinking about them when practicing, but gradually I have become better about letting them go. The constant need to be in ‘touch’, or for me, working, is a farce. Am I ‘in touch’ with a phone or am I using it as a shield from the world around me, interacting with it instead of the person next to me ? I lived for a long time without these limbs. I felt free-er. I was calmer and a little more focused on the world and people around me, rather than the world in my phones. I didn’t aggravate myself with texts or get tendanitis in my hands from texting.
I keep thinking, life is what happens out there, away from a screen. I can’t always live plugged in, it doesn’t feel real and isolates me so much from day to day living.
Is there a false reality in a life lived plugged in ? I think of all the manipulations and falsified information, the person/personas you are able to invent so easily on the internet (not to say that this doesn’t happen with people in the ‘real’ world’). The lack of a conscience.
I think of how much eye contact means to my understanding of someone and what they are thinking. I enjoy connecting with people face to face. Hugs are so important. I think of the lack of social graces my plugged in friends have. I was watching people walk the other day with their eyes turned down looking at a phone.
I’ve become obsessive about my technology, I am admittedly a social network junkie at times. I feel more connected to people out ‘there’, but is it real ? Are they practicing satya in their words ?
I’m faced with the conundrum that I mentioned before about the ease for me in practicing Satya, through the written words. Am I hiding from my truths ? I’m more conscious of the longevity of my words written, where face to face, my loose lips, often sink ships.
My life is dependant on my computer and phone for work. I conduct daily meetings with my home office in London via skype.When I traveled constantly, facebook and email made me less lonely. I love that I can see what my friends are doing all over the world. That I can see friends who live far, kids grow up or feel like I can see a little snapshot of their life. I can share love and photos and little pieces of me with people I miss. I got an iphone, so I could better maintain a long distance relationship using facetime when I was traveling constantly for work.
Yet, I loathe phone calls and the sounds skype makes tense my entire body. I hate hacker back. I hate that most of the time I work in total isolation and may not see another human all day. (A lovely side effect of working for an international business dependent on the phone and internet everyday). I feel like perhaps Satya becomes more challenging to practice in person because I am so hungry for conversation and perhaps acceptance, why would I always be truthful when it could hurt someone ? Are my people pleasing tendencies worse because I don’t interact with people all the time ? I definitely go without getting what I need at times because I want the people around me to be happy and cared for.
My challenge is to go unplugged more and more each day and to take a retreat soon, free from all technology. Practicing satya and ahimsa in real time. To hear what truths I might not be aware of.
This blogging is perhaps a place though where satya and ahisma will be guides..