.: Number 6 :.
Your cell phone may be in your pocket, in your bed, or even in the shower. You may check it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, hold it close to your face as you sit across from your friend, spouse, as you dine “together”. Watch a sunset, a concert, a child’s first breath through the lens of a cell phone camera. It is designed for you to use it at a level that almost matches compulsiveness. The sounds, the colors, the shape of the screen, they are all signaling reward centers in your brain. It is a new form of a high. And it is relatively new for our species to coexist with this kind of technology.
From the perspective of science, cell phones in general emit radio frequency energy or small amounts of non-ionizing radiation as well as LED white light. There is not yet enough evidence to suggest that these frequencies are harmful to the human body. According to the National Cancer Institute “there is currently no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk in humans.” In theory, high doses of non-ionizing radiation can cause damage to tissue over time from heating, but the amount from your phone is so low to be negligible. The white light that comes from electronic devices, however, does seem to impact health. Repeated white light exposure, especially after the sun has set, has been shown to impact the body’s circadian rhythm, thus creating difficulty sleeping. Research over the past ten years has suggested that chronic sleep loss can come with a whole host of health issues including symptoms of anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and even alcoholism.
When it comes to esoteric traditions and energy work, I have personally experienced a general distrust in technology and a belief that our relationship with technology as a culture has its dangers. Or at the very least technology impacts our subtle energy fields on levels that are not yet fully understood. A new study by The Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences has shown reduced subtle energy levels in adults through the use of Electrophotonic Imaging. In other words, there were measurable changes in major bodily systems, such as the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems in response to close proximity to cell phones. I have personally encountered a Reiki healer who glued hematite on his phone and kept magnets in his shoes to shield his body from radiation. I have read online forums discussing the enslavement of our planet by extraterrestrial forces that feed off of our energy, our attention, and seek to keep us trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth by keeping us complacent and unable to remember… It all may sound, perhaps a bit outlandish. But don’t discount unseen forces and what is not yet fully understood. Do not become attached to what you think you know. And recognize that innovators have historically been seen as mad. Science itself, this human attempt at comprehending nature, is a constant cycle of theory and disproving theory. Analysis and revision.
Moving beyond the attempt to prove or disprove anything–what happens when your unique mind and body interacts with technology? Does the device give you energy? Does it drain your energy? Do you become more aware? Do you become less aware? Beyond the particular experience, it is difficult to deny that the device draws in or arguably consumes some amount of your attention. Next time you stand in line at the store, put on your seatbelt in the passenger seat of a car, take a break from working on your next novel, observe yourself mindlessly pulling out your phone to check your emails, your texts, the feed of a social media app. Even if it’s brief, you’re still using the device compulsively. Can you even actually recall what you did on your device? Where the time went? Did you absorb any information whatsoever? (If the answer is yes, congratulations you are a unicorn in a world of sheep.)
Phones, laptops, iPads and so forth are quite stimulating, so much so that they can aggravate anxious thinking in a way that disconnects Self from awareness of the mind and body. The device taps in to a primal part of our brains that compulsively seeks reward and pleasure. In doing this repetitively, arguably we reinforce habits that are reactionary. Technology is not “evil”, but it is useful to enhance your ability to focus on a single task, to indulge in reflection, imagination, and to figuratively and literally dream.
How do we integrate with technology to create balance in body and mind?
This is where we get in to ritual: start with the hours leading up to sleep–ideally turn off all technological devices and remove them from your room two hours prior to bedtime. If you need an alarm to wake up in the morning, place your phone on airplane mode. If you simply must have your phone on for notifications, refrain from looking at your screen as you prepare for bed. Instead dim your lights. Turn on relaxing music, a downloaded podcast, a meditation. Read a book. A warm shower or bath is useful to relax the body and mind and to ritualistically cleanse the body. Once you have completed your preparation for bed, turn off your lights and lay in bed. As you breath and release tension, visualize unwanted energy or radiation moving out your feet as if there is an energetic vacuum cleaner at the foot of your bed. Once you have scanned your body from head to toe, let go as you drift in to sleep.
If you want to expand upon this ritual, try keeping one hour technologically-free when you wake up. Turn on your phone if you need to, but again avoid looking at the screen. Instead write in a dream journal, water your plants, make yourself coffee or tea, get dressed for the day, make your bed. Your ritual is completely dependent on your individual creative process. Notice your mind as you perform each task. Do you feel different? What is the state of your breathing? Your heart rate? Listen to the sounds in your room. Listen to your Self. Perhaps you’ll find you have more time. More attention to give. More awareness.
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