A Day without Technology, seeing the world through a different lens

iPhone 16 gB— $800, Finding the Now—-Priceless

By: Rayna Aivazoglou

“A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years.One day a stranger walked by.”Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar.”I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger..”What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar.”Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No What’s the point? There’s nothing in there” said the beggar. “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold” (Power of Now, Eckart Tolle)

ImagePhoto taken by Scott Masek on the eighty block walk  (7th Avenue, 28th Street)

“Gear Positive Energy Towards You”- Eckhart Tolle

“Beep Beep Beep” sounds my computer. The blue “Skype” icon bounces, signaling a missed call from my little brother. “Din Din” sounds my phone, a text flashes, “where are you, get on skype!”— him again. The night before my day without  I find myself incredibly frustrated. I could not find a way to carry out a typical day void of any device and the mini symphony that my electronics had been creating in my room, were only making matters worse. My head was incredibly foggy.  The skype icon bounces again, and I have no choice to accept.” What Andreas!” I scream into the camera, lashing out all of the negative energy onto my little brother. He only needed help with a book report on Anderson’s novel, Fever 1793.  “I just don’t understand why people bled for days to cure this disease” he says. “Well, they can’t go to the doctors…” I began but he cuts me off, “no, I mean, isn’t there an app for that? No one goes to the doctors for a cold anymore” he says. At first I laugh. I was embarrassed for my brother and his immature comment. But then I paused, the laugh turned into a thought—my fourteen year old brother did not know a world without technology. But did I? As if the fog had finally lifted from my brain. Finally, I had my plan for the following day.

 November 16, 2013 my day without technology, brought many realizations of consciousness or “awakenings”, the first of which was literally upon rising. For the first time in 14 years, I woke up past 7 am. Without four alarm clocks, my body woke up on its own time at 12:30 pm, taking five more hours to fully rest.

 For about a year now, my mother has urged me to read favorite novel, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, which she had read when her father passed away last year. She said it changed her life. I assured my mom that when I had time, I would eventually read her “second bible” on my iPad but she knew me better than that and instead had snuck the novel on my shelf when I moved into my apartment. All I had was time. Pulling the dusty book off the shelf, a pink note slipped out of the second page; “nothing like a real book, to bring us back to the real now” signed Mom. With that, I sunk back into bed for an hour, absorbed Tolle’s words and let my mind expand with every flip of the page.

“You are not your mind”- Eckhart Tolle

Apart from the mandatory philosophy courses  I took at Boston College, I never had much to desire to read philosophy. As time passes, as technology advances, as responsibilities pile, philosophical questions like “why?” keep coming up. Tolle was the first to answer some of my questions, based on his point of view. In the past decade, Eckhart Tolle has become a world-class teacher, a great soul with a message teaching the Buddha taught: “a state of enlightenment is attainable, here and now. It is possible to live free of suffering, free of anxiety… to do this, we have to come to understand our role as the creator of our pain; our mind causes our problems not other people. Stop blaming others, stop blaming the world out there” (30), he writes, “we make the mistake of identifying with our minds, thinking that’s who we are when in fact, we are greater beings allow our minds to consume the energy within us” (42). Tolle’s words resonate within me.

 He encouraged his readers to focus on feelings and sensations with every action they make in life. Shutting the novel, I went for a walk. Of course, I had felt naked without my phone but Tolle’s words liberated my soul, I wanted to live in the present moment for just one day. It was incredibly difficult. My mind would wander, to what was due by the end of the weekend, my hand continuously crept in my pocket to feel for a vibration which signaled a text or an email… to find nothing. I kept walking until I was in the now, from 14th street to 56th when I finally started looking at the building, when my eyes were seeing instead of creating a path to dodge people coming at me. It felt as if my senses had been turned back on. 

 Image

“There is always silence underneath the noise. Silence is the stillness of the presence, the consciousness”- Eckhart Tolle 

Humans advanced technology to help us travel the globe, to help us connect more efficiently, to enhance the production of food. The world without technology sadly no longer exists. When do we the line though? Has technology outsmarted us, are we the consumers of iPhones or are we being consumed? According to Tolle’s philosophy the answer is neither black nor white. The mind may crave another three hours to browse the web and respond to emails but if you are not your mind he highlights. It is our duty to keep seeking the present state, the now, since so technology pulls us to other dimensional consciousness.

 Thirty minutes later, my boyfriend, Scott joined me. With a camera in hand and a passion for photography, I spoke and pointed and Scott captured. We walked from Soho to the MOMA uptown to Harlem and back down again. Two hundred blocks later and much philosophical taught, I had felt liberated and Scott was incredibly tired. (All of the pictures posted in this post are credited to him)

Four days later. My phone today is on silent in pursuit of a liberated mind. Sometimes the noise needs to be sought out for, actively, everyday. I thought my day without technology would show me how much I needed it, turns out, it showed me how much I didn’t. Without my phone, I was living in a real universe. Instead of googling what I needed my mind to cram in, I had let information come in by choice. My iPhone application may give me a fact or location the nearest Starbucks in three seconds it won’t be able to answer more fundamental questions that I seek for. Living in the Now may actually provide more answers than Siri will in the long run. But that’s just me.

 

 

 

 

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