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Lions Roar : January 2018
Seeing Beyond the Screen YAEL SHY invites twenty-somethings to bring some mindfulness into their digital lives. IF YOU ARE A MILLENNIAL between the ages of eighteen and thirty-six, you probably spend an average of eighteen hours a day consuming media, with approximately five hours of that time engaged in social media and peer-created content. Those hours are consumed across a variety of platforms and may include simultaneous consumption of media. For example, if you spend two hours per day on Facebook, three hours texting, and an hour watching television, that adds up to six total hours, even though it may only translate to three or four “real” hours in your day, if you are doing some of those things at the same time. Media consump- tion includes texts, surfing the internet, binge-watching Net- flix, and playing games on your phone. I reach for my phone at nearly every pause in my day, from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. Our phones are extensions of our- selves, connectors to others, por- tals to the world, and addictive tools. If we are going to take our goal of living a mindful life seri- ously, we have to consider our very intimate, ubiquitous rela- tionship with our devices. The key to mindful living “off the cushion” is building in a pause to check in with our intention, our body, and our heart before we reach for our favorite distractions. Nowhere is this more palpable and power- ful than in our relationships to our devices. When do you reach for your phone? When do you click on social media sites? How do you feel right before heading to your page on the site? What happens in your mind while scrolling or posting? How do you feel afterward? For me, that initial reach toward my phone usually comes when there is any type of pause in the action. Aside from just being addicted to stimulation, some part of me suspects there might be loneli- ness, disconnection, and sadness waiting for me in the silence of phonelessness, and I am scared to face it. Once I open my time-wasting app of choice—perhaps with some mindfulness, perhaps on autopilot—I immediately begin to tumble down the rabbit hole of posts, tweets, photos, videos, and memes. After twenty minutes (or more) of scrolling along, I begin to realize that I am lost in a scroll-and-click universe where I have the capacity to ingest end- less thoughts, photos, and virtual lives of friends and acquaintances, post my own, ILLUSTRATIONBYPAWELKUCZYNSKI HOT OFF THE PRESS LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2018 73