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Lions Roar : July 2013
leaving Facebook, in addition to reducing online connectivity in general. I see that I was living with a divided mind: one in reality and one in a kind of mental dia- logue with my online/media world. My mind had been playing a continuous loop, asking and answering seven questions, at all times, even when I was away from a computer or tech gear: What’s new on Facebook? Did an email come in? Did I get a text that I might have missed? Who’s on Google Chat now? What’s new on Huffington Post/in the news cycle? Is my phone ringer at the right setting so I can hear it?/Did I miss a call? Are there any messages on the home answering machine? As I’m letting go of the alternate reality of the online world, I find myself much more attuned to actual reality. I am more interested in the people right in front of me because I am not half-attending to the virtual people online. I kind of feel like I am waking up: Oh wow, there’s a blue sky! There’s the sound of birds chirping! My daughter is giving me a big hug right now! It has been fascinating to feel my attention restored to greater wholeness. I have a lot more buoyant mental energy, and I can feel a certain return of tranquility, as well as a willingness to think about one thing at a time more deeply, rather than many things in a cursory, shallow manner. The online world is a reality; it’s not nonreality. And yet, as with our thought process, if we get too wrapped up in it, we risk losing touch with the beauty, rich- ness, and wonder of the present moment and loving fully those in our own homes. Thoughts are a reality, too, but if we live only in our thoughts, we miss a great deal and misunderstand even more. The Sumi of 2007 would have felt that the Sumi of Now is a real party pooper, a dour Buddhist who can’t handle the modern world. But for me right now, renouncing constant connectivity doesn’t feel like deprivation. It is renouncing an addiction—and, therefore, gaining a degree of freedom. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 31