Over the past few years, I have noticed one common thing most people do when engaged in a discussion, a dialog, or a friendly argument during family or social gatherings. Someone would quietly ‘volunteer’ to either bring down the intensity of the discussion, or shorten the length of impatience, by offering an answer or a solution. Where does the quick answer come from? Google.
Imagine you are in a discussion like the above scenario. Who would reach out to a smartphone to do the same? How much patience would you allow for your brain and knowledge, experience and creativity, to chime in and have fun with before you surrender to Mr. know-it-all Google for an answer or a solution? The word Google itself has become a verb. Students use Google as a go-to place to do what they call ‘research’. During my time in school, research meant going into the field, asking questions, collecting data, putting it together, and then presenting the findings. It sometimes took months to complete. Technology has allowed many of us to collapse the time into seconds to gather findings. I am grateful for the convenience it has brought into my life, but I also notice the not-so-good effects it has created. I can see how easily I give into things for the sake of instancy, ease, and comfort.
I am all for simplifying the effort, especially when I am in a hurry. The following story has nothing to do with technology. It does, though, show how easily one gets entangled in habitual action, especially in today’s world. Things can easily fall into default, it’s automatic. I have noticed this pattern since I moved to Minnesota from a high-traffic city of Jakarta, Indonesia. Greater Jakarta was inhabited by about 10 million people then. I had to fight my way into the center of the city where offices were, inching forward like a snail in my vehicle. It took me about two hours to go to work in the morning, and the same time to get home, to travel the 22 miles distance. I had to plan my day carefully to make sure I got to work on time. Not only for work, I had to plan travel time for any commitment; anything and all things. I realized it when a visitor from out of the country asked me a question, “How far is X from here?” He was referring to a place he had to go to. My answer was, “It’ll take you about an hour.” It was a typical answer he’d receive from those living in congested cities. We measure distance by how long we’d spend on the road.
Now I live in Minnesota, a city with a population of 85,000. I can get to almost anywhere within 15-20 minutes. I’ve gotten spoiled by the ease and smoothness of traffic here that I ended up, most of the time, leaving home 15 minutes before my appointment, rushing myself out the door and on the road instead of driving pleasantly. This pattern eventually got me into trouble. I then made a commitment to myself, “You know better than this. Allow a minimum of 30 minutes travel time.” I had to interrupt my way of doing things in order not to default into my old pattern. It takes time, but I did it. I installed a new pattern of traveling with ease and calm; gathering my thoughts in the parking lot and centering my intention before I go to a meeting. More often than not, it becomes a valuable one. I learn and take away something good from it. I allow myself to be there, in person and be present, instead of rushing to it then dragging myself out of it.
Let’s go back to our reliance on technology as a default. I invite you to ponder on this next scenario for a second. Imagine what it will be like, years from now, if we don’t allow our valuable brain and knowledge to resource itself? What if the smartphone we rely so much on quits working? What if Google stops working and we don’t have access to it for a day? Panic, frustrated? What if this incident happens, then repeats itself several times a week? What may happen to the way we live life?
Or, we can start doing something differently, starting today. It’s a new year, experiment with it. Let’s use our being, and our brain, as a lab. It’s a simple proposal to consider. Instead of reaching out to Mr. Google for almost anything, suspend the urge to do so. Notice when the urge shows up, be aware of it. Then set your internal alarm, just for a few minutes (you decide on the time). Repeat the question to yourself a few times, slowly. Let your brain do magic. It’s here for a reason, let’s use it to find the answer or solution. For bigger and more important issues, you can, in fact, recruit the Universe, your Higher Power, the Spirit, the Infinite Field (whatever you want to call it), to collaborate with you. Ask the question several times and wait for the answer. I guarantee it will come (I have tried it often). It comes through your intuition, often surprisingly, but you know that is the answer.
Ready to experiment? Set … Go well!
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