The Buddha defines making merit as the accumulation of good in one’s soul through three main practices: giving, virtue and meditation/mental development. Of course there are other practices that add to one’s merit, and one that I considered as a possibility while in Thailand was the merit of disconnecting from technology. This builds merit because being disconnected fosters connection to those I am/was with, encourages engagement with whatever I am doing/experiencing and allows me to get into a mental groove.
I also appreciate the little things even more. My second or third favorite time in Thailand was stumbling into a late night flower market in Bangkok, dazzled by the color and the pattern.
The less I am tethered to my technology the more I creative, happy, and engaged I am. I’m also more inclined to lose time in the right things, like nature, friends and making things.
So, I have numerous strategies for limiting my time online including timing myself, not turning on the computer, limiting the apps I have on my devices (no FB on the phone) and even using programs that block the various sites where I tend to lose track of time.
But the best way to disconnect is to go somewhere where there is no 3G/4G service and don’t carry any of your devices with you. Such was the way I approached Thailand, and how I am approaching weekends this year, turning off devices and leaving them at home. While I am discovering all kinds of loopholes that I use to convince myself that it’s okay to go online, noticing them is the first step, right?
What are your strategies for staying connected to what’s most important to you?