Increase Your Connection Capacity
When I say "connection capacity" I'm not speaking of your bit rate. It seems the more and more electronically and technologically connected we become, the more disconnected we are from even the ones that mean the most to us, much less people we don't know on an intimate level. As we shuffle along, heads buried in phones and computers and anything that vibrates and pings (Oooo, who just liked my Instagram photo???) we are losing touch with the most important capacity humans have – the capacity to love.
If we would take time to look around, talk to the cashier, smile at the person sitting across from us on the subway or wave to the guy that just let us cut in front of him as we realized we needed to make a left turn, we would see, for all our differences we are exactly alike. We all just want to give and receive love. Our ability to relate to others and feel empathy or compassion is decreasing proportionate to our insistence to checking our phone every two minutes.
The other weekend, I was sequestered in a workshop from Friday evening until Sunday morning. With the exception of a short break on Saturday late afternoon, my phone remained off the whole time. While we didn't spend time connecting to each other, we did spend time connecting to the deepest part of ourselves, working in silence. The feeling after coming out of that kind of inner journey is indescribable. I had a sense of inner peace and calm not only as a result from meditation but from disconnecting to what's not 'real.' You can't touch or feel the Internet. You can't witness it smile or hug it. You can't feel it in your hands. The less we connect on a 'real' level, the less human we become. And this is sad.
After our time in silence, I had no desire to reach out to anyone to talk about it or need to share my experience sans hugs with the people who shared it. However, my capacity to take in more of my outside world – the 'real world' – the people walking down the street, the ocean view on my drive home, the feeling of an early Sunday morning – had increased. I was so inspired I had to pull over and sit in front of the crashing sea just hours after a big storm. For me, one the most magnificent events during my week is a connection to Mother Nature. Walking back to my car, I saw two older men hug and ask how the other has been. My heart almost burst. I could tell their connection ran far and deep and it made me grin from ear to ear as I greeted them good morning.
Conversely, later in the day I was waiting for a woman who I believed to be exiting her parking spot. I even had my blinker turned on. However, as I glanced in the rear view mirror behind me I saw a young lady's grimace as she cursed me. I immediately became tense and defensive. After such an amazing day it kind of flipped a switch. I had to consciously make a decision to not let her agitation affect my joy and peace. It's challenging. Can you imagine going through your day with no positive encounters? No hugs. No smiles. No hellos. No one looking you in the eye asking you how you are and meaning it? I know someone who will ask me how I am while her head is buried in her phone or computer. It's soul crushing. And it's why we have the world we do today.
Quiet contemplation and meditation is my way of increasing my connection capacity. The days I don't I am more irritable and likely to react instead of respond to day-to-day aggravations and nuisances. That in turn affects my energy and mood, which affects every person with whom I come in contact. And not in a good way.
From time to time I also drive in silence or play classical music. I usually like to connect with the checkout attendee during any one of my daily grocery store visits. If somehow I get caught on my phone in the middle of the checkout line, I am embarrassed and feel a small shift in my heart.
You never know what you may miss when you choose your phone over the giggles of a child, the smile of a stranger or the touch of your partner. At the very least, I can guarantee what you're missing out on is a daily dose of Vitamin L. Love. It's a lack of love that's led us to where we are today and it's time to turn this ship around.
How can you increase your connection capacity?