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Thoughts on Information Overload

A post expanding on something I wrote to FB earlier today:

I’ve come to the conclusion in the past few weeks that often if you want something to change or be different, you have to shut your mind off from all the thinking about the hows or the whats of it, and instead focus on living every moment in a way that feels natural and real to you. There comes a time when you have to drop efforts towards figuring stuff out, and come out of your mind, and refocus your energy on engaging with what is really, actually happening in the world around you and within you.

I think this is especially important in these days where we have so much information at our finger tips. It has become too easy to get taken away with every thought we have, pulling our devices out of our pockets and our bags to find a solution to every problem or an answer to every passing thought. But a lot of the time it’s best to simply sit with our thoughts alone and see where they lead us. To be left with questions unanswered, left to ponder them on our own and left to our own wondering imagination. Only then, without the input of some website or book or random person, can we get in touch with where our own intuition and creativity can bring us.

Even though I tend to pride myself on trying to live a life without lots of distractions, I find that I still leave plenty of room for too many distractions to come in and cloud up my own experience of my own perceptions.

To take some of the mystery out of what I’m talking about here, I’m going to be honest with what I’m referring to when I’m speaking about this right now.

I was feeling really depressed for a while. As the depression was dragging on, I was trying to figure out why I was depressed and what to do about it. The weeks continued to pass and the depression seemed only to deepen, with only slight moments of reprieve – because, in the end, all of my attention was on depression!

Then, I figured, maybe if I consciously look past the depression, push it aside and focus on what is right in front of me…

And I did and it has helped, a lot.

I still don’t know where exactly the depression came from, what was causing me to feel those feelings, but one thing I have realized is that refocusing my attention away from the problem of being depressed and over to living and acting in the prsent helped to alleviate a lot of the depression.

Of course, ignoring problems is never a good idea, and I’m not necessarily saying to do that. But if just focusing on a problem is getting you nowhere, then it’s maybe a good idea to step away. Sometimes, when you look at something too hard for too long, you get sucked in and everything else disappears. It can be that way with depression. So sometimes it’s a good practice to look away, to walk away, and *do* something else.

For me, most recently this meant limiting the input I was receiving from outside myself. Again, like I said, I was so focused on trying to find solutions to fixing my depression that it became all I could see anymore. So I stopped looking at it. I stopped researching the causes, and how to be happy, and how to live better… and just focused on living.

Here is my point: All over the internet, there are websites and articles and goddamn memes! telling us how to perceive the world and how to live and think and act every day. EVERY DAY. But! We don’t need someone to tell us how to get in touch with ourselves. You’re there, with you, all the time – and if you’re constantly taking in information about how to live from everything around you, chances are you’re actually ignoring your own intuition and your own self. The best way to get in touch with yourself is to stop taking in all the noise of that stuff and to sit in your own silence, sit in your own being. You don’t need to meditate. You don’t need to make it a spiritual experience, although for some people it can be one. Just feel what you’re feeling at every moment, and go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, I’ve started to feel my intuition out and go where that is guiding me in the moment.

Sometimes I get stuck watching YouTube for too long. Of course, this is another place we modern folks look for answers and input. But sometimes it’s best to turn that off. Stop trying to get away from yourself. And I think reading and listening to all this stuff about getting in touch with ourselves is actually a way of getting away from yourself! What a paradox!

There is no big secret. There are no magic words typed in front of a pretty picture that can manifest this for you. It’s already there, because you’re already there, you just have to refocus on it. And I think this is what bothers me about inspirational memes. It pulls me out of myself. Even when I agree with what they’re saying, they are still pulling me out of myself and my own experience.

We need to be creators. Memes and this stuff is another way of being acted upon. We are already acted upon in so many ways in our culture – just by simply walking down the street. And for some, this experience is more acute than for others, like say for women. To invite this into my life in my most private of spaces at my most private of times – like when I’m at home in my bed waking up to the day – seems almost blasphemous. It has been much better for my emotional and mental health to shut this stuff down and focus on living my own experience, whatever that is at any moment.

Of course this is something I’m still working on putting into practice, but I’m writing about it here to make note of it’s positive impacts so far.

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