We are living in a time that offers us countless ways of escaping real life. And while clicking on headlines on the internet might not be as taboo or destructive as an opium habit, it is still a form of distraction that steals us away from reality and eats away at free time we could be spending with ourselves, our loved ones, and the natural world.
I am not writing this article as some catchy ironic gimmick. I do appreciate hearing that people have read something on this blog that has inspired them. But I honestly wish that more people would spend less time online and inhabit their three dimensional life once again. So to share that message I’m taking time from my own real life to remind all those that come across this message to wake up and rejoin reality. So now, without further ado, here are four reasons you shouldn’t read articles online:
#1. You will not improve your life, your health, your intellect, or your happiness by clicking on internet links.
We will not get a healthy, strong body by reading bite-sized articles on fitness and nutrition, nor will we live up to our potential by reading a self-improvement blog. Real changes in life only happen in the three dimensional world.
#2. You are not likely to learn anything of value.
Many internet articles are weak efforts at capturing our attention long enough so that we can be exposed to advertising. They state the obvious, regurgitate information that others have already shared, and create content with little substance.
Odds are that the “news” is full of information that is just going to add clutter to our mind and expose us to horrible things that we could have avoided exposure to. If we hadn’t read it, most likely it would have had absolutely no affect on our life, but because we read it, the content is now affecting our thoughts. Yes, there is suffering in the world, but we aren’t doing anything to improve our situation as human beings just by browsing the internet.
#3. You are going to die.
You are most likely completely aware of this, but it’s still good to remind yourself of this fact fairly often. Knowing that we have a limited amount of time can help us chose to spend it wisely. Every minute you spend on the internet is a minute you didn’t live your real life. You’ve hit the pause button but the clock is still counting down. You aren’t dead yet so get up and get back on the field.
#4. You could be doing something better.
We have the power to free ourselves from the screen and do something that inspires us. Even a simple task is engaging when we stay in the present moment. I love to drink a cup of coffee or tea and try not to think about anything that is not physically present at that very moment, no reading, no planning, no remembering . . . just the sensation of the cup in my hands, the taste of my drink, the view in my field of vision, the feeling of inhabiting my own body.
What does it feel like to just sit by yourself? Is there loneliness? Anxiety? Fear? Was the time spent online a distraction from something uncomfortable to face, or is it relaxing or even blissful to just sit and observe? Follow the white rabbit and explore what it is like to just be you, unplugged, living your real life.
Or go for a walk and see what you can notice. At dusk in the summertime there are dozens of huge dragonflies racing just over people’s heads in town, yet most people are completely unaware of them as they walk down the street. Or write a letter to someone you’d like to stay in touch with. Letter writing is becoming a lost art, yet the process of deciding what is worth sharing, and taking the time to write the story by hand, gives us a chance to consider what is most meaningful in our lives and to share that in a private, personal way. The options are endless, but even the simplest activity can pull you back into the real world we inhabit.