Challenges of the Super Now
Last week in my blog “The Intersection of the Super Now and the Cyborg World” I wrote about how today, because of the mind-boggling advances in digital technology that allow us, and often demand us, to be in communication 24/7, we are in the SUPER NOW, which is the old NOW on steroids.It’s the old story—good news and bad news, and they both have to do with the instantaneous communication that digital technology creates for us.
On the good side, the SUPER NOW gives us instantaneous communication with everyone in our various tribes (all the people we know personally and professionally with whom we want to maintain our good standing). We also have instant and interactive access to world events in real time,as they happen. But the SUPER NOW also poses a new challenge:How do we stay in the NOW—present and focused on and with whomever and whatever is in our path, truly experiencing what is actually occurring in the moment—and deal with the constant digital flow that threatens our relationship with the NOW by kidnapping our attention away from the NOW? It begs the question:Is this information flow enhancing or killing off our true enjoyment of life? When is it appropriate to be online through digital technology and when is it appropriate to disconnect?
In order to experience life as it’s truly happening we must let go of our evaluations, judgments, and past experiences. We must allow the present to exist as it is, without changing it. When we are in the present, we are being mindful; the opposite of being mindful is when we are on automatic pilot, allowing our past experiences to act as a filter to our experience of the present, blocking us from actually being in the present.Being mindful and in the present allows us to make choices appropriate to what we are actually experiencing; when we allow our past-based judgments, evaluations, and interpretations to be added to the present, we can’t help ourselves from reacting automatically as opposed to mindfully, which may not always be appropriate.
When we are here now—in the present—we are not in the future and we are not in the past; our being is immersed in whatever is occurring in this very moment in this very place.This immersion in the present is the NOW.
This is why the SUPER NOW, with its constant flow of new digital information requiring constant interactive responses,poses challenges for being in the NOW.How can we spend an evening with someone we love and truly be with that person here and now when we constantly feel the tug of the SUPER NOW pulling us to our smartphone to check for emails, texts, and voicemail 24/7? It’s the same question when we are out hiking through the countryside, wanting to commune with nature. How do we appreciate the lushness of the trees, the rushing of a stream,the sights, smells, and sounds of nature, when we are constantly checking our smartphone?
Our central nervous system is designed to work on a fear-based reward system.Each new incoming message carries a potential for a reward or a punishment,and we believe that each demands a response. When we develop the habit of checking and responding immediately, we can become addicted to this never-ending flow and its perceived demands.
How does this sabotage our intimate relationships with people and our other experiences in the present?Does texting and emailing take us out of the NOW and right back into our heads at the cost of constant mental chatter while increasing our anxiety?
This is a very perplexing problem, which I’ve personally been dealing with by evaluating what’s appropriate at different times of the day.For example,during the workday, since the focus is work, instant communication may take precedence, and my “professional tribe”gets the digital right-of-way over other tribes I’m a member of (romantic relationship, family, friends, organizations, clubs).
The bottom line is that in the SUPER NOW as in the old NOW, the challenge is actually to be in the NOW, rather than to be run by what I call the machinery—which is our mind on automatic pilot, controlled by our past programming and the habits we’ve developed as the result of that programming.The SUPER NOW doesn’t demand that we become addicted to communicating digitally; it poses the challenge for us to be mindful about our digital communication as we are with our whole lives. Whatever you’re doing, do it mindfully so that you’re fully present and in the moment; being here now is life’s greatest reward!
- 10 Oct, 2013
- Posted by Steve Fogel
- 0 Comments