Let’s start with a small activity – Lie down and place yourself comfortably. Close your eyes as if you wish to see nothing, take a deep breath. With every flow in and out, concentrate inward. Experience the deep connection you have with yourself, with every part of your body. Relish the quietness that surrounds you. Surrender to the gravity, to the oblivion, to the limitlessness and let go. In the words of William Wordsworth, rest and be thankful.
What is ‘unplugging’? To me, the art of unplugging is a dying art now slowly sprouting back to life. Why do I say that?
We live in a world where electronics drive every single conversation, leaving us mute to the complexity and delicacy of the emotions inside us. We are as much blind and deaf as we are watching and listening. We are far more polarized internally than externally. Do you know, a human being experiences 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day? Fascinating, right? And, our mind is continuously at work to delete, distort and generalize these thoughts. However, what worries me is what do we do with the ones that get retained with us? We don’t express much especially when our days are run down by massive workload, we come back home exhausted with strained eyes and body almost deprived of the strength it needs to convey anything. And, we go to bed only to rise and succumb to the same pattern the next morning. These thoughts get piled up into our head and become toxic noise over a period of time. Michael Neill’s perspective in The Space Within: Finding Your Way Back Home is, “Since our experience of life is really an experience of thought, the more we have on our mind, the more complicated everything seems, and the more the aperture of our consciousness tends to contract.” Speaking further of toxic noise, certified professional development coach, speaker and author, Erin Urban says, “Toxic noise doesn’t just blast out of your television or spew forth from your social media. We are profoundly impacted by all varieties of inputs in our lives.” By all varieties of inputs, she means the closest relationships we have. These relationships have the intensity to not only alter our emotions but also our responses to these emotions.
When we unplug ourselves from our distractions, we give in to the consciousness that propels our inner world. How?
Let me introduce you to an ancient Jewish ritual called Shabbat or The day of rest and its remarkable significance over here. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Shabbat is a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when we can set aside all of our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to higher pursuits. It is a lot more than praying in a synagogue or feasting at home, it is about unwinding, unplugging oneself from the noise. Arianna Huffington writes, “The etymology of “Shabbat” comes from the root Shin-Bet-Tav, and the idea is associated with two other commands, to remember (zachor) and to observe (shamor).” The observance of the day of rest allows us to remember that we all belong to the almighty and the almighty should we surrender. Remember the activity above, when we surrender we let go, we keep our worries aside and pause to revitalize ourselves. When we observe Shabbat, we count our blessings because we are the ones privileged and redeemed. Life Coach Barbara Waxman symbolizes Shabbat with ‘repotting’, a term coined by American novelist, essayist, literary critic and university professor John Gardner which means the act of examining oneself.
When we unplug, we connect better and deeper. Unplugging allows us to reflect on the three stages of our life – Where we were, where we are and where we wish to be. It enables us to examine our progress and if at all we need a change in course. It allows us to scrutinize the unwanted thoughts in our mind and dispose of them. It cleanses our mind from the deepest corners and allows us to think fresh. It removes the constant hustle we are trapped in and opens us to mindfulness. With the help of mindfulness we think better and when we think better, we aim better.