Beating the Drum on Techno Junkies

Beating the Drum

The Techno Junkies

By Beverly Blanchard
True North Perspective
Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario. She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.

I have been an advocate of meditation for years. I practice different forms of it in my daily life. It has become a way of life for me that I believe has assisted me in managing stress and making better choices in my life.

For many people when they hear the word meditation, they automatically associate it with yoga. They conjure images of having to sit cross-legged while they chant some mantra. A discipline practiced on a daily basis for a specified period of time with the intent to silence the mind.

Yet meditation really isn’t about sitting silently for hours and staring at your navel. It is more than we are being sold in our current consumer-driven society. Meditation is about awareness of your surroundings, thoughts, breathing and emotions. It is about being tuned in, tapped in, and turned on to your inner voice. It is a moment to moment practice.

Last week I took a trip to Sault Ste. Marie. As I prepared for the travel portion of my trip, I decided my meditation exercise would involve conscious awareness. I would observe everything around me as if it was the first time I was seeing it. In other words, I would pretend I was some outer space alien beamed down to watch what went on in airports on Mother Earth.  

So I called a taxi and off I went on my journey. After getting my boarding pass, I proceeded to the security area. Now when you wear as much silver as I do it is inevitable that you set the alarms off and are seen as a security threat. After being patted down at security, I made my way to the lounge to await my flight. I nestled into a seat beside the window and began observing the activities on the tarmac.

What did I see? There is a bustling community out there. Each crew member is doing their thing. Some are laughing and joking around with each other. Most of the people working on the tarmac seem to be having a good time. None of them seem to be checking a cell phone.

In the lounge, however; there was a very different story being played out among the people awaiting their flights. No one talks to anyone. No one looks at anyone. No one smiles. Everyone is focused on a screen. It could be a computer screen or a handheld device and it gives the impression that these devices are the only companions they can interact with.

Standing in line as I wait to board the plane, I watch as people frantically pull out their cell phones in a last minute attempt to make that last call or check their email or text some message. At one point, I become somewhat worried. Could it be that we have become a society addicted to our cell phones? A few of these individuals appear to look like they may suffer from what Big Pharma will inevitably call cell phone connections syndrome (CPCS). I am sure there will be a commercial marketing some new pill.  Are you feeling anxious? Worried that you will miss a call? You may be suffering from CPCS. Ask your doctor for the latest pill.

It is coming. Remember what happened when one of the service providers went down? Remember the rage that some people had when they found themselves connectionless?

Well the flight arrives safely at the Billy Bishop Airport and no sooner do we touchdown do I hear the bing, bing bing of people’s cell phones as they turn them on. As we are deplaning, there are those who cannot even wait until we are in the terminal. I suspect their calls or emails are very important. Perhaps they are even life threatening.

Having a stopover, I made my way to the lounge area. There I sat observing my surroundings. Once again, no one looks at anyone because they are consumed with either their cell phones or computers. Perhaps they are afraid of communicating with a real human being? They sit in a room full of people and yet these technological gizmos are what they consider to be their only lifeline.

Years ago I read a story about a Cree man who sat in a hotel window observing the people wandering in the city streets in Montreal. It was in the late 1800s. He was taken back at how no one smiled or acknowledged their fellow street dwellers. I am sure if he sat with me in the airport in today’s world, he would be saddened by our lack of connection with other human beings.  

Our technological advancements have not made us more connected. We have been lulled into a false sense of security. Those technological little gizmos we carry around with us have made us more disconnected and less civilized. We have become slaves to a technology that is sucking the life force out of us and we seem to have forgotten how to interact with each other.

It is unfortunate that no one recognizes that those little gizmos will never tell us they love us. They will never comfort us in our time of need. Only a human being can do those things.

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