Admit it: you think your smartphone is awesome. Maybe you’re even a little intimidated by it, or have a small crush on it–two ways we often feel about our best teachers. You may feel a sense of deflation when obliged to shut it off or stow it away.
But what can our smartphones really teach us? The answer is a little different than you might expect: it turns out the smartphone is the perfect role model, and always within reach.
So rather than encourage you to love your phone a little less, I’m going to tell you all the reasons why you should love it more—and even emulate it.
1. Your smartphone recharges whenever necessary.
Battery low? No problem: time to recharge. Without sufficient battery juice, your smartphone won’t be very good for anything. But neither will you. Even though you didn’t come with a cord to plug yourself into a wall and the electric grid, you did come with the ability to be aware when you are out of juice, and to take appropriate action: time to let your mind roam, or go to nature, or breathe, or nap. Your smartphone doesn’t “try” to keep going when it can’t. Neither should you.
2. Your smartphone is backed up.
You know you put all that valuable information somewhere else, so if the equipment fails, you didn’t lose what you need and want. But what or who has your back should your equipment—physical and mental—feel shaky? We have to know that we have support and back-up too, so we don’t lose it. Who or what can you turn to when you feel run down, out of resource, or just mighty stressed? Know your people. Make the call.
3. Your smartphone goes into sleep mode when it is not being used.
The screen does not display all its goods when it is not being actively used. Know when you have to give energy to the task at hand, and give it. Know when you don’t, and don’t.
4. Your smartphone knows exactly where it is at all times.
Your phone can always tell you what time it is, what day it is, and where you are geographically. Cultivate comparable awareness of your environment, so you can assess what its “flavor” is. How present are you to the moment at hand? What’s going on around you? Is your mind somewhere else entirely from where your body is right now?
5. Your smartphone is connected to the larger signal.
Your smartphone is always connected. If it doesn’t pick up the signal, it is useless. What signals are you getting? Where are you taking your cues from? Is there something that feeds your life and your ability to function optimally that you haven’t quite tapped into yet—that you need more of?
Seek for the signal—it’s an inside job.
6. Your smartphone is updated frequently
If you don’t update your phone, it slows down to the point of irritation and can’t process new information. Neither can you: If you are attached to ideas about yourself that are too old or outdated, or identity statements whose operating systems are not up to the present, you’re holding yourself back from the freshness of being an impermanent, changing self. Oh, it feels so damn good to be updated. Almost, almost, like liberation.
Essay with these pointers in mind.