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Distraction, or Enchantment?

There was a time, when the thing I’d take everywhere with me was a good book: from room to room, on public transport, in my work bag, on my bedside table.

In life’s moments-between, I’d steal a few chapters. Before I got out of bed, on my way to work, on my lunch break, before going to sleep.

I’d emerge from its pages feeling enriched, comforted, or enchanted.

When did I swap that book for taking a smartphone everywhere?

Diving into my phone in spare moments – feeding myself ‘news’ or social media – leaves me feeling (mostly) fear, anger and distraction.

Why do I choose that which impoverishes, rather than enriches?

It’s as if, in seeking an escape from the human experience, I grasp at a more afflicted version of it, and feel obliged to join in.

Something I heard on a weekend retreat (from Paramananda) comes back to me now. A passing comment that there may be more benefit in reading a good novel than a spiritual text.

Personal development books have become the spiritual texts of our times. Having abandoned my beloved novels for a time to fall down that rabbit hole, I feel their absence now.

There is a place for books that take us deeper into ourselves. For me, they’ve supported some truly liberating discoveries.

And there is a place for books that take us outside of ourselves, to different realities and perspectives – whether storytelling or non-fiction. If we are willing to offer up our humble curiosity.

Books that bring us enrichment, comfort and enchantment.

There is a way back to that.

Less ‘fact’, more fiction.

Less familiar, more fascinating.

Less time scrolling through opinions, more time soaking up nourishment.

Perhaps I could start by swapping them back: leaving the phone unattended, and carrying around a good book instead.

I can choose – which to pick up more often: distraction, or the possibility of enchantment.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great post! This is so true, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and have recently rediscovered the countless joys of reading books. We think the informational overload of smartphones is irreplacable, but we are sacrificing so much more than we realize when we choose the quantity over quality approach of endless scrolling. Thanks for sharing this!

    Like

    July 13, 2020
    • I’m glad I’m not alone in that! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Happy reading 📚

      Like

      July 18, 2020

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