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How easily the mind is distracted

Hardly a day goes by without some news item demanding our attention. It might be a scandal involving a public figure, it could be a story about ‘man-made climate change’ or any one of several current ‘crisis’ scenarios running concurrently across the media. Whichever it is that has been chosen as the flavour of the day, it will have been cleverly scripted to either play upon human fears or to spike public interest and concern; usually both.

With increasing reliance upon the internet, news on demand and the role played by social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik-Tok and others, information is readily available and swiftly shared across the globe. From the initial news release, comes further debate, comment and opinion from all quarters. Thus, the temptation to share one’s own opinion, simply by opening an app, employing a few keystrokes and waiting for the ‘likes’ to appear, is food for the brain, as a dopamine rush is sent gushing through the inner reward highways of the said organ, making us feel ‘good’. How often we justify our initial concerns about a particular news item with which we took umbrage and our subsequent response to it from the lofty headland of perceived superiority, where ‘we only posted to warn others’ or decided that ‘this is so wrong and that we have to expose it.’ Don’t misunderstand - our conscience is a powerful ally and our moral sense of right and wrong an essential tool in helping us navigate through life. As a wise man famously said, ‘The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’. But the information highways intrude deeply into our minds constantly, beckoning us to travel with the incessant flow of their traffic, away from quiet backwaters and leafy lanes in which our minds find peace and solace.

All of this is an affront to our inner peace and the natural state of being in which we find joy and happiness. We are not built to surf the information highways continually, without rest or respite. Technology is useful, yet highly demanding in an intrusive way and with the advent of AI is only going to become more so. We need to remind ourselves that we are humans, not machines – at least not yet.

Perhaps we should reflect on our place in the current scheme of daily life and try to allow more time for inner contemplation; focusing our mind on the inner being and the spiritual dimension, wherein lies our essential nature and the rich treasures that reside there. As with many aspects of life, balance is often the key. We are compelled to live in the world, but we are not of the world. If we stop to consider the possibility that ‘the world’ actually lives within us and that we are its creators, we may weigh up the impact of our own thoughts upon the reality that we perceive. Change our thinking, and the ‘world’ changes. Create, rather than follow. Know, rather than be ‘told’ what is to be ‘known’. Do, rather than be done unto.

This is news that is worth considering, even if it distracts you from today’s worldly news. Or rather, because of it.

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