“The fact is, we now have amazing power (literally) at our fingertips. But how often do we go online and lose ourselves (and our power) in a brain daze?”

I recently picked up my smartphone to call my daughter to ask her for the address of a restaurant we both liked. She replied, with a trace of bemused impatience in her voice, “Mother, it’s always nice to hear from you … but you are holding a computer in your hand. You can find out anything you want. You don’t need to ask me.”

I got the message she intended. Rather than rely on my daughter to get me the address, I used my smartphone to Google it, and later used my phone’s GPS to direct me there.

But I got a bigger message, too.

I, and likely you, too, have a powerful network of knowledge and information within arm’s reach. Mine’s in the outside zipper pocket of my purse. Yours may be in your pocket, on your kitchen table, or beside your bed.

9911The fact is, we now have amazing power (literally) at our fingertips. But how often do we go online and lose ourselves (and our power) in a brain daze: We log on to answer an email and end up watching cutesy videos of kittens chasing laser beams, mindlessly checking Facebook feeds, or wandering from one marginally interesting blogpost to another. But in the end we come away no wiser and no happier than we were before.

The power to choose

Instead, we can choose to use this amazing technology to learn to live better, to get tips on staying healthy, to explore consciousness, to connect meaningfully with loved ones, or to listen to talks by world leaders, spiritual masters, or motivational speakers. Here are some more choices we can make:

  • We can learn how to save a few dollars with Groupon—and we can use the power of a search engine to learn how to save plants and animals that are headed for extinction.
  • We can use social media to crack wise, and we can use our posts to spread wise and hopeful, helpful, loving, or supportive thoughts. We can complain about politics, or dig deeper and research the complexities of of an issue that disturbs us.
  • And then, too, we can turn it all off and turn inward for five minutes—or 20—or 40—instead. (We can even download apps to help us meditate or practice other forms of mindfulness.)

The point is, not only do we hold a powerful computer in our hands … we hold a choice in our hands. It’s up to us how we will use this amazing technological gift.

So, before you Google away another day, take a moment to see where you want that smartphone to take you. Set an intention for the time you spend when you’re online. What do you want to learn or experience in that vast web of knowledge?

As for me, I think I’ll try to find a lovely restaurant where I can meet my daughter for lunch so I can thank her for inspiring me to use my power well!

IMG_2994