Surviving the Screens

The glowing screens through which we now regularly communicate are a necessity, a nuisance, and an opportunity all at the same time. It’s impossible to know what this unique and challenging time will bring or how it will be remembered or influence our future lives. One thing that we can do, to a certain extent, is to attend to ourselves and the ways we interact with the technology that we’re using.

Here’s a short, simple practice to help you improve your relationship with your screen:

  1. Sitting in your chair, face your screen the way you normally do.
  2. Next, swivel your chair or yourself (your whole body, not just your face) on the chair, slightly one side, so that you’re facing away from the screen. Notice where you’re being supported by your chair and by the floor. Connect with your awareness of the space around you; up, wide, forward, and back. Then turn back to the screen. Do this several times, enough to gather some information about any differences you feel between facing the screen and not facing it. This is an experiment, so approach it with lightness and curiosity. Anything you notice or don’t notice is simply information, and your experience may be different the next time you try it.
  3. If you become aware of some differences, turn away from the screen again, and reconnect with the space around you, and the support underneath you. Then slowly turn toward the screen. If at any point, you notice something such as tightening or bracing within yourself, pause for a moment. Ask yourself if it’s possible to quiet that response a bit as you connect with the support of the chair and floor, and the 3-D environment again. As you turn toward the screen, you may find that you’re able to bring a different quality of attention to your experience. A shortcut that’s possible at any time is to look up and away from the flat screen and reconnect visually with your surroundings and the present moment.

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