By Leni Cellini
In case you did not notice, Lent fasting has been going on for a while. Just as in 2012 and 2013, I am experimenting this year with not having Internet. Or at least I try to live more three-dimensionally. And I realize just like before how terribly I’m hooked on my laptop. Despite all good intentions: it still is hard work. Trial and error. Again and again. *Sigh*
I had, however, hoped that after winter retreat at Plum Village, I would be free from my Internet addiction. Unfortunately, even three months without a computer were not sufficient to eliminate this compelling digital thirst. Sobering. Frustrating. But I’m happy that I’m not the only one.
Perhaps you, dear reader, have also sometimes suffered from this. Perhaps we as a society are even losing it a little. Over and over again surfing the web on the wifi waves of unbridled information, yearning for … yes, what exactly? Connection? Confirmation? Distraction? A combination of all that?
New Year in Plum Village
In Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh gave us a beautiful sentence to practice: New Year, New Me. Honestly at first I did not think much of it. The fact that I would have to be someone new made me feel resistant. Something in me protested against the idea to change, to grow, to evolve. My focus was just to accept myself just the way I am. Or to not have to be anyone else. And then Thay claimed that we had to become a new person. Very confusing!
Still, through time I came to love this little phrase. “New year, New Me” gives me a sense of freedom, of being able to break free from old patterns. Having the ability to change, to be free. In this new year, I can decide to do things differently. To no longer do what I always do. To react differently. To recognize my autopilot without being stuck in it. For instance, choosing love instead of criticism, courage over fear, or simply turning off my computer when I have had enough. It reminds me of this wonderful quote:
If you always do
what you always did,
you will always get
what you always got.
Thich Nhat Hanh asked us to look back on 2013. Was it a good year? Which moments filled your heart? Which were difficult moments? What would you prefer to tackle differently in 2014? Because, of course, that was his point: if we continue to think, say and do the same as in 2013 , then 2014 will not really be a ‘new year.’ Then it’s just more of the same. Same year.
It’s got to be … 3D !
I looked back on 2013 and found that it had been a good year for me. Ole! I’m happy with who I am and all I’ve done. The steps I made. Realizing that I really did well! But there was one thing that was evident when Thay asked us if we had any regrets: the time I’ve wasted on the computer. The hour-long surfing sessions and numerous email conversations. In this new year I am determined to lose myself less in emails, Facebook and YouTube. Hopefully this time I will manage!
Lent is an excellent time to pursue this. One more month to go. I would sincerely like to try to waste less time and live more 3D. Go to watch the sunset. Or watch the ducks on the pond. Feel the wind through my hair. The sun on my face. And look at the moon. My dear sister moon, which I so often lose sight of…
That ‘s the beauty of Lent, I think: by living simpler for a while, we can touch the abundance of life. Back to basics. Whether it is by eating less sweets, refraining from eating meat, doing less shopping or critically examining our use of the Internet, it really gives you the opportunity to experience that we really do not need it anymore. There is already enough. It’s good. Less is more. The next few weeks, I will try to feed this sense of abundance in me and to completely let it penetrate within me. Wish me luck, my dears! And have fun in 3D
The next song is a tribute to the 3-dimensional life. I dedicate it to all Internet addicts among us. The lyrics can be found on YouTube.