Going without Media for 24 hours
Tuesday- 1:40 pm
It’s been three hours since I turned off my phone and vowed to go without media for 24 hours. This means no Internet, no T.V., no music, no phone, no radio, no magazines, and no newspapers. I decided to take on this little experiment out of curiosity; the fact that I simply could not imagine what life would be like without media served as enough incentive. A couple of hours later I came to several realizations. Certainly the various media vehicles we utilize have facilitated and enriched our lives in more than one way, it has made us more connected, more informed, and more distracted. I have been a student at the American University of Beirut for almost three years now, walking to class today I realized how utterly beautiful our campus is. How can it be that I’m just noticing this now? I’ve been surrounded by the same grand trees, the same breath taking view of the Mediterranean, the same cats lounging lazily under the sun, the same flowers have been blossoming, and the same architectural foundations that stood proud and glorious for centuries, still stand today. The answer was walking towards me in the shape of a girl in a blue dress. The girl was staring intently at her phone as her fingers typed away in a blurred rush, totally oblivious to the enlightening role she has played in my life today. So it hit me that the reason why I haven’t appreciated the splendor of my environment, is that I was too busy looking down at my phone to notice it. So I took a moment to pay tribute to my university. I strolled to Green Oval and took a seat on the grass that cushioned the ground. I watched people walk to their class with their phones on their ear, socialize by talking about the latest movie they’ve seen, study with their laptops in their laps, and tan while listening to their iPods. It didn’t surprise me that media was so dominant and while I sat their smiling at my new liberation I wondered why I haven’t done this more often, it was such a lovely day. Thinking about what I had done the day before, I noted that the majority of my activities involved interaction with the media in some way. Facebook, T.V. web surfing, all activities that typically take place indoors, all distractions. The question now becomes, what are we being distracted from?
After a long day of classes, lunch break becomes my favorite time of day. I usually spend that time eating while catching up with my shows, or reading articles on the Internet. Simple pleasures. Today, T.V. wasn’t an option and while I prepared my meal I kept asking myself what I was going to do now? I’m going to get bored, with nothing to watch while I eat. Then I remembered the new book I purchased and how excited I was to start “Buddha- His Life and Teachings and Impact on Humanity by Osho. So I finally did, and I doubt I would have, if ‘Boston Legal’ was an alternative.
At around five I came back from my last class of the day, I have two hours to kill before my exam at 7. Without media it felt like there was absolutely nothing to do. Then I remembered something I read in my book earlier today, “People are a little strange: they go on exploring the Himalayas, they go on exploring the Pacific, they go on reaching for the moon and Mars; there is just one thing they never try-exploring the inner being.” Exploring my inner being has been a goal of mine for a year now. I’ve immersed myself in a sea of spirituality and have progressed in my quest for inner peace, however in retrospect it feels like I could have progressed even more. Distractions. So I made another vow today, to develop a sense of awareness and resolve to not get too distracted, and to put more effort and energy into my goals. So I meditated. I haven’t meditated in a while now, and it is really hard to get your brain to concentrate, and focus on one thought at a time, but I spent a good hour trying. I felt connected to the world this afternoon, and I didn’t need my phone, or facebook, or the news. It was just me myself and I, and I realized, I’m not bad company to keep.
Tuesday-8: 30 pm
Back home from my exam, it’s such a relief to have it over. I have a feeling I did well, so right now I feel like celebrating except there’s no way I can think of to organize a shin dig. How am I going to reach my friends without a phone? Where would we go anyway, I can’t think of a place that doesn’t have music or a T.V. to serve as background noise. Speaking of which, music was the hardest thing for me to give up. I usually can’t leave the house without my IPod.
Starting to feel media withdrawal symptoms.
Wednesday- 1 pm
Last night’s celebration took the form of a nice long hot shower, and sitting in bed reading my book. After a while I felt inspired and started writing down some thoughts. I was asleep by 12 am and it was the best night’s sleep I had in a while. When I woke up this morning my first instinct was to reach for my phone, after the disorientation wore off, I remembered my phone was locked away in a closet in university. I have to admit, there were times when I felt something was missing but I’m glad I did this. After I make this post, the first thing I want to do is read the New York Times and skim through articles. I made an important decision though; I’m going to repeat this no media exercise once a month, I encourage people to try it, it is actually therapeutic and quite liberating.