Being Still

I’ve been having a hard time just sitting still.

Like being in the silence.

With nothing distracting me.

And I’ve been thinking about that lately.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. When was the last time you sat there with nothing to distract you? No youtube video, no Netflix, no Instagram or TikTok.

Just you. Alone with your thoughts.

Alone with yourself.

When was the last time you had just a few moments of silence and immediately, almost desperately, pulled out your phone and scrolled social media or played a game? (Or checked crypto prices like I’ve been doing lately haha) It’s like we’re trying to escape some kind of excruciating pain.

I have done a lot of research over the past few years about health and psychology as I’ve struggled with my own mental health issues. I’m a big believer in finding root causes of issues rather than just chasing symptoms away. I think that when we focus on symptoms rather than causes we end up doing a lot more harm than good in the long run.

In my searching I have come to understand the importance of processing trauma and painful emotions. We all have them. And we carry them with us and they affect pretty much every moment of our lives without us realizing it. Until we process them, they will just stay with us.

And they can cause enormous pain. And the pain is so intense that we just can’t bear it and we search for something to escape it.

Enter the drug of technology.

I feel like I’m at a very interesting age and situation. I’m 37 and single. I remember what it was like to not have a cell phone. Like not just not have a smartphone, but not have a cell phone at all. They barely existed when I was in high school. Only the rich kids had one, and the only option was the Nokia brick phones and the only thing they could do was make calls and play Snake. Couldn’t even text.

I know, make phone calls? Who does that?! People are like terrified by the thought of actually making a phone call nowadays. But that’s the only option we had for a long time. (I mean, we used to have to call our friends on a phone that was literally connected to a wall. People’s heads would explode if that happened today)

As much as technology has its benefits, I feel like just maybe the cons outweigh the pros. Yeah, we can talk to and share information with anyone in the world any second of any day no matter where they are. And that’s pretty cool. I have learned so much from youtube videos. Like pretty much any skill I use on a regular basis I learned from youtube. And that’s what I think education should be.

We can learn about the things going on in other parts of the world. We can help people in need. We can connect with people. We can literally see and talk to someone on the opposite side of the world in seconds using a little device we keep in our pockets.

And that’s really cool.

But I think it has come at a cost.

I don’t really want to focus all of my attention here on technology and social media. I don’t think that’s the only problem. And maybe it’s not even the biggest or main problem. It’s not the root of the issue.

But it’s like a drug. It’s something that enables us to escape.

It enables me to escape.

Myself.

My problems.

My pain.

If there’s a second of quiet, my mind desperately starts searching for something to fill it. For something to distract me. Like my brain is absolutely terrified of it.

So I constantly find myself pulling out my phone or pulling up youtube or watching some show on Hulu.

And I’m sad about it.

Because truthfully, in order to really be happy and healthy we have got to be able to be present. To sit in the moment and let it be enough. To let our thoughts and feelings be enough. To let ourselves be enough. Just as we are.

And in order to do that we’ve got to be able to process our emotions and our traumas.

And in order to do that we’ve got to sit with them and feel them and accept them.

At least that’s the theory.

But here’s the thing. I’ve done that. I’ve tried it. Many, many, many times. Over and over and over again. Very sincerely. For years.

And I believe in it. I believe it’s important and good.

But the reality has crushed me.

I can accept that there might be pain along a journey. That’s fine. But when you never experience benefits from something that is also very painful, that’s a problem. When you never feel good, no matter how long you practice something like this, then it isn’t worth it, is it?

Even if it’s true. Even if I have no choice and I have to sit with and feel and process all of my pain before I can be at peace or feel positive, there is a breaking point where it’s no longer even worth it. Or where your body or mind just can’t handle the pressure anymore.

That’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately. I get stuck between knowing that a coping mechanism like binging Stranger Things or Smallville isn’t healthy, and being burned out from trying to heal all of my issues.

And I just seem to go back and forth between the two. Except the burnout is winning lately.

I’ve also been thinking about mercy and grace and how there should be some of that available to people like me who just get so tired after the years of trying to manage or survive. I mean I definitely believe that it is available. I just don’t know how to access it really because it requires you to be able to feel good feelings, and if your body just doesn’t really know how to do that, then it can be available but you can’t get to it.

So I don’t really know what the point of this post is. It’s rambly and a little incohesive. But I guess it’s honest. I’m just a little tired right now. (That’s to say nothing about the state of the world, which I feel the weight of all the time)

To sum up, technology can do so much good but it has also cultivated really unhealthy mental states (there is also a lot of data on the harm EMFs do to human bodies, but that’s another post) and enabled us to keep escaping ourselves and each other. We need to be able to be present and let the moment be enough. And let ourselves be enough. And I don’t know how to do that very well. Maybe there is more to it.

I do think about why would we need to process all of our pain if Jesus has already done it? Can’t we just give it to Him and let it go? I believe we can, absolutely. Just, again, how do we do it?

I don’t really know the answer. I’ve been trying to do it for years.

Kind of a sad post I guess, but sometimes life is sad and that’s okay.

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