It has been almost a month since I wrote my last post. I thought I would write an article once I had gotten over my jet lag over the last few days of continuous air travel. I was fortunate enough to have spent some vacation time 'off the grid' so to speak for most of this month. I left my smartphone and laptop at home and minimized my internet usage to just checking in with family every few days to let them know where I was and do the odd online bank transaction.
I spent 3 weeks in Jamaica, and for those who haven't ever been it is an amazing place. Coming here, and just enjoying the sights and sounds of this tropical island in the Caribbean made me realize the importance of disconnecting from the daily grind and just enjoying life. With the advent of modern technology it makes communication with others easier, but I thought I would pose this question? Have we become too dependent on technology? I certainly believe so.
Now you may ask what this has to do with martial arts or training. Well, it has a lot to do with our health both spiritual and physical. Most of us, myself included are often tethered to a computer or a smartphone. It is the way we must do business in this day and age. But, for the purpose of truly enjoying my 3 weeks of vacation, I only took with me a digital camera, a journal, a backpack and a suitcase of clothes. I find that having a detox from technology every so often makes me realize what else is out there in the world, besides what is in my inbox and on my Facebook feed.
In fact, I often had no idea what day it was whilst I was away, as I was immersed in the scenery and activities on offer during my tour. I made some new friends, and now that I am back am connected to them on Facebook. In this instance, I think it is alright to use technology for the purposes of keeping in touch with friends and family. However, I don't feel like we should live our lives totally online. Those 3 weeks when I was away, I didn't have a care in the world and all that mattered to me was where I was going and whats on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
That to me, is taking care of yourself as a society we are so absorbed with our digital life, sometimes we forget that it can all disappear in the blink of an eye when our phone crashes or our computer is hacked. Life is too short and to be connected 24/7 serves nobody well. We must find time to recover on a physical level and most importantly a spiritual level. I remember what life is like without the use of computers, tablets, and smartphones.
My generation was the last generation to grow up without the use of PC technology. Frankly, I think kids today are a lot dumber then our generation as they are so dependent on technology and the internet they have lost the capacity to learn for themselves. Instead of learning to read a street directory or to research their assignments using an Encyclopedia like I used to, they have become so reliant on 'Googling' everything. I think kids of today, have also become more anti social because of being exposed to this technology at such a young age.
Whilst it may seem advantageous to have the world at your fingertips, I feel that sometimes we get so caught up in the cyber world, we lose initiative and creativity. When I write my books, I take a notebook and a pen, and use my imagination to create the story line. I don't refer to the world wide web, I rely on my imagination to capture the moment. I only use the PC to type up the final draft, before publishing the books and my digital camera to capture the pictures. That is all.
Whilst people have mocked my 'old school' writing style, I find when I put pen to paper I am able to create a world using descriptive words to 'connect' my readers to my reality. Using the subconscious mind, I observe my surroundings and capture details one would normally miss if they were just filming everything on Facebook Live. Sometimes, a little bit of mystery and intrigue helps set the pace when writing a book. And I feel that comes from writing books using a pen and paper.
Coming back to my case in point, we have been blessed with the gift of life. When you are in your final days, you aren't going to remember that 3 hour session of Candy Crush or what your best friend said on Facebook a fortnight ago about their night on the town. You are going to remember your life experiences. Your first date, your first drive in your parent's car, your first day at the office, your graduation from university among other milestones in your life.
Without going all philosophical on you when training in the Martial Arts, besides the obvious physical techniques and drills, practice spending time away from the world. Every 3 months or so, I go hiking up in the hills and just strap on a backpack with some food and water and bring a small group of friends with me. My friends are grateful I organize these trips as they now see the importance of going 'off the grid'
Those are the times I remember, not playing Scrabble online or Angry Birds. So do yourself a favor. Find some time every now and again to go on an adventure. You can either go solo or with friends or family. You will feel different afterwards, and balance is the key to leading a healthy life. And that is what you must do to become a well rounded martial artist. Balance your life, both mentally and physically.
To learn more about the effects of extreme computer usage and depression / anxiety read the following article. Thanks to The Guardian for publishing this article. Click Here to read the article.