By Bhanumathi Narasimhan.The writer was Chairperson of the International Women's Conference, focussed on Women and Technology, which was held in Bangalore from February 3-5, 2012 at the Art of Living International Foundation . See our detailed report elsewhere on the home page.
We live in a time where ‘Google’ is among the first 100 words a child learns, a time where we do not need to extend our hand to make a friend; just a finger is enough. A whole universe of information is available at our fingertips. An entire network of people, known and the unknown, all seem to be connected, there for each other, yet not really there. Families separated by thousands of miles can talk to each other; see each other with the help of technology. Children from remote villages get a glimpse of the world outside through technology. The field of medicine and medical diagnosis greatly relies on the accuracy of the technology that it uses.
As creators and users of technology, we have been greatly empowered. Yet this power often comes at the cost of becoming entirely dependent on this very technology. Our enthusiasm to explore and to know is often limited to internet searches. We do not go out and explore nature and lose the human touch. There is nothing that can replace the experience of touching snow or feeling the coolness of the flowing river-the majesty of the Himalayas or the tranquility of the Ganges.
While it is much easier to know more about anything by connecting to the world-wide-web, the enthusiasm to discover and learn firsthand is vanishing and only the virtual experience remains. This by no means is the real thing.
Technology should not be the cause for this. Instead we should discover ways in which technology can help to facilitate our spirit of enquiry. What is the middle-path in the use of technology and how do we find it? It is a fine line of balance; to know how much to depend on information and when to rely on intuition. It is a skill; to deepen our knowledge with information yet broaden our vision with the real experience. This skill and balance are essential to avoid the risk of overexposure and fatigue, to keep the creativity flowing and the enthusiasm rising. This is where spirituality helps.
Spirituality is not a dogmatic rule. It is dynamic action, continuously accommodating and adapting to changes in circumstances and the environment. It makes you ever accepting of change. This ability to adapt is essential in a technological environment where the need to upgrade and update oneself is imperative to staying ahead.
In the race to keep up with technology, we should not forget the mind that created it. We are used to charging our phones and laptops. What can we do to re-charge ourselves? For the human mind to be more effective, it needs to be charged through meditation.
Meditation brings centeredness. It is the subtler technology for mind management. It calms the agitated mind. It connects us to our source and brings us back home to ourselves. It is important that we connect to the inner-net and not just the internet. A mother knows intuitively what her child needs even before it begins to speak. She is a master of the language of the heart. This ability to connect with life around us is innate and needs to be nurtured. Spirituality is the key to this cosmic connection.
When we know that we are the source, that we are ever connected to the supreme intelligence, we can move ahead with a sense of belongingness and responsibility for the transformation we bring about with the technologies that are available to us. The same finger that can unleash a nuclear bomb can also spread peace. Walking this line of balance with effortless grace is the skill that meditation brings in us so naturally.
Living the values of caring and sharing, of seeking the highest truth and ultimate joy, of giving love and wisdom, are the signs of an individual blossoming to his or her full potential through spirituality and technology should be an aide in this journey to make life a celebration.
Listen to Bhanumathi’s composition : Quantum of Love: http://iwc.artofliving.org/iwc/app/quantumoflove.mp3
For more details of the conference: http://iwc.artofliving.org/iwc/
Bangalore February 12 2012.