At this very moment, as I type, I can see cars moving in an endless convoy down the main road. It’s a noisy flow of metal and smoke; a constant drone, ebbing and flowing with the tide of people. Across the road I see an apartment complex, one of those that seem as if they’re made of little TV sets piled on top of one another. I can see right inside – more screens, people on their couches, somebody playing the piano, a little girl trying to ride her bike on the balcony.
It reminds me of the bleak vision I have of the future.
Due to catastrophic over-population, living space has grown upwards. Everyone lives in a tiny box, each one a small unit of a complex so tall, it peaks over the clouds. There are no more trees, no parks, no clean expanses of water, no blue skies. The surface of the earth is nothing but a breathing micro-chip. Our basic human instincts can’t handle that – so everyone has projections on all four walls of forests and beaches, and recordings of birds which are strange to the children born who will never see one. But of course, it will be interrupted by advertisements, talk shows, movies. Distraction is the strongest form of propaganda. Only the rich can afford the ultimate luxury: green spaces, windows and silence. Silence from the buzz of computers, cars, machines, and TV.
I imagine how children will read about the times when the world was beautiful and full of exotic creatures and expanses of oceans, forests and mountains. Oh, how they will wish that they were alive when we were, free to enjoy life’s simple gifts.
Yet so many of us don’t realise how lucky we are to be alive now. Including myself. I’m nowhere near being a ‘master of mindfulness’. There are days in which I spend most of my time on the computer, watching TV, becoming numb to any sense of time or anything going on around me. When I snap out of it, I never feel good. I feel lazy and guilty. Something else I’m trying to avoid is listening to music whenever I go outside on a walk. Being able to use all my senses is crucial for me to feel present and at peace, and I can’t be conscious of the world around me when I have earphones in.
We are too afraid of silence. Armed with weapons of distraction, we fill the gaps of silence and time with music, tv, and endless scrolling on a cold, blue screen. There is so much background noise that it’s easy for me to lose sight of just how simple, and quiet, life can be.
In an ideal world, where I had a lot more money, I would buy a property on the New South Wales highlands. It would be a place for me to visit and disconnect from everything, practically forcing me to be mindful. It’s a clichéd idea, but in all honesty I think that is symptomatic of our innate desire to live a life closer to how our ancestors did. There would be work to do, maintaining the garden and fixing things around the property. I’d make sure to be around in spring when the flowers bloom, and in winter when the chill sets in. It would be simple; no internet or screens, only books, plenty of space, and good company.
Our desire to ‘get away’ is capitalised upon by businesses, offering peace in massage treatments, yoga retreats and other things, but I think ‘getting away’ is much more simple than that, it’s not something you need to buy. Practice mindfulness, and do it in your way.
Enjoy fresh air, draw pictures (you don’t have to be good at it!), make things with your own two hands, and enjoy silence. Create your own island in a world of noise. There really is nothing better.
Thank you for reading!! I’d love for you to share with me how (and if) you practice mindfulness in your life.
– Omara. xx