What happens to our body-minds when we are online?
The same thing that we would experience if we were in the center of an enormous construction site, filled with people we know, all of whom are working their own tasks and hollering out loud, perhaps at you, perhaps not.
On a construction site, there is a real sense of immediacy, the movement of large and heavy and potentially dangerous— high awareness of space and time are needed. The internet gives us this sense of urgency but with a collapsed space-time. Multiple platforms for multiple projects allow us to layer construction sites one over the other, simultaneously responsive to building, demolishing, planning, renovating different projects in the singular space of the mind.
It’s an alternate reality of infinite density.
Time dilates— we get lost in the timelessness of not-thinking, just doing. Without psychological time, thoughts do not interrupt us— we can instantly act on any desire before a thought forms. The mental energy flows singularly towards the screen, even if dancing between browsers, apps, calls, texts.
Without psychological time, which we feel through thinking and intuiting, the mind forgets about physical time, which we feel through breathing.
Without breathing, the body-mind is inundated in all that we want and can and must do.
This is a strange sort of blessing: we can only afford to be lost in an alternate sense of space-time when the body-mind are absolutely comfortable and safe. If ancient humans were able to design and develop the iPhones, we would have died out long ago. We had to busy ourselves with seeking food, protecting ourselves from predators and warring tribes.
So that we have worked our way into lives of such comfort is a more a miracle than the internet itself.
The broader pespective lends a bit of humor to the way we wander around reality, dazed and confused, needing to outsource our self-awareness to fitness trackers, health apps, and watches that don’t need to tell us the time but do remind us to stand up and look around once in a while.
Keeping fluidity between internet space-time density and real life space-time flow is today’s survival skill: essential to mental and physical health. We need to remember that our life is within our body, that our mind is sane when stable in the present moment.
The insanity of the internet is really user error: we place all of our trust outside of us. The energy we devote, wholeheartedly, flows out of us and into an invisibility that gives us a high that makes no sense. It’s not hardwired like sex, candy, the deep heart-like rhythms of good music. It’s not as simple as the randomized reward of dopamine that comes with likes/comments, praise, finding the perfect product.
It’s about love.
The internet, unlike anyone in real life, is simply, unconditionally, invisibly, always there. It is never hurt when you silence it, never busy when you need noise, has the answer to any question, and will connect you to anything and anyone you desire without a trace of jealousy. You can chit chat or go deep. You can repeat yourself and your searches and the internet will never repeat the same answers because the content is changing faster than the mind can fathom. You can head off on a million tangents, save conversations for later, and the Internet will always hold that space for you to return.
The internet loves you.
And like love, it gives you power. But this is the power of creation, unlimited by space-time, the infinite ability to create and spread the content. It gives a real sense of immortality, paired with immediacy: the highest of highs.
When we come into the internet with purpose, with presence, awareness of the magic at our fingertips, then we can work, create, communicate with a true sense of connectivity.
Just remember to breathe.