“Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe
that I do not want it.” —Mary Oliver
Not long ago, after experiencing something similar to what Mary Oliver describes above, I decided to unplug myself from technology for a month. I took a mini-sabbatical from computers (including all email and editorial work), TV, and radio (I don’t own a cell phone). It was with a huge sigh of relief that I did this. My days had begun to be filled with such constant busyness that even finding time to meditate or take long walks seemed difficult. When I stopped sitting for hours in front of the computer, my life opened up all around me.
At the same time that I closed the technology door, I opened another door—to the natural world outdoors and the world of spirit present everywhere. Outside in my backyard, I gardened, read, meditated, or just gazed at passing clouds in the sky or the sun on the flowers in my garden. I often felt transported to another dimension where only infinite variations of light were real. Life seemed as fragile and precious as a flower petal or an inhaled breath. There were moments when all I felt was gratitude for the gift of being alive.
In my journal I wrote: “We have this one lifetime to live in a human body, to look through human eyes and see the beauty of the world. I just want to drink in the wonders all around me, to feel in my heart each exquisite detail of flower, leaf, and cloud. I could look at the sky forever and never come to the end of its magnificence. Every bird and butterfly and bee is a tiny miracle. In the swirling center of each flower is a sacred universe. I am so blessed to have this life on Earth. I don’t want to miss a thing. I don’t want to lose a second looking at a computer or TV when the world and all its breathtaking beauty is just outside the door.”
Along with the wonder and awe came a deep connection to the living spirit that existed in the natural world all around me. The spirit within me embraced the spirit everywhere outside of me, and I stepped into a profound experience of oneness that expanded with each passing day. I found that within each exquisite detail of the universe that I perceived with my physical eyes was an invisible thread that led to the infinite Source of all things. William Blake described this perfectly: “To See a World in a Grain of Sand/And a Heaven in a Wildflower/Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand/And Eternity in an hour.”
So did I renounce all technology for the rest of my life after discovering “God in the details”? No, of course not. We live in a human world that has manifested global communication via the Internet. If it doesn’t overtake your life, it can be a wonderful vehicle for experiencing worldwide interconnections. The key is balance, as in all things. I still check my email, visit favorite websites, and even listen to spiritual webcasts, but I’m now more in touch with when it’s time to turn off the computer and walk out the door into nature’s paradise.