I don’t understand the popularity of Twitter. I’m at a loss to explain the obsessive compulsive urge to connect on Facebook. I am computer literate, yet I feel no desire to own an iPhone. In fact, I am constantly amazed that people wander around all day staring into their smart phones, as if these devices somehow magically fulfill all of their needs except possibly eating and procreating.
Before we continue, let me assure you of a few things, gentle reader. I am fairly certain that I am not an alien. I do not live in an ashram. I have not recently arrived here from the year 1910 by means of a time machine. I live a conventional life blessed with wonderful people around me, including an extraordinary wife and daughter. I even like my mother-in-law, which may be the one thing about me that is weird.
Like most people, I want to connect. As far as I can tell, I seem to be content with fewer connections than the average person makes. I am fond of solitude, yet I am not an island. I admire people who connect extensively with others while managing to live constructive lives centered on a positive purpose.
I suspect, however, a great deal of “over-connecting” is going on these days in a frantic effort to fill a space in the makeup of a human being that was designed to be filled from within.
Studies have shown that the generations born after the Internet boom have difficulty concentrating on a single task for extended time periods. For example, today’s student typically has trouble writing papers and reading course materials with a high degree of comprehension. The studies attribute the difficulty young people have concentrating to the habit of constant multitasking — one that's encouraged by the endless flow of entertainment and information available on the Internet.
Where does all of this “outer-connecting” and constant external focus leave us? Unfortunately, it seems to me, a little empty inside.
That’s why I’m so glad to have the option of going within to experience a feeling of fulfillment and contentment. Prem Rawat often talks about “feeling complete.” Thanks to the method of going within that I’ve learned from him, I’m able to balance my active outer life with a serene, fulfilling inner life. This balance has helped me to be a happier, more productive and positive person. You might say what I do on the outside has garnered more meaning and is more effective because of the richness I have found within.
I am more focused in my daily life. No Zen Master has to stand over me with a stick to keep my mind from wandering. The concentration is spontaneous and a natural courtesy of the river of contentment I have discovered within.
“We are biased towards happiness,” Prem Rawat says.
The big question for most people is where to find it. Prem Rawat says “look within.” He offers to help people connect with an experience of joy and satisfaction that dwells inside the heart of every human being.
I have been connecting with that experience for almost thirty years. I can testify that the quality of that connection leads to an exquisite experience that surpasses anything coming from the outside — a bold statement, yet surprisingly true.
Illustration by Sara Shaffer.