Technology is not the answer. It is also not the problem. What matters instead? Awareness, Engagement, and Wisdom.
Wisdom 2.0 addresses the challenge of our age:to not only live connected to one another through technology,but to do so in ways that are beneficial, effective, and useful.
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About the Author
Soren Gordhamer is the founder and host of the Wisdom 2.0Conference, the premier gathering of those interested in mindfulness andwisdom in modern life.
Read an Excerpt
Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected
The Power Source: Consciousness
A teacher of mine used to say, "Do what you normally do; just do it with awareness." He meant that if you bring consciousness to any activity, your experience of it changes. If you make conscious a conversation, you better know what to say and can more fully listen to the other person; if you make conscious your work on a project, you can more easily see what it needs to progress; if you make conscious an unskillful habit, you can better understand why you follow it and how to release it. If you add consciousness to any activity, the nature of it changes, and the creative is illuminated.
The same is true in our use of technology. For it to be a creative force in our lives, something we skillfully use rather than feel used by, our first task is to make it conscious. Because consciousness is the foundation in the path of wisdom, in Wisdom 2.0 consciousness, especially in how we relate to technology, is key. Though this is addressed throughout the book, the following tools more directly highlight the key elements in this art.
Tool #1: Know what's connected
Even the best technologies fail without an adequate power source. That we are connected may be cool, but what is even cooler is the power source—or the what—that fuels it.
Consider the following:
You are up late online, typing, clicking, scrolling, and reading, but amidst such activity you are getting very little done since your mind is hazy and scattered; your body istight and lethargic. There were times earlier in the day when you worked effectively, but now your attention is weak, worn-out from an active day of work or school. While it may appear to an outside observer that you are making progress on an important project, you are accomplishing very little.
A voice in your head beckons, "You have already been on the computer ten hours today. Why not do some stretching, read a book, or take a warm bath before bed?" You agree in principle, but you just can't pull your attention away from the social network, game, or news in front of you. Though you are choosing to use technology, you really feel as if it is controlling and using you.
The results of such long hours on the computer continue to impact you. Once you do finally disconnect, you are mentally exhausted and make your way to the refrigerator—the old, scattered mind state you are in believes that the right food will ease some of your tension and be a reward for your day of hard work. But in this frame of mind, you choose unhealthy food that is difficult for your body to digest, and you proceed to eat it with the same dazed attention. Trying to sleep some time later, your mind is still cluttered and your stomach bloated by your kitchen visit. You again turn on some technology—your TV, iPod, or computer—but nothing helps you relax. It takes you a few extra hours to get to sleep, and you wake up the next morning lethargic and drained.
According to one study, a typical information worker who sits at a computer all day turns to his e-mail program more than fifty times and uses instant messaging seventy-seven times per day.6
Though most of us need to be networked for much of the day, for those of us constantly connected we have many times like this example when our engagement is habitual, when it feels like technology is using us instead of us using it. While it is extraordinary that we can be connected, we often forget to know what's connected—or more precisely, what state of our mind is engaged. When this is forgotten or disregarded, our health and well-being pay the price. I learned this the hard way some years ago while sitting in the emergency room.
"Just how long do you spend on the computer each day?" the doctor asked me. It was eleven p.m. and I had come to the ER because, while working at my computer, my hands started twitching so much I could no longer type. The nerves in my body were shaking as if they were getting slight electrical shocks every few seconds.
The doctor had already worked his way through the first round of questions: Had I taken any illicit drugs? Did I eat anything out of the ordinary? Had I been working with chemicals? Was I on any medications? When I answered no to all of these, he followed with more general questions, like how I spend my days.
"I am on the computer about twelve hours a day," I finally responded, underestimating a few hours. The doctor's head tilted back slightly, his eyes widened, and he expressed concern. What century is he from? I thought. Don't most ¬people work this much on the computer? The doctor took my blood and ran some tests, all of which came back normal. By the time I left the hospital at roughly two a.m., he could find nothing wrong with me.
Sure enough, after taking a few days off, my symptoms went away. The cause of them, I surmised, had been my marathon computer use. My hours and hours online and linked in had caught up with me, such that my body was screaming to link out. Though I was connected and working very long days, I was paying almost no attention to my state of mind, and I was suffering the consequences.
I know I am not the only one who has felt the effect of such a relationship. In an article in the New York Times, blogger Michael Arrington, founder of the renowned blog Techcrunch, told of gaining thirty pounds and developing a severe sleep disorder in his constantly connected life, concluding, "At some point, I'll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen."7 Sadly, this is likely true for more and more of us who put that we are connected and that we are working over what's connected and what's working. We increasingly feel the effects of an imbalanced and largely unconscious constantly connected life and are in danger of what my friend somewhat jokingly calls "death by computer."Wisdom 2.0
Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected. Copyright (c) by Soren Gordhamer . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
What People are Saying About This
This may well be the first book of its kind. A book of rapid development and the rewriting of long conditioned programs. This is liberation by wrapped attention to the mind-screen and the comings and goines there-on.”
“This is a wonderful and important read for everyone in business who wants to acquire deeper insight and practice living a balanced life. Soren brings a wealth of experience to the reader in an accessible and compelling way.”
Utterly buried in the world of Twitter, blogging, email, online social networks, cell phones, text messages? Wisdom 2.0 offer readers a ray of light, a breath of fresh air and tranquility for the constantly connected and eternally wired.
Soren Gordhamer’s brave and smart book on how to stay connected (ie,mindful) while being electronically connected is a must for thosewhose lives tend to be on the virtual side. He’s advocating an inward step to a newrelationship with technology that is creative and liberating.
This is the instruction manual that should come with our iPhones and Blackberries... teaching us how to put them down.
“Our relationship to technology, and to life, is what we make of it. In a world where information constantly flows at us from every direction Soren has provided us with a wonderful guide that through observation and practice will help us stay connected to our intentions and our loved ones.”
“With the pace of our work and our lives increasing at lightning speed, we are not only losing our effectiveness, but ourselves. Wisdom 2.0 guides us gently back to our paththe one that prioritizes our well-being, and in turn, those few things that are truly important.”
Wisdom 2.0 is a pragmatic, creative, and fun guide to applying ancient insights to our everyday technology-rich lives. This book reveals how to utilize ordinary circumstance for real transformation.
“Soren is a connector extraordinaire. In this book, he connects wisdom to business, thereby exploring the next wave of engagement, creativity, and mindfulness in business and life. Read this book, and Soren may connect you to your inner wisdom.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A creative and largely successful attempt to apply mindfulness principles to today's technological world.