021 – 7 Principles for Conscious Digital Usage

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When you use digital devices (e.g. phones, laptops, smart watches, tablets etc) consciously, you’ll be at peace with them, and enjoy the benefits they have to offer. You’ll also use them skilfully, with kindness, interacting harmoniously with the world.

Here are 7 Principles for Conscious Digital Device Usage:

  1. Only use a digital device when it’s really needed.
    • Book reference: Living a Life of Harmony – 7 Guidelines for Cultivating Peace & Kindness.
    • Applying the guideline ‘Do Only What Needs to be Done’ to digital usage.
    • Ask yourself “Do I really need to use the device now?” – either when the phone beeps or after initially looking at the screen.
    • Using the phone without a need is often associated with craving or distraction from something else you really do need to be doing.
    • You could ask yourself “Do I need to be doing something other than being on my device?”. If needs be, go within the body for the answer.
    • This also applies to what you’re doing on your device. E.g. you’re distracting from an important task like writing an email through unhelpful web browsing or watching videos.
    • Beware of just picking up devices and using them unconsciously when it’s not really needed.
    • You can use waiting opportunities e.g. traffic lights, queues etc. to rest, relax or enjoy the surroundings – to become mindful.
  2. Stay Present and aware during usage.
    • Be mindful when you’re using your device.
    • Keep some awareness on the body or breath during usage – this will keep you grounded.
    • Look at the space in-between your eyes and the device.
    • Bring yourself back into the present moment if you get lost in your thoughts or emotions.
    • Be careful not to let the mind get “taken away” by the content in your devices – this will lead to unskillfulness.
    • You’ll be wise and kind whatever the device presents you with when you’re mindful.
    • Slow down if you need to.
    • Pay closer attention to detail on the screen e.g. pixels, colors etc. The things that you will usually not focus on, this can help you stay mindful.
  3. Be kind to your body during usage.
    • Whilst using laptops/computers maintain a straight back if you can.
    • Maintain a relaxed and alert posture.
    • Ensure your body is comfortable during usage.
    • Every now and again take a screen break. Look away at something else close-by. Ideally something natural like plants or out of a window. This will give your eyes a break.
    • Get up, take a walk, stretch every few minutes.
  4. Communicate selectively, truthfully and skilfully during usage.
    • Selective communication.
      • Filtering your communication.
      • Be careful not to over communicate.
      • Be conscious of how your communication may feel to the other person.
      • This happens quite naturally when you are mindful and present.
      • Online communication leaves an imprint. Things get logged and stored including web page / social media accesses.
    • Truthful communication.
      • Be clear about whether you’re communicating facts or opinions.
      • Ask yourself the question “Is what I’m about to communicate really true?”
    • Communicate skilfully
      • Covers everything to do with communication including channel (e.g. message, email, audio call etc) and frequency.
      • The only way that you will communicate skilfully is to stay present and mindful.
      • If the + is switched on within the Mindfulness+ you will be connected to something that transcends you. You will be connected with something that’s wise and kind – and it will flow through into your communication.
      • Using Mindfulness+ is the only way you can master this.
  5. Have time away from your devices every day.
    • I could reword “Have enough time away from your devices every day.”
    • Utilise reports on screen time available from your devices to monitor usage.
    • How much time you have on your devices is very much dependent upon your own personal circumstances.
    • Only you know how much time on devices is right for you.
    • Intuitively you’ll know whether you’re getting the balance right.
  6. Take opportunities for real human contact.
    • Messaging, video calls etc. are not a replacement for being with people physically.
    • We need to be with other people – it’s natural. The experience is richer than digital connectivity and can also be a lot more nourishing.
    • We need a certain amount of real face-to-face contact.
    • People with more autonomy and solitude may need to make more of an effort to get the human contact.
    • This is becoming more of a challenge for many people as digital offerings increase – much of what you used to need to go out for, you can do/order digitally.
    • Digital communication is increasing whilst face-to-face communication is reducing.
  7. Accept that conscious digital usage is an essential part of life.
    • A few people are still resisting digital and feel that they should be able to do everything more traditionally.
    • People who do not embrace digital will be excluded, which will cause suffering.
    • Parents need to be very careful to ensure the children get what they need to socialise and connect.
  • The goal is to embrace digital usage in a way that’s conscious.
  • You may use device usage as a Mindfulness+ practice.

Related: Stop! – Check – Use ~ 12 Tips to stay Mindful when using your phone or other device


Copyright © 2018 Darren Cockburn. www.darrencockburn.com. All Rights Reserved

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