The Zen of Unplugging

Step outside the echo chamber. Isn’t it nice out here?

Aaron Charles

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Photo credit: Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

The other day I was driving through Indiana farm country on my way back from a business trip. It was late afternoon, and the sun was beginning to set on the western horizon. It was a beautiful setting, but I wasn’t paying any attention to the beauty. My eyes were fixed on my rearview mirror. There, I saw a truck tailing close behind me. I quickly realized that the driver of the truck was somewhat impatient, because he proceeded to pass me on this country road. People were just getting off work, so the road was somewhat busier than I assume it usually is. There were other cars ahead of me, but the truck had just enough room to pass and slide right in front of my car.

I was furious.

It wasn’t so much that the truck passed me. Whatever, that’s not a big deal. It was the fact that the move made no sense to me at all. I was driving the speed limit. In fact, I think I was going a few miles-per-hour faster. (Hey, you do it too.) Now, the truck was mere feet closer to whatever destination awaited it and its driver. I was flummoxed by it. So I decided to tail him as close as I dared for about a mile.

Road rage — we’ve all been there. But it’s what happened next that makes this particular experience one that I will surely not soon forget.

I sat on a park bench with a book in hand and a pocket-sized notebook at my side. My meetings were done, and I had made a quick stop at a city park for a respite before heading home. It was cold, but the sun was out just enough that I had deemed a coat unnecessary. I sat and read, then I commenced with writing for a few minutes. Thankfully, I had the clarity to leave my phone in my pocket. No notifications. No updates. No news.

Just quiet moments. Reflection. A little peace amid the constant inputs.

I think the echo chamber can wait for me. I don’t always have to live inside its constrictions. By echo chamber, I mean the constant information stream we put before our eyes — social media, texts, apps, updates, breaking news, online videos, movies, games, Netflix and on and on. None of these are bad in and of themselves. But together, I often find that their total impact on me can be somewhat of a negative. The choice is…

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Aaron Charles

Christ-follower. Husband to @SarahLCharles. Simple moments hold great power. Connect with me at my website: www.aarondcharles.com