Technology, as we all well know, has completely transformed our world -- from helping create the social-media driven protests of the Middle East to overseeing the emergence of online journalism. But one of the more unexpected products of the Age of the Internet has been the increasing focus on matters of the inner self. Using a plethora of websites, blogs, iPhone applications, podcasts and games, we are able to draw our gaze inwards without having to leave our desks. We can now meditate while waiting for our stop on the train or listen to a particularly inspiring podcast during our lunch break.
Today, in an effort to celebrate this marriage between the inner and the outer, the logical and the intuitive, we are launching an ongoing feature on spiritually-themed pieces of technology. If you've developed an interesting website, application or podcast series that you'd like us to feature -- or if you've just come across something that you think deserves a wider platform -- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our first installment, we're featuring Ronit Herzfeld's recently released Awareness app for the iPhone.
What is it? Costing only $3.99, the Awareness app interrupts users between one and 24 times in a day, asking them how they're feeling at that particular moment. After recording their emotions, users can watch a related video of a meditation practice. They can also journal their emotions to understand their own patterns of reactiveness.
What's the point? The idea, says Herzfeld, is to bring people back to the present moment and to force them to reflect on the elusive, impermanent nature of their emotions. "I used to fantasize about sitting on people's shoulders and tapping them every so often throughout their day, asking them 'What are you feeling right now?'" says Herzfeld. "I knew that if I could remind them to stop and reflect on what is going on for them at any given moment, over time they would become more mindful of their unconscious feelings and begin to release them in a more constructive and healthy way," she says.
Following the success of the application, Herzfeld has developed the Global Emotional Awareness Movement website through which people can record their emotions on a map. "This site shows graphically what people are feeling all over the world, and allows you to zoom into your neighborhood and see that whatever you are feeling, you are not alone!" says Herzfeld.
The most encouraging aspect of the app's success, says Herzfeld, is that it is facilitating a "brand new and unfamiliar internal conversation." For many users who are new to the world of emotional cognition and spiritual development, the Awareness app is perhaps the first time they're being asked to be mindful of their feelings, responses and reactions. "Our society does not encourage us to explore our feelings," she says.
Where can you get it? In addition to the iPhone app, Herzfeld is in the process of creating an Android version. Find out more about Awareness here.