THE BLOG

Digital Fire: At War With Ourselves

05/29/2012 03:53 pm ET | Updated Jul 29, 2012

If it often seems like you're at war with yourself, you're not alone. Even after thousands of years of environmental, societal and genetic conditioning, our minds and bodies aren't exactly on the best of terms, or in digital world language, fully integrated. While the always-accessible-digital-world we live in becomes more digitally integrated each day, humans must still rely on the same nervous system that helped us to survive the ice age and do battle with wild animals on the plains of Africa.

In our modern world, we deal with the ongoing battle between our passions and our intellect. The mind-body divide comes up at inopportune times, and is a central theme in popular movies and novels. In every film, characters are presented to viewers in a struggle between their instincts and what society, situations, or their family wants from them, otherwise there's no story. No one's going to watch a movie with no conflict. The lead character gets up in the morning, smiles at his wife, eats breakfast, goes to work and returns home to happily zone out in front of the TV. Pop can't wait to mow the lawn on the weekend, and Mom is baking apple pies in her shiny new oven. Unless a bulldozer is about to smash into this picture of suburban domesticity, the odds of anyone watching this film to the ending credits are fairly miniscule. Conflict may make for a good time at the movies, but we fight to avoid it in real life. But whether we want it or not, conflict will find us. In every setting, in families, at workplaces, or on the highway, battles arise and challenges must be dealt with.

Every experience is directly impacted by your environment. It may sound obvious, but modern culture runs more smoothly when we hold back our basic impulses. Yoga instructors or practitioners performing difficult or strenuous exercises sometimes trigger long forgotten childhood memories. Why? Maybe it's due to the body is stretching in a way it hasn't stretched in a long time it triggers the mind into a specific recollection. Just under the surface of routine daily activities, memories, desires, and belief systems are plotting to break free. We are the totality of each experience we carry within us. When exercising or meditating we become more connected to our body, experiencing the world in a different way than sitting at a desk during the work week allows.

Maybe the real issue with learning how to reinvent oneself is the simple fact we really don't know how we formed our identity in the first place. The mind vs. body war we've been fighting our whole lives could be acting as an invisible barrier to true reinvention. Did incidents you barely remember establish the foundation of your personality? In the end, everything comes back to an emotional pull toward or away from ideas and actions. Quite often, changing your environment is critical to changing your perspective, and taking the necessary steps toward reinventing yourself. If you find yourself having the same experiences every day, how do you develop different thoughts or opinions? Especially if you want to break free from societal conditioning you no longer believe to be true.

Reinvention is directly linked to the war within us, and the ongoing battle between the intellect and emotions. Pausing to think in our digital works is just as important as connectivity. Moments of reflection and inspiration can come from out of the blue, and they also come from breaking out of patterns and systems that no longer serve the useful function they used to serve. People and corporations roll along on auto-pilot, and until an outside force makes changing more desirable than staying on the same track, reinvention can always be postponed. Which isn't always such a great choice. Since movies often show us, conflict must occur, and the bulldozer is sometimes parked directly in front of your house.