It seems every generation has ideas of what will make them happy. For years it was a house with two kids, a white picket fence, and a four-car garage. Eventually, people realized the limits of this vision.
Today, it seems that the focus is increasingly on technology. Don't get me wrong. I am a big fan of technology. I am active on Twitter and Facebook, and blog regularly. The new tools of our age are changing media as we know it, making it much more user-directed and transparent. But while there are many benefits to these new technologies ... happiness is something else.
In fact, we can own all the latest technologies, the most recent i-Phone and i-Pad, and have thousands of friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter, and still be utterly miserable. When we do not see the importance of our inner life, we use the cutting edge technologies with the same mental staleness that we used the old ones. The central question is not whether the technologies will continue to advance, the question is, "will our consciousness? Will we use technologies as an expression of what is most important, or use them seeking something with which they can never provide?"
I was recently listening to Arianna Huffington speak about the need to connect not just digitally, but to what is most precious: ourselves. There is a world of difference in engaging in life and new media knowing what is most precious, and forgetting what is most precious and hoping that some new device or new information or more friends or followers will help us at last feel complete.
The opportunity of our age is to be in touch with the inner technologies of our mind and heart, to remember what is most precious, while also using the external technologies available to us.
How to do this and how technology can be a means for a more mindful, wise, and compassionate world is the focus of the Wisdom 2.0 conference I am organizing this Spring in Silicon Valley.
The challenge for most of us is to say Yes both to a connected life via technology, including using cell phones, reading blogs and engaging on social networks, and also Yes to a mindful and meaningful one. It is to live both connected to the inner as well as the outer technologies. It is only then can we honestly say that we truly live "connected."
Soren Gordhamer is organizing the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, which brings staff from technology companies such as Twitter and Google, with Zen teachers, neuroscientists, and others to explore this living with deeper mindfulness and wisdom in the modern age. More info at: http://www.wisdom2conference.com/
Follow Soren Gordhamer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SorenG