Be aware of what’s around you. It shouldn’t be that hard. But in the midst of portable music flooding your ears, incessant advertising, messages from friends lighting up your phone, and the limitless depths of the Internet, it is hard.
This past Saturday my friend and I got together at my house to drink coffee, talk, and study. Our conversation began with listing all the papers we had to write and tests we had to study for while simultaneously scrolling through Buzzfeed and checking email on our respective laptops. Then, in the midst of our small talk, my friend said, “I want to engage with the universe better.” That shut me right out of my digitalized world and got us both to thinking how to actually do this. We agreed it was important, but it seemed like an abstract concept that few people embody.
Of course, we wanted to embody it, not just talk about doing it. Perhaps in the spirit of procrastination, and perhaps in a true spirit of mindfulness, we made composed what I am going to call micro-manifestos, short lists of measurable ways we can engage with the universe better, living each moment of each day with intention. We wish to be more present with the people and the environment around us by paying less attention to the virtual worlds of our computers and iPhones.
I’ve saved a quotation I posted on the bulletin board of my bedroom in middle school that says: “The universe will reward you for taking risks on its behalf” (Shakti Gawain). I kept this quote in mind when writing my manifesto, thinking how sometimes engagement with my surroundings is uncomfortable and always takes energy, but in the end I think it is energy worth spending. Who doesn’t want to be more well-read, healthier, and invite other people into their lives in real ways?
List for Engagement
–1 hour of internet per day
–Talk to one new person per day
–1 book per week
–Go off campus once per week
–30 minutes alone/quiet/stillness, unplugged
What’s in your micro-manifesto? Do you still need to write one?
Here’s a link to a TED talk that might inspire you:
Bernie Krause: The voice of the natural world