|Photo by David Rogers|
The Challenge of Our Time
It goes without saying that we live in a world where social media is everywhere. Everyone is connected to the internet, some more than others. A lot of us, I dare say, can't be disconnected with the internet without being anxious even a little bit.
What happens when the power goes out, when the WiFi doesn't work, or (God forbid) you're in the no 3G zone for your phone?
Do you get a little bit anxious? Suddenly feel like there's nothing to do? Can't wait to go back online and check who liked your Facebook status you posted 3 seconds ago?
That's a problem, and I think I am not immune to it.
My Ramadan Goal
Last night before I went to bed, I reviewed my Ramadan goals. I listed down 9 things that I would like to achieve this Ramadan, some goals are easy and some are difficult.
One of the goals is to spend less time in social media. Being a social media junkie like myself, I would categorize that goal into the "difficult" category. But I was adamant to achieve it.
Of course, I don't think quitting cold turkey is ideal. Plus, I don't want to quit social media. There is good use in it. I just want to control my usage and not spend too much time with it. So I aimed to check my social media only 1 hour per day before I go to bed, in the effort of training self-control within myself.
That's the goal.
The social media sites that I checked very often are Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. So the first thing that I did was I got rid of those apps from my phone, because it's very easy to open the apps on my phone. My phone is always on me and my fingers are always itchy (BTW, that's not normal).
So I got rid of them from my phone.
As with the computer, I stepped away from it and only use it if I need to.
Breaking a routine or a habit takes a toll on the body and the body "knows" when something isn't familiar or when something changed.
So after I deleted the social media apps on my phone, not too long after that my hand reached for my phone and wanted to open the apps. But the apps were not there.
I was surprised at how automatic my action was, and that's disturbing.
Am I in control of my body or the other way around?
Realizing that the apps weren't in my phone, I felt a little bit anxious being separated from my social media. Like a baby being separated from his mother (but I didn't cry or anything).
In child psychology, separation anxiety is a sign of attachment. When a child is anxious when being separated with the mother, generally that is a good sign. It means that the baby is attached to the mother. When the mother comes back, the reunion is soothing to the baby and calms him down. In that case, the baby is securely attached to the mother.
But in my case, that's bad.
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
My separation anxiety (though not as intense as in a baby) is a sign that I am attached to these social media sites. From the perspective of a Muslim, I should be weary of the things that I attach my heart to, especially the worldly things. That doesn't mean that I can't use social media. That simply mean that I shouldn't attach myself to it.
We all attach our heart to something, but a lot of us attached our heart to the wrong things. Sister Yasmin Mogahed wrote a book on this topic and she appropriately named her book "Reclaim Your Heart". I've read her book and found it to be mind altering.
This idea of attaching our heart to the right thing is not unique to Muslims, suggesting that this awareness is something that we all share. Joshua Becker wrote a short piece about attachment of the heart: Less Places for Your Heart to Go, and he began with a quote that should make you stop and ponder, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Where is my treasure? Where is my heart?
Alhamdulillah, we are in Ramadan. Ramadan is the time when we reclaim our heart from our petty worldly attachments, and give it back to its rightful Owner - Allah.
If Allah is our treasure (i.e. the most valuable to us), then with Allah is where we'll find our heart.