Internet as Intoxicant?

So, I’ve been watching Sylvia Boorstein‘s retreat teachings on Tricyle – “The Whole of Life as Practice” and something she says about one of the Five Precepts has really resonated with me. The fifth precept can be stated as “I undertake the precept to abstain from intoxicants that cloud my mind and lead to heedlessness”. Well, ok, I think – I don’t have a problem with that. I do occasionally have a drink (though less and less these days) but don’t get drunk. I don’t cloud my mind with drugs. This one’s pretty easy. But then, she goes on to talk about other things that may be considered to be intoxicants that cloud your mind and lead to heedlessness. Things like streaming news on TV. Things like email. Things like the internet. And that’s where the penny drops for me.


Am I really keeping my mind clear when I mindlessly browse the internet, clicking from here to there and back again?
Is compulsively checking my email or blog stats an example of a clear mind?
What about the half dozen tabs I have open on my browser? (damn you, Firefox, and your multiple-tab browsing!)

So, I’m going to try to use the internet in a more mindful way. To accept that, actually information can be stuff. And reducing stuff is my aim.

I’ve said it before and I come back to it again: I need to SIMPLIFY MY LIFE. This means clearing space – not just physically, in my house but also mentally, in my mind. I have visited this before, producing these art journal pages last year:

commit to sitweeds

But it seems that I need to keep reminding myself of it.

This is my weakness. Or maybe one of many weaknesses.

In what ways do you intoxicate your mind?

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5 thoughts on “Internet as Intoxicant?

  1. Motherfunker says:

    Yep, I’m guilty of that one too! I think it’s because we live in an age where community is pretty fragmented so we like to remind ourselves where we belong, to whom, and what we believe in or don’t believe in, to be reminded of our sense of clan. Since we don’t live in a village of home educators or quilters or philosophers etc… some days we connect with those people in our real life and sometimes it happens in the virtual arena. I am really thankful for your blog, and if I didn’t read blogs I would have missed out on some amazing shared wisdom from awesome mamas, like you, around the globe, who don’t live right on my doorste ut with the internet, they do! I personally find the internet really helpful but it’s all about balance and moderation. Thanks for making me think of this my lovely xx

  2. Oh, yes! The internet can be a bad influence, depending on how you use it. I often get stuck in bad patterns with it but usually recognise it after a few days and review what I’m exposing myself to.

  3. Janet says:

    Yep, the internet is my “drug”…I spend way too much time online.

  4. Allie says:

    I am so with you on this. I don’t watch tv, maybe dvd’s while I’m stitching or exercising – watching Lucy while I ride my bike keeps my mind off my agony, lol. So the internet is my drug, for sure. I keep remembering how much more creative I was BEFORE the internet….

  5. vivjm says:

    I guess I’m not the only one huh?! Allie – it’s interesting that you say you remember how much more creative you were BEFORE the internet. I like to think that the internet aids creativity – all that inspiration and other people’s ideas but I think actually it’s easy to get (1) overloaded with ideas and then you just don’t know where to start, so end up not starting anything or (2) you start comparing your creative ideas to other folks’ ideas and end up feeling like you’re not good enough, cos you know you’ll never do anything that great, and that dampens your creative spirit.

I will reply to comments here on the blog, so please check back if you are looking for a response! I love hearing from you x

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