SOREN GORDHAMER works with individuals and groups on ways to live with less stress and more effectiveness in our technology-rich lives. He is the author of Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected, (HarperOne, 2009). A more complete bio is on his website at: http://www.sorengordhamer.com/About_Soren.html. (photo below by Veronica Wilson)
Below is an interview with Soren on Wisdom 2.0
What issue or need does Wisdom 2.0 address?
The primary focus for many people in recent years has been to live constantly connected to technology. This certainly has many benefits, but more people are beginning to realize that a life constantly connected to technology often not only makes them less effective, but also easily leads us them to feeling constantly hurried, constantly rushed, and constantly stressed. It is not technology itself that leads to this, but how we relate to it. Wisdom 2.0 explores this relationship, touching on two aspects: 1) how to engage more effectively and creatively in our work and life, and 2) how to live with greater ease such that we are less likely to be one of the millions of people today who cannot sleep at night because they are so charged from their day.
I think we are moving into a new era, one focused less on being constantly connected and more on being consciously and creatively connected. Wisdom 2.0 is for those interested in the latter.
What motivated you to write it?
I am as wired as the next person and enjoy technology immensely. However, I began to see that the technologies alone do not give me the meaning that I seek. I asked myself, “Instead of living in a constantly rushed, why can’t I live wisely with the technologies of our age? Why can’t I live like the Zen masters of old — and do so in our modern times?”
“I think we are moving into a new era, one focused less on being constantly connected and more on being consciously and creatively connected.”
I realized that nothing was preventing me from this except my own mind, the mental framework with which I was living my life. I then realized I needed to bring my two interest areas together – the path of technology and the path of wisdom.
What is the needed shift to this way of life?
As long as the external is more important than the internal, as long as the technologies are more important than the quality of our mind present when using them, we will always be at their mercy; they will always direct and inform our life in negative ways. There is that quote, “The mind is a great slave, but a horrible master.” The same is true of all these various devices, from cell phones to the Internet.
“as long as the technologies are more important than the quality of our mind present when using them, we will always be at their mercy.”
For many of us, our minds are so active with internal chatter that we experience very little ease or peace. And our time online or on the phone often only increases this mental chatter.
Why is this so hard? Why is the pace of life increasing at such a rapid pace?
As much as we complain about the pace at times, some part of us often likes to think of ourselves as “someone who is very busy.” To us, it means we are doing something in the world. However, we often confuse busyness with effectiveness. The goal, of course, is not to be in constant motion, but to be an effective agent of change, and we can only do this from a place of ease and focus. If we live frantic and stressed, we are simply bringing more of these qualities into the world.
“The goal, of course, is not to be in constant motion, but to be an effective of agent of change, and we can only do this from a place of ease and focus.”
As the pace of our life increases, the more we often resist silence and stillness. So when we do have some time in a day when nothing needs our attention, when there is a chance to touch our inner world, we often quickly try to get out – we check our email, go on Twitter or Facebook, or turn our i-pod. Now, nothing is wrong with any of these actions – I do them everyday – but what matters is the quality motivating them. If these actions are motivated by a resistance to stillness and silence, then we will always be bringing anxiety instead of calm into our life.
Don’t you think there are benefits in all these technologies – from blogs, to social networks, to cell phones. These are changing the world in incredible ways.
Of course, but the question is not, “do these have benefit,” but “what is truly meaningful to us? What really matters?” If we know that, then we can use these tools in amazing ways to follow our purpose. If we do not know what matters, if we are out of touch with our inner world, then the tools take us over. We spend our day reading tweets or checking emails, but for what?
Now, the technologies will continue to evolve — that is without question. The real question is, “will our consciousness?” Will we evolve too and engage them with greater purpose, meaning and focus? That is the challenge of our time and the new arising movement.
“technologies will continue to evolve — that is without question. The real question is, ‘will our consciousness?’ Will we evolve too and engage them with greater purpose, meaning, and focus?”
I know people do not like to say it much in the tech field, but I think we all know that while all these technologies are wonderful, they can never provide us happiness, just as money or sex cannot. No matter how cool the devices or how technologically savvy we might become, nothing can compare with an inner sense of well-being. And this inner richness cannot be bought on Amazon or found on Twitter. It is often found when our dissatisfaction becomes so great that we make the inner a priority, and discover who we truly are beyond the usual ways we label ourselves.
Wisdom 2.0 is about this shift – using the technologies of our age from a place of wisdom.