In the age of information, the answers are quite literally at our fingertips. How many hours a day do we tap at keyboards, swipe left on smartphones, and make contact with multiple screens?
We’ve become attached to the vast, ever-present glory of the Internet and its many distractions — because it’s easy to access. Years ago, we had to arrange to be in front of our home computer to connect. Today, we take the Internet with us wherever we go.
Whether it’s gaming, stocks and trading, gambling, social media, dating, or simply access to information, the Internet is a dependable distraction.
While many people enjoy a healthy amount of internet use, problems arise for others when it begins to infiltrate daily life, separating them from reality and their true selves.
When the heavy, personal ‘stuff’ comes up in our lives, instead of doing the work — by really feeling, sitting with, and accepting challenging emotions that arise — we escape. We go online. Check out of reality and into our devices.
Distraction is a strong undercurrent in all types of addiction — drugs, alcohol, sex, food, and more. The Internet is no different. They all serve to distract us from the truth: that when any addiction is present, we are not happy with an aspect of ourself or our life. And we are either holding on to past trauma or worrying about the future.
For those who feel unfulfilled in life, don’t trust themselves, harbour low self-esteem, don’t like their jobs or partners, and generally feel stuck, it’s common to over-indulge on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. These outlets provide the perfect opportunity to shape or criticize our own sense of identity, based on virtual identities crafted by others — identities which are oftentimes grossly inauthentic.
The obsessive comparison leaves people feeling depressed and inadequate.
Social media also leads us to endlessly seek validation from others. How many likes did we get on a photo? Did someone praise us in the comments? Do we have a new friend request from an interesting person? When we don’t know ourselves, we don’t trust ourselves. And when we don’t trust ourselves, we require the validation of others to feel adequate.
Gaming is also feeding our culture’s attention. When a person’s sense of inadequacy can be instantly transformed by creating an Avatar to represent them, it feels good. A bit taller, less body fat, incredible athletic capabilities, superpowers — it’s the virtual version of ourselves we dream of, without any effort or work to make it manifest.
Gaming platforms continually stroke the human ego, giving it recognition and praise it feels it should have. And when a person feels they can’t get ahead or make transformational change in their real life, the addiction to ego-validation keeps gamers returning to the screen.
While social media and gaming are large pieces of the Internet Addiction pie, there are so many others.
Gamblers can indulge in their addiction without ever leaving the couch. The research-obsessed, analytical-minded can further remove themselves from universal flow by trying to understand and define life’s magic via a Google search. Online dating makes us miss out on real, organic human connections and synchronistic encounters — because we’re too busy trying to filter and control what “type” of person we connect with, how we connect with them, and when. We miss out on actual moments by trying to capture them on video or take a selfie to post online.
The repercussions of online addiction on Western culture are severe. We’re spending less time actually interacting with real humans, and more time messaging them.
It’s limiting our real-life relationships by taking us out of presence. Sit down at any restaurant in North America, at any time of day, and you’ll see people staring down at cell phones instead of chatting with their companions across the table.
True presence is becoming a rarity.
We are forgetting how to truly flow in social situations and communicate with our peers. Our organic response is affected — we’re used to having time to craft and edit messages, or use Emojis in place of expressing our feelings.
With our faces inches from a screen, we are missing out on Life Happening — we don’t see the doe bounding across the path ahead, we tune-out the Robins’ song heralding springtime, we are even numb to the moist, earthy scent of fresh rain on the forest floor.
But we must remember — we distract because we are in pain. Yet true healing is available.
Internet distraction works the same way a band-aid does. When the band-aid eventually falls off, the wound remains. The band-aid didn’t get to the root of the wound and heal it from the inside. It masked the problem temporarily. The problem still exists.
Where Internet addiction masks the wound, Iboga heals it.
The power of Iboga is beyond analysis. Beyond scientific explanation. This plant contains the intelligence of source truth — and shares that with each of us in a deep, profound, individualized way. If we show up wholeheartedly willing to heal, it will rewire us to our natural state, before addiction. It reminds us of what we truly are.
It shows us that the truth was within us all along. It had simply become shadowed by past traumas and the coping mechanisms of resulting addictions.
While every Iboga ceremony looks and feels different for each person, there is an underlying theme that resounds for everyone – the RESET.
When addictions — Internet or otherwise — have gotten truly beyond our control or ability to step away, Iboga is a tool we can implement.
If we feel we cannot return to a clean slate, because our addiction has become too strong, Iboga is powerful enough to return us to ourself. It has the ability to reset addictive patterns and behaviors in the brain, giving us an opportunity to create better, self-serving patterns post-ceremony.
Life is not about having all the answers. It’s not about control, or filtering information to suit our taste. It’s not about comparison. Life is about surrender and flow. Learning to accept what is, and growing because of it. It’s about self-empowerment, and being in service. It’s about holding gratitude for the entire spectrum of emotions, challenges, joys and experiences that dance together to paint this beautiful picture of Life.
Life is about being here now. Fully present. Unplugged and unafraid to feel.
For more information about our shamanic Iboga retreats in beautiful Costa Rica, contact us here