Go to any spot where a lot of people are moving around you’ll see something that used to happen only rarely: people walking around with their heads bowed down. College student walking through campus, professionals crossing streets. There even men and women riding bikes and driving cars… all with their heads bowed down.
In the past, this scene was only available at monasteries, abbeys, and convents. The monks and nuns, heads bowed, were walking and worshipping, their attention focused on God.
I fear we are walking and worshipping, too... but the object has changed.
Choose Your Aim
Dr. Jordan Peterson talks often about aim.
The idea is simple: what we aim at is important as it shapes us through the stories we tell ourselves. If our aim is noble, progressing to that aim point is what brings positive emotion. If we have no aim, no focus, then we are just blundering about.
How do we aim? With the eyes in our head and the ‘eye’ in heart. The books of Psalms and Proverbs both speak often of the heart’s importance. Above all else, guard your heart for all else flows from it. - Proverbs 4:23
What we seek out with our eyes will affect what we feel in our hearts and vice versa. When we actively look for things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirably and praiseworthy, we are on the path to a good life.
Is that what we are looking for, heads bowed to our phones?
We All Worship
David Foster Wallace, like many philosophers before him, said that we all worship something. That has been a basic fact for humans for as long as we’ve been around. We don’t seem to have a choice in that.
Choosing what we worship, however, is up to us.
We can worship our body, our logic, money, power, etc., and many of us do. The problem around these points is that there is always someone stronger, better looking, more powerful, richer, etc. This knowledge will ultimately eat us alive.
The one point of worship that can actually build us up? An aim that will help put us on a path that breeds positive emotions and results for ourselves and those around us?
Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' - John 14:6
This is not to say the path towards Him is easy. There is a lot of discomfort and pain on it. But it’s also full of life and joy and true connection.
The path on our phone? It may help with connection. But does it really? It may give us access to enormous amounts of information. But is it information we truly need? It certainly gives us a lot to look at. But should that be our aim?
Look up and around you, Young Man. And help me do the same.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash