I was heading off on a trip to Dublin when disaster struck. Earlier, it had started like any other day. As I shut the door behind me my senses were met by the gifts of a bright and chilly spring morning. The cool air detoxed my lungs. Although the trees and plants were bare, Mother Nature's budding potential was intuitively tangible. It was as if all of nature was awaiting that magnificent moment when creation bore witness to itself and life ensued.The dawn chorus was the icing on the cake. I got into my car and headed for the train station.
It all changed a few minutes later as I reached for my jacket pocket. Suddenly chills shot through my body and my mind raced as I attempted to come to terms with the awful scenario that I found myself in. I forgot my phone! The train was on time and due to leave in 10 minutes. It was too late to turn back. The only logical decision was to carry on. As I continued en route to the station my anxiety persisted at the thought of being phoneless. "How will I fill the void?" I mused. On entering the station I made my way down to the platform and boarded the train, all this time pondering over my dilemma.
I threw my satchel into the overhead compartment and eased into the seat. I began to relax. The tension I had felt dissipated and I gazed out the window. The train was still docked. There was a man at the carriage door taking his last desperate drags of a cigarette before the departure. Two crows fought raucously over a crust of bread at the platform bin. A couple swanned into view hand in hand, gushing in one another's presence and oblivious to the world at large. Drunk in love, the world was their oyster.
Meanwhile, back in the carriage, an attractive woman sat opposite to me. She spent the better part of a minute rummaging in her bag before a cosmetic case emerged. With a mirror in her outstretched hand she inspected her face from every visible angle as she applied her makeup. I looked away just before she threw a glance at over me. I instinctively knew that it was coming and diverted my vision out the window again.
"If I had my phone with me I would have used it as a method of avoiding eye contact," I thought. But almost instantly I realized that there was more to be learned here. In reality, if I had my handset with me I'd have probably been listening to some music or scrolling through some social media. I had forgotten the simple joy of traveling and the art of being present to what is going on around me. I became aware that my device had robbed me of those blissful moments of awareness and had instead provided fruitless entertainment for my busy mind.
My newfound insight was validated shortly afterwards when I observed the seats across the way. There were eight girls wearing hen party regalia. Although they were all together only some of them were chatting. The rest were firmly drawn to their phones. Perhaps they were telling others where they were. I was now enlightened to the fact when I'm engaged on my phone I am not truly connected to the world around me. My mind is somewhere else, out there in the ether.
As this experience embedded in my consciousness I continued to savor every waking moment in Dublin. I witnessed beauty in the simple things of everyday life. I saw the joy in a little girls face as she held her father's hand while crossing the street. An old man sat on a park bench with a cap in his lap and the sun was beating down on Stephen's Green. Life was full and so was I.
My day continued in the same vein and when I arrived home that evening the sun was just above the western horizon. I felt gratitude in my heart that I had stumbled into a day where time was almost suspended and I was at one with the universe. This would not have happened if I had remembered to take my phone. I walked into the kitchen and saw that it was still charging. Instead of leaping for it to see what I had missed, I passed by my handset. I made a cup of tea and watched the sun go down. "I think I'll forget my phone more often," I thought. Life is too precious to be consumed by technology.